Men often get a bad rap. We usually get blamed for not listening, for not caring, for being insensitive, for being rude, for being… well, just men. One more thing men usually get blamed for is not being able to do more than one task at a time so here’s proof that there are 8 of us who can multitask!
“Don Jon” is now in theatres – starring, written and directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, this independent comedy tells of a young womanizer (OK, he’s a porn-addict) who meets the one who could be the love of his life. But can he change his ways?
So in honor of Joseph’s courageous attempt, here is our list of 7 actors who also directed/produced/wrote films for the first time. Here’s to the male multitaskeres – The Magnificent Seven!
Zach Braff – Garden State (2004)
Depression can sometimes do you good. Just ask Zach who wrote the script for this semi autobiographic dramedy while he was a lonely waiter, without a dime and isolated from the world. Then Zach became an actor and he started to smile, and then Zach became an intern on Scrubs (2001-2010) and he smiled more often. With that hit TV series on his resume, he went on to direct and star in the film he wrote years before. A bittersweet homecoming story about a young troubled actor who returns to his hometown for his mother’s funeral and evaluates his life. Despite (and maybe because?) the film was successful in independent film terms, Zach went back to acting and only recently did he go back to working on his own creaations – he wrote, directed and acted in another independent dramedy due next year – “Wish I Was Here”. Zach seems like a promising multitasker – 6/10 on the multitask scale.
Tom Hanks – That Thing You Do! (1996)
Tom Hanks Had it all. 2 Oscars, money, fame, even an iconic animated figure… and then… he directed a movie. That Thing You Do! isn’t bad but it’s just not good enough. Tom wrote, directed and co-starred in this music-comedy about a one hit wonder music band as they rise to stardom and sink back to the bottom. Now, Tom is a smart guy, he saw the film smashed at the box office and figured he should probably stick to acting. In 1998 he started producing and delivered several unforgettable mini-series (From the Earth to the Moon, Band Of Brothers, The Pacific) along with several successful films. Then last year, Tom got the writing bug once again, followed by the directing Bug. Damn those bugs. He wrote, directed and starred in Larry Crowne which was a b/o and critical failure. Tom - it’s one thing to harm yourself, but why do that to the lovely, having-trouble-making-a-comeback, Julia Roberts? Please stick to acting and producing, not every man can do it all – 6.5/10 on the multitask scale.
Mel Gibson – The Man Without a Face (1993)
It took 17 years of acting for Mel Gibson to decide he wanted to direct. After establishing himself (mostly) as an action hero for the guys and a sexy fantasy for the girls, Mel wanted more. Initially he intended “just” to direct this based-on-a-book drama. The leading role, of a lonely man with a scarred face who develops an unlikely friendship with a kid next door was offered to Jeff bridges and several others but due to funding issues Mel agreed to both helm and star. Although the film wasn’t a success – critically or financially, Mel didn’t let it bring him down and showed he’s got a Braveheart (1995). a modern-classic, epic, Oscar winning war film that got into millions of hearts around the world. Produced, directed and starred by Mel, the film was a global success. After that Mel went back to acting and it took him 9 years to write and direct again. This time he managed to piss millions of people off by doing so – The Passion of the Christ (2004) was one of the most controversial films of the 2000s but also one of the most successful ones (over 600 million dollars worldwide). Third time is a charm, and so this movie marked the start of Mel’s downfall which involved several embarrassing incidents, divorce and a long absence from the big screen. Although he’s trying to get back into the spotlight in recent years, Mel is the proof that sometimes it’s better not to over do it. 7/10 on the multitask scale.
