10 Directors Who Also Had Roles In Their Movies

There are directors who have just as long as a career behind the camera as they do in front of it. Here are 10 who also took roles in their movies.

It might be surprising to know that there are a number of movie directors that showed up in their own on-screen work. Some are more notorious for doing it than others. These directors show up as simple extras or have full-fledged character roles that are vital to the show’s story.

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There are directors who have just as long as a career behind the camera as they do in front of it. Take for example director Edgar Wright, the man behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot FuzzHe has shown up in a variety of cameos throughout the movies if you look closely. He’s not the only one who’s worked behind and in front of a rolling camera. here are 10 directors who have shown up in their own movies.

10 Woody Allen

Woody Allen as Virgil Strakwell in Take the Money and Run


Woody Allen was once one of the most recognized directors in the film industry. He also happens to be an actor in front of the camera and appeared in many of his films. His acting credits are just as long as his directorial one. He appeared as Virgil Strakwell in Take the Money and Run. He was Leonard in Zelig.

In 2006 he directed the film Scoop and had a role as Sid Waterman. He played a character named Jerry in To Rome with Love. The list goes on and on.

9 David Lynch

David Lynch as Gordon in Twin Peaks film and show

David Lynch is the man behind the famous works Dune and the horror film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. His filmography includes everything from short films to feature films. Lynch is also a talented actor who has appeared in front of a camera in the original and revival of Twin Peaks and the movie.

In both, he plays the role of Gordon Cole. It’s his most recognizable role as an actor though he’s also made a small uncredited cameo in Dune. 

8 Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith as Silent Bob in his films

Well, Kevin Smith’s involvement in his films is self-explanatory. Many know Kevin Smith for his love of pop culture, film, television, and comic books. Besides being a well-known director and writer, he gained popularity for his on-screen character, Silent Bob. 

The movies in which Silent Bob appears, and is the main character, were directed by Smith. There’s Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, and Dogma. Of course, he also directed and wrote Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and the reboot film.

7 Jon Favreau

Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan in Iron Man 2

MCU fans will know that Jon Favreau had a bigger role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe than just paying Happy. Favreau is also a director alongside being an actor. If it weren’t for him Iron Man wouldn’t have jumpstarted the rest of the films fans have come to love.

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He was the director for Iron Man and Iron Man 2 and continued to appear in the MCU as Happy. He also directed Elf, where he makes an appearance as the doctor. He’s also the main character in Chef and voiced a character in The Jungle Book. 

6 Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese in Taxi Driver

Martin Scorsese is remarked as one of the most influential and significant directors in movie history. At one point or another aspiring directors look to his work. Much of his work as an actor appear as uncredited cameos in his own films.

If you pay close attention you might catch him as the silhouette of a passenger in Taxi Driver or as Jimmy Shorts in Mean Streets. He was the European visitor in Silence. Scorsese also does many uncredited voice roles like the Court Usher in The Irishman.

5 Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood in the film The Mule

Clint Eastwood rose to fame as an actor in the Western tv series, Rawhide. He later went on to become noted for his role as Harry Callahan. Besides being one of Hollywood’s most recognized male actors, he is also a renowned director. He directed the films Mystic River and Changeling. 

Eastwood couldn’t help but also appear in many of the films he directed. In 1986, he directed Heartbreak Ridge where he also played the role of Gunnery Sgt. Thomas. He directed the sports tragedy film Million Dollar Baby where he played Frank Dunn. He also starred and directed the films Gran Torino and The Mule. 

4 Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg cameo in The Lost World: Jurassic Park

Film fans have Steven Spielberg to thank for bringing to the big-screen the films E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park, and Saving Private Ryan as well as many others. Spielberg is a director who also gets a kick out of appearing in small cameos in his films.

In Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, he’s in the background as a tourist at the airport. He’s also seen in a reflection on the tv in The Lost World: Jurassic Park. He also appears in films he produced instead of directed like Gremlins. 

3 M. Night Shyamalan

M.Night Shyamalan as Dr.Hill in The Sixth Sense

M. Night Shyamalan is known for his stories filled with the supernatural and twists that no one saw coming. His most acclaimed work is The Sixth Sense with Bruce Willis. He gained notoriety for his sequel films to the 2000 film Unbreakable. 

RELATED: M. Night Shyamalan: His 5 Best (& 5 Worst) Films According To IMDb

But Shyamalan also appears in front of the camera in minor roles in his film. In The Sixth Sense, he played the role of Dr.Hill and Ray Reddy in Signs. He was also Jai in both Split and Glass. 

2 Taika Waititi

Taika Waititi as Adolf Hitler in Jojo Rabbit

Taika Wiatiti is a well-known director who became even more popular for giving Thor a new look and a different storyline than what was previously seen with Thor: Ragnarok. He also voiced one of the supporting characters, Korg.

Another one of his acclaimed works is the dark comedy film What We Do in The Shadows, which was later turned into a series. He played the role of Viago. Waititi also directed the film Jojo Rabbit which received an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. He played the role of Adolf Hitler in the comedy-drama.

1 Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino as Mr.Brown in Reservoir Dogs

Quentin Tarantino along with Martin Scorcese is remarked as being one of Hollywood’s finest directors. He praised for the cult classic films such as Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, From Dusk Till Dawn, and Reservoir Dogs.  Tarantino also enjoys playing character roles in his films.

He played Mr.Brown in Reservoir Dogs and Jimmie Dimmick in Pulp Fiction. He’s also remembered for playing one of the main characters Richie Gecko in From Dusk Till Dawn alongside George Clooney. He also makes many cameos throughout his films and even voice roles.

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Updated: November 8, 2020 — 1:00 am

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