10 Great Actor-Director Collaborations

01 September 2015
The 2015 Rugby World Cup is around the corner and as the Germans proved during the FIFA World Cup last year, teamwork is more important than individual glory.
director actor collaborations

The 2015 Rugby World Cup is around the corner and as the Germans proved during the FIFA World Cup last year, teamwork is more important than individual glory.

To celebrate the spirit of teamwork M-Net Movies Showcase is bringing a line-up of exciting movies as part of the Team Showcase Festival, which is why we’re taking a look at ten of the best actor-director collaborations in Hollywood.

  1. Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio

The director’s go-to-guy used to be Robert De Niro and the pair did make eight movies together, but in recent years Scorsese has turned more and more towards the younger DiCaprio. To date they have made five movies together; the latest, The Wolf of Wall Street, nabbing Oscar nominations for both men. We’d love to see DiCaprio and De Niro work together under Scorsese, but considering the former’s love of drama and the latter’s current proclivity to comedy, we think it’s unlikely.

  1. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp

If it’s quirky you’re after look no further than this dynamic duo who have worked together eight times. The magic started in 1990 with Edward Scissorhands and they have since joined to make a musical, two children’s book adaptations, a horror, a biography, an animation and a TV show adaptation.

  1. Robert Rodriguez, Antonio Banderas and Danny Trejo

Although Antonio Banderas was already known in Hollywood thanks to Interview with the Vampire and Philadelphia, it was the Spanish actor’s role in Rodriguez’ Desperado that firmly launched him to leading man status. In between Rodriguez' movies, Banderas found time to continue working with his Spanish collaborator, director Pedro Almodóvar. Since we’re pointing out other pairs we have to mention Danny Trejo too. The latter is frequently cast in Rodriguez’ movies alongside Banderas, with the pinnacle of Rodriguez and Trejo’s partnership being Machete Kills.

  1. Pedro Almodóvar and Penélope Cruz

Spending just as much time with the Spanish director is fellow Spaniard Penélope Cruz. Although she successfully made the transition to Hollywood, it is still her Spanish work that stands out and marks her as an exceptional actress. The highlights of her career are undoubtedly her work with Almodóvar, which includes All About My Mother, Live Flesh and Volver.

  1. Tony Scott and Denzel Washington

The man who brought us Top Gun and True Romance sadly committed suicide in 2012. However, his work will always be remembered and watched over and over again. In addition to the classics he made in the ‘80s and ‘90s’ he is well known for his action-packed work with Denzel Washington which includes Man on Fire, Crimson Tide and Déjà Vu.

  1. Quentin Tarantino and Samuel L. Jackson

Tarantino has a few go-to-guys and gals, which include Uma Thurman and fellow director Robert Rodriguez. But if there’s a face you’re almost guaranteed to see in his movies it’s Samuel L. Jackson’s. It’s not just their partnership that’s memorable, but also the characters Tarantino gives Jackson to play – from the fastidious slave in Django Unchained to the enlightened hit man in Pulp Fiction.

  1. The Christopher Nolan Cast

His Batman trilogy naturally called for the use of the same actors. Nevertheless, you’ll often see Batman actors making others movies with Nolan or actors from his other movies crossing over to Batman. The most frequent face is that of Michael Caine, who has appeared in six of Nolan’s movies.

  1. Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost

Ever heard of the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy? If you have then you must be a fan of the English trio of Wright, Pegg and Frost. The trilogy refers to the three movies they made together – Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End – and the Cornetto cones that have cameo roles. The movies were all produced by Nira Park, and the relationship between these four started back in the days of the TV series Spaced. The quartet’s collaborations are frequently filled with familiar faces which include Martin Freeman, Bill Nighy, and Rafe Spall.

  1. Michael Fassbender and Steve McQueen

It was with Steve McQueen’s feature directorial debut Hunger that Fassbender made his mark as an actor, and McQueen as a director, to look out for. Fassbender has gone on to great Hollywood success, but frequently returns to the original partnership. The pair followed up Hunger with the emotionally demanding Shame, before taking over Hollywood with 12 Years a Slave.

  1. David Fincher and Brad Pitt

We’re waiting in anticipation for these two to work together again, because it’s been seven years. Both men are consistently great on their own as well, but Se7en and Fight Club remain career triumphs.