Sylvester Stallone – Rocky (1976)
3 days. That’s all it took Sly to write the script for Rocky and make all of us want to dance when we reach the top of the stairs. Any stairs, anywhere. Stallone wasn’t a big name when he approached the studios with the script and other actors were considered for the leading role But Stallone showed the same determination as his character and convinced the producers to give him the chance. And so Stallone became only the third actor in history to receive Oscar nominations for acting and writing in the same picture (following such legends as Orson Welles and Charles Chaplin). After Rocky, Stallone went on to write, direct and star in the Rocky sequels and other action films (One of which was Rambo, 1982, another legendary character). And like in any good Hollywood script, when Stallone suffered major decline in popularity during the late 90s and early 2000 it was Rocky, once again, to take him back to the top. Stallone wrote the script and directed Rocky Balboa (2006) and went on to star in such successful blockbusters as John Rambo and The Expendables 1+2. By the end of the year we’ll see Stallone back in the ring (this time “only” as an actor) as a retired boxer who fights another aging bitter rival (Robert de Niro) in the comedy “Grudge Match”. Till then, he gets 8/10 on the multitask scale.
Ben Affleck – Gone Baby Gone (2007)
Affleck Was down on his luck. With a bad streak of embarrassing flops, Ben became the easiest target for the media and moviegoers alike. Then, a young girl got kidnapped and everything turned out right. To be more specific, a young girl got kidnapped in Dennis Lehane’s crime novel about two Boston police detectives who investigate her mysterious disappearance. Ben opened a word document and started to write the script for Gone Baby Gone. He even went on to direct it and so began the road to redemption. Encouraged by fans and critics positive response, Ben felt he’s ready to get back on the silver screen – Once again he opened a word document and wrote a script based on a crime novel – this time, The Town (2010). With not one, not two, but three critical roles on the set (writer, director and leading actor) Ben was successful once again as the movie was a box office success and critically acclaimed. Now Ben was ready for the biggest challenge of his life – directing a movie about a movie that never got made. Argo, Last year’s big Oscar winner, showed the world Ben can do it all – he can write, he can produce, he can direct, he can act (but he cannot be a bat!). 9/10 on the multitask scale.
George Clooney – Confessions of a dangerous mind (2002)
Here’s a man who can do just about anything (except for getting married). After establishing a successful TV career in such TV shows as Roseanne, Sisters and of course. E.R., Clooney made a successful transformation from TV to Cinema with such critically acclaimed films as The Thin Red Line, Three Kings and O Brother, Where Art Thou?. And then, in 2002, Clooney decided he wanted to see how the camera looks from behind. With Charlie Kaufman as writer, Clooney went on to make a thriller which, amazingly enough, was based on a true story – about a game show host who worked undercover for the CIA during the 60s & 70s. Though a box office flop, the film won the critics affection. Since then Clooney has worked on both ends of the camera – as a talented director, a successful producer (with a fresh Oscar for Argo) and an admirable actor. 9.5/10 on the multitask scale.
Clint Eastwood – Play Misty for Me (1971)
“I stored away all the mistakes I made and saved up all the good things I learned, and now I know enough to control my own projects”. When you don’t have something to say, leave it to Clint to say it for you. After 16 years of being told what to do, Clint felt he was ready to tell other people what to do. So he directed this Thriller about a somewhat Psychopathic young woman who starts stalking a radio DJ (Clint himself) after a one-night fling. Encouraged by the positive reviews and the mild box-office success, Clint was ready to go back to the world he knew so well – the western. In 1973 he directed and starred in High Plains Drifter, a critically acclaimed western which once again proved Clint can manage both parts. In the following years Clint directed and acted in several titles, and then, in 1992 he went back to the western world for the last time (Unforgiven, 1992). In what’s considered as Clint’s westerns closure he portrays a Retired gunslinger who’s forced back into action for one last job. Clint got 2 Oscars for producing and directing and got nominated for his performance. An achievement he repeated 12 years later with the help of a Million Dollar Baby (2004). Although his recent works ain’t as marvelous as the movies mentioned here, Clint is the solid proof that men, when they really concentrate, can do several things at once. Shine on Clint – 10/10.
* Just a clarification for all female readers out there – All the men above are super-men. Most of us can hardly manage doing one thing at a time. Lower your expectations from your man, you’ll both be better off.
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