Jamie Neish: Actors-turned- director are all the rage

Ben Affleck. Pic: PA
Ben Affleck. Pic: PA
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TOMMY Lee Jones, known for his award-worthy performances in JFK, The Fugitive and Lincoln, returns to the director’s chair this weekend with The Homesman.

This isn’t Jones’ first stint in the director’s chair (he also helmed The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada), nor is he the only actor to be making the transition from front of camera to behind it.

More and more actors are changing their roles within the film industry, trying their hand elsewhere for various reasons.

Ryan Gosling recently attracted boos and harsh reviews for his directorial debut Lost River, which premiered in May at the Cannes Film Festival and has yet to be awarded a UK release.

Others have enjoyed more successful transitions. Ben Affleck, (pictured), for example, who has never truly been widely accepted as an actor, reaped Academy Award success with Argo, and before that directed a further two features: Gone Baby Gone and The Town, both of which were warmly received.

Sarah Polley, too, is perhaps better known now than she was when she was acting in front of the lens, which she now commands, having made the stunning familial documentary Stories We Tell.

It goes to show how changeable and manoeuvrable the film industry is these days. Actors are able to direct films, and directors are able to act in films (you only have to look at Woody Allen’s recent turn in Fading Gigolo to see evidence of this).

It’s interesting, too, as you’d like to think that actors would make better directors, considering many of them would have a lifetime of experience to draw on. But clearly that isn’t always the case.

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