The Actor: Heartthrob and former star of massive hit TV series ER , Clooney graduated to movies in the early ‘90s after having appeared in a handful of B-movie horrors throughout the ‘80s.
Films like From Dusk Till Dawn challenged his cleancut image, and Clooney somehow weathered the travesty that was 1997’s Batman & Robin with minimal bruising (though co-stars Chris O’Donnell and Alicia Silverstone were left in the dirt).
Now, Clooney favours high profile dramas more than anything.
Directorial Style: Clooney made his directorial debut with 2002’s impressive Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind , which pretty much set the mould for his other forays behind the camera.
Namely slick, polished framing and a collection of A-list playmates. His next film, The Ides Of March , is due out in October 2011.
The Actor: Being the daughter of celebrated filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, Sofia entered the industry with bit parts in seven of his movies, including all of The Godfathers and Rumble Fish .
Her graduation from bit parts to lead role in The Godfather Part III was universally derided, however, and Coppola’s stuck to directing ever since.
Directorial Style: Coppola’s movies ebb with a melancholic indie vibe.
All four of her feature films have delved into themes of alienation and sadness, her latest – Somewhere , starring Stephen Dorff – following a Hollywood actor who’s disillusioned with his A-list lifestyle. Wonder if she’s drawing from experience?
The Actor: Splitting his time between romcoms and serious dramatic works, Hanks is one of the most liked actors currently working in Hollywood. His big break came in the early ‘80s, when he emerged as a winsome leading man in films like mermaid fantasy Splash , