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10 Famous Actors You Didn't Know Directed Films

Directing is no easy task, and neither is acting. A few ambitious people have managed to do both throughout their careers.

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Nothing about the film making process is easy. From the pre-production, filming, and then post production, every step of the way is an arduous path where all can go wrong at any moment. It is truly a miracle any film gets made in the first place, and even more impressive when a masterpiece is churned out. Whether one is a director, actor, writer, producer, or some other role involved in bringing these stories to life, they all deserve respect for their hard work.

Some people even don multiple hats in the cinematic arts. Directors write, writers direct, and actors sometimes go behind the camera. Playing multiple roles in the process provides new perspectives on the medium, influencing their decisions and the types of movies they make.

The following 10 entries will take a look at famous actors whose turns behind the lens were less publicized. Some of the films they made were acclaimed, while others proved that their talents are better served memorizing lines and delivering emotional performances. Even so, it is hard to disrespect someone who made a film in the first place when the attempt is sincere.

10 Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando Streetcar Named Desire

It is impossible to understate Marlon Brando's contribution to acting. While he was notoriously hard to work within his later years, he churned out countless iconic performances throughout his five-decade career like Vito Corleone in The Godfather, Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now, and Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire. Only once did he sit in the director's chair a for a movie he starred in called One-Eyed Jack.

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The western was originally helmed by Stanley Kubrick, but disagreements with the actor and the studio led to Brando replacing him. The film garnered a mixed reception, and Brando never directed a film again.

9 Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman racked up an impressive filmography from a young age. Her most notable childhood role was in The Professional. Later on, she would star in the prequel Star Wars trilogy, and things would only get better from there.

New York, I Love You. The second was a full-length historical drama, A Tale of Love and Darkness, set before and during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The latter was warmly received, especially for a debut feature

8 Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore is one of the many child stars whose early years were wrought with turbulence. She managed to regain composure as an adult and has since become a successful producer. She served as producer on the Charlie's Angels films in which she also starred, the horror film Animal, and How to be Single. She has only directed one feature film, however, Whip It, a roller derby drama starring Ellen Page. Critics liked the film, making people hopeful that she'll helm another movie in the future.

7 Bryan Cranston

Before becoming a terrifying family man turned drug kingpin, Bryan Cranston was the buffoonish dentist from Seinfeld and the wacky father from Malcolm in the Middle.

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He has directed several episodes of the two aforementioned shows, an episode of The Office, and two episodes of Modern Family. He has only one feature beneath his belt, however, a 1999 drama called Last Chance, a more down-to-earth story than the bombastic comedies and gritty crime dramas for which he is known.

6 Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp Unmasked in 21 Jump Street

The Brave was planned as Aziz Ghazal's debut feature. Before production started, however, the would-be director brutally took the lives of his wife and daughter before presumably committing suicide. The film was put on hold before Johnny Depp agreed to direct it. He rewrote the script with his brother and the movie came out in 1997. American critics so heavily lambasted the film that Depp never released it in the States.

5 Bill Murray

Bill Murray Lost In Translation

Bill Murray's comedic bits range from in your face antics to acts that make the audience question whether or not there is any joke at all. Still, any way Bill presents himself is entertaining. He has played parts in countless classics, but only directed once. The movie in question was Quick Change, a crime comedy about two thieves who try to escape New York City after a successful heist. It was a co-directing gig, with duties split between him and Howard Franklin.

4 Morgan Freeman

Morgan Freeman Transcendence

Morgan Freeman has done plenty of work behind-the-scenes as a narrator but has only directed one feature film — Bopha!, a hard-hitting drama about a black cop during apartheid-era South Africa. The movie sits with an honorable 80 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but bombed at the box office upon release.

3 Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy in Coming to America

Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, and Red Fox is a comedy trio that most could only dream about, yet this team up really happened in 1989's Harlem Knights, which Murphy directed.

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The movie takes place in the 1930s and is about the two men running an organized crime ring from a night club. The movie earned 60-million dollars, but was still considered a financial failure due to the wild success of Murphy's prior films. It has achieved somewhat of a cult classic status in recent years, however.

2 Edward Norton

Edward Norton plays Bruce Banner in The Incredible Hulk

A priest and a rabbi fall in love with the same woman. There's no punch line, that's just the synopsis for Edward Norton's directorial debut, Keeping the Faith. The love triangle makes for an interesting idea, and critics mostly agreed that the execution was acceptable. Norton will soon release his second directorial effort, a crime drama called Motherless Brooklyn.

1 Liev Schreiber

Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan

Liev Schreiber's characters are sometimes brutes like Ray Donovan or Wolverine's brother. The actor is nothing like those characters. After all, could a mob enforcer write and direct a drama as impactful as Everything is Illuminated? The film follows a writer as he travels through Ukraine to find his grandfather's home village and a mysterious woman in an old photo.

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Elijah Wood stars, supported by Eugene Hutz from the rock band Gogol Bordello. The movie didn't make a huge splash upon release, but is definitely worth a watch, even if someone has no connection or prior knowledge of the Eastern European country.

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