8 Actresses Who Have Also Directed Movies

Like pretty much all of our readers, ever since the recent announcement that Olivia Wilde would be making her directorial debut in the movie Booksmart, nobody in the Her Beauty office has been able to get much sleep. That’s just how excited we are about the news! Of course, there are plenty of actresses who have been bitten by the directing bug with varying degrees of success. Here is a look at eight of them.



1. Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie has enjoyed a great deal of success as an actress on the big screen, but she has also been in the director chair a handful of times. She made her directorial debut in 2011 with the film In the Land of Blood and Honey, a love story set in war-torn 1990s Bosnia. She also directed the 2014 flick Unbroken and the 2017 movie First They Killed My Father.


How is she doing? The first two films received mixed reviews, but her latest has received universal acclaim. So she should definitely keep it up.



2. Courteney Cox
We all remember Courteney Cox as Monica on the sitcom Friends and as Jules on Cougar Town. But did you know she has also directed a couple of movies? The first was the thriller TalHotBlond based on a documentary of the same name. The second was the black comedy Just Before I Go.


How is she doing? Maybe directing isn’t her thing. While TalHotBlond didn’t impress a lot of critics, the reception that Just Before I Go got was just plain ugly, with only 10% of all Rotten Tomatoes reviews rated as positive.

3. Jada Pickett-Smith
Jada Pickett-Smith has had a lot of success in Hollywood, playing the role of Niobe in the 2nd and 3rd Matrix movies as well as Gloria in the seemingly millions of Madagascar movies that Dreamworks has blessed us with. She’s won three Image awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for these roles. She also has a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actress. So there’s that too. Her foray into directing came with the 2008 film The Human Contact.


How is she doing? Her one and only film as a director received mediocre reviews and she hasn’t returned to the director’s chair since, so we’re guessing this won’t become a regular occurrence.

4. Jodie Foster
With her pair of Oscars (Taxi Driver, Silence of the Lambs) and several other awards, and with 50 years of acting in the entertainment industry, Jodie Foster has been regarded as one of the greatest actresses of her generation. She has also directed four films: Little Man Tate, Home for the Holidays, The Beaver, and Money Monster.


How is she doing? She received a lot of positive reviews for her directing abilities in the first two movies, but the other two were considered kind of…meh.



5. Kristen Stewart
Kristen Stewart made her big screen debut back in 2000 as “Ring Toss Girl” in The Flintstones Rock Las Vegas, for which she won an Academy Award! Not really. She is in the movie for 3 seconds, we never actually see her face, and she went uncredited. But, hey, she did a halfway decent job as Isabella Swan, a dater of vampire in the Twilight series. She also wrote and directed the 2017 short film Short Swim, which was screened at that year’s Sundance Film Festival.


How is she doing? The film is only 17 minutes long, so there’s not a lot to go on. But critics had a lot of good things to say about it. So why not give it a try again in the future?

6. Madonna
Listen, in spite of her 35 years of success in music, Madonna has never quite cut it as an actress. Movies such as Body of Evidence and The Next Best Thing are proof of that. Nonetheless, she has technically acted in movies and the bar for making this list isn’t the highest. She has also directed two films: the comedy Filth and Wisdom and historical romantic drama W.E.


How is she doing? The British newspaper The Guardian has referred to her as a “terrible director” and both movies were complete bombs at the box office. So the verdict is in: our pop star friend should not set foot within 500 yards from a director’s chair.

7. Natalie Portman
Natalia Portman has accomplished a lot as an actress. Come on, she was Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia’s mom, guys! But aside from Star Wars prequels, virtually everything that Portman has acted in has received rave reviews. She even won an Oscar in 2011 for Best Actress in Black Swan. She has also tried out directing with A Tale of Love and Darkness, a movie that takes place in the early days of Israeli statehood, which premiered at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.


How is she doing? Her debut as a director was generally well-received by critics, so we predict that this won’t be the last time she does it.

8. Greta Gerwig
Critics love Greta Gerwig as an actress. In fact, she is arguably one of the top indie film actresses on the planet today. She’s been nominated a ridiculous amount of times for her acting. In 2017 she decided to give directing a try with the teen angst comedy/dream Lady Bird, which she also wrote.


How is she doing? Very few directors have had this much immediate success. Lady Bird won the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, won a second for the leading actress Saoirse Ronan, and was nominated for two other awards. Looks like we might have a true star film director in the making!