The answer is one of Hollywood’s oldest clichés: Ask an actor about career aspirations and you’ll get some variation of, “What I really want to do is direct.” Well, maybe they all don’t want to, but it certainly tops many an actor’s bucket list. The desire to move into the director’s chair seems to have become a natural progression for several series television performers. While some filmmakers—Woody Allen and David O. Russell among them—tend to return to the same crop of talent, an actor on a successful TV series has an unparalleled opportunity to develop an intimate connection with a creative team over the course of a long-lasting storyline.
“At a certain point it just becomes logical,” says William H. Macy, nominated for his lead comedy role in Showtime’s Shameless. Macy, who recently helmed the feature film Rudderless, will foray into TV when he directs episode seven of Shameless’ upcoming fifth season. “Two years ago I wrote one of the episodes, and now I’ll direct one,” he says, adding with a laugh, “I might even try acting some day.”
Several other actors have been doubly-blessed to moonlight as directors and still turn in Emmy-worthy performances. There’s also Robin Wright, Don Cheadle, Josh Charles, Bryan Cranston, Jon Hamm and Amy Poehler—2014 acting nominees who already have directed their own shows, or are making their TV helming debuts in the coming season. Though they’re not on this year’s nom list, past Emmy contenders Liev Schreiber and John Slattery have directed episodes of Ray Donovan and Mad Men, respectively. (more…)