The B.J Novak-directed Vengeance was recently released, which bombed at the box office despite getting mostly glowing reviews. The film has a strong 80% on Rotten Tomatoes, and while it’s full of Novak’s typical irreverent humor, it’s surprisingly dark and a bold new direction for the Office actor.
Along with Novak, tons of actor-turned-directors have films in the works, and while most would expect them to be micro-budget passion projects, some of them could be huge hundred-million-dollar-grossing hits. Between two more Office alums reuniting, Bradley Cooper’s sophomore effort, and a certain Olivia Wilde-directed film that’s perpetually causing drama, these movies have tons of potential.
Don’t Worry Darling (2022) – Olivia Wilde
Don’t Worry Darling, directed by Olivia Wilde, doesn’t have the biggest budget in the world, but the movie has become way bigger than imaginable thanks to all the drama that surrounds it. Whether it’s rumored feuds or „spitgate,“ or other intriguing Don’t Worry Darling behind-the-scenes facts, TikTok and Twitter users are essentially doing the movie’s marketing for Warner Bros. free of charge.
However, rumors and drama aside, the film is a psychological drama with an alluring mystery that is currently under wraps. Though Don’t Worry Darling hasn’t gotten the best reviews and seemingly hasn’t lived up to the promise of being a shocking and twisted thriller, it still features a dazzling-looking ’50s setting and reportedly sees Florence Pugh giving her best performance yet.
The Listener (2022) – Steve Buscemi
Steve Buscemi has directed several movies over the decades, but the actor is never mentioned when it comes to the conversation about best actor-turned-directors. Given the concept of his new movie that might not be about to change. The Listener hasn’t had the best reception after just being screened at Venice International Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival.
The movie is impressively carried by Tessa Thompson, as she plays a helpline volunteer and is literally the only on-screen actor. While it’s an impressive feat, Variety reported that Thompson „speaks to the sleepless as the audience dozes off.“
If (2024) – John Krasinski
The Office actor John Krasinski shocked audiences with his directing chops by delivering one of the most terrifying movies of the 2010s, 2018’s A Quiet Place. And lightning struck twice with the 2021 sequel too. Now that he’s handed directing duties for the horror prequel A Quiet Place: Day One over to Michael Sarnoski, John Krasinski will be switching to family adventure with If.
While it isn’t completely clear what the 2024 movie is exactly about, Variety reported that the film is vaguely about a child’s attempt to rediscover his imagination. The film will also reunite Krasinski with the actor he shared the screen with for eight years on The Office, Steve Carell.
The Boys In The Boat (TBA) – George Clooney
The George Clooney-directed The Boys in the Boat is a biographical drama about Joe Rantz, the Olympic Rower who competed in the 1936 Summer Olympics. The movie stars Joel Edgerton, and though there’s no set release date, it’ll probably be released at the end of 2023, just in time for awards season, as it sounds like as much of a contender as Rantz himself.
The film will hopefully mark a return to form for Clooney as a director. Though he has been nailing it as per usual in his acting career, Clooney has had a string of critical and commercial failures. Suburbicon, The Midnight Sky, and The Tender Bar were all met with harsh criticism, but the people-pleaser-sounding biographical sports drama could be the win that the director needs.
Untitled Nike Biopic (TBA) – Ben Affleck
While 2021’s The Last Duel reunited Matt Damon and Ben Affleck on the big screen together for the first time in 17 years, fans don’t have to wait as long until the next time. The two actors/best friends will star in an upcoming and as yet untitled Nike movie, which will also be directed by Affleck.
According to GQ, the film is about Nike attempting to secure a sneaker deal with Michael Jordan. Though not having a title might raise some eyebrows over whether or not the movie is actually happening, the untitled Nike film has already been shot and is currently in post-production. And just as he did with most of his other directorial efforts, Affleck also wrote the screenplay.
Without Blood (TBA) – Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek must have struck up a great friendship on the set of 2021’s Eternals, as it didn’t take long for them to team up again, only this time Jolie will be directing Hayek. Their current collaboration is Without Blood, a war movie set in Italy, which is about a political king’s ambitions during the aftermath of a war, but little else is known.
Just like Jolie’s other movies, Without Blood will undoubtedly be empowering and overwhelmingly emotional. It isn’t clear when the movie will be released, but according to Variety, principal photography has already begun in Italy.
Lethal Weapon 5 (TBA) – Mel Gibson
Lethal Weapon 5 and 6 have already been made, but those fanmade movies in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia don’t count. However, an official Lethal Weapon 5 has been in development for a couple of years, and it now looks like production is going forward with the star of the franchise, Mel Gibson, in the director’s chair.
It’s a tough job to take over as director from one of the greats, Richard Donner, but Gibson has proved how great of a filmmaker he is in his own right with films like Hacksaw Ridge. Not only that, but Gibson even got costar Danny Glover’s blessing before taking the reins of the film after Donner passed away last year.
Maestro (2023) – Bradley Cooper
Rising to fame in romantic comedies and then becoming a serious dramatic actor, moving into directing was the logical next step for Bradley Cooper. Based on the one film he directed, A Star Is Born, it could be argued that Cooper is a better director than actor, as it’s such a powerfully emotional and great-looking movie, and it was a phenomenal success, making $436 million worldwide (according to Box Office Mojo.)
But it’s hard to judge how good of a director someone is with just one movie, and Maestro will determine whether or not Cooper really is one of the greats. The upcoming 2023 movie is a biographical drama based on the movie composer Leonard Bernstein, and being the auteur he is, Cooper will again be in the lead role.
Barbie (2023) – Greta Gerwig
Gretta Gerwig hasn’t acted all that much in recent years and she’s now definitely seen more as a director, but she started out as an actor in micro-budget movies working closely with Joe Swanberg. Gerwig went on to direct Lady Bird and Little Women, two of the most acclaimed female-led coming-of-age movies in recent years. In 2023, her movie adaptation of the popular doll will be released.
According to Variety, Barbie had a $100 million budget, more than double what Gerwig has ever worked with before, and It’ll be interesting to see her take on it. Gerwig’s original style of filmmaking and movies about independence and adolescence aren’t exactly in line with a run-of-the-mill Barbie movie. It feels like the film’s release is a lot closer than it actually is, as Barbie is being talked about nonstop and movie stills are continuously being released, but it isn’t out until July 2023.
Horizon (TBA) – Kevin Costner
Between mobster classics like The Untouchables and sports classics like Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner has done it all and is one of the most treasured American actors. That’s especially the case when considering that he not only starred in but also directed one of the most epic Western movies ever, Dances with Wolves.
Costner is set to quadruple down on that epic, as Horizon, which was initially planned to be one huge movie, is being split into four two-hour and 45-minute releases. As that’s 11 hours, it’d probably be much easier to make a 13-episode HBO Max series. With the film being distributed by Warner Bros., that could be a possibility.
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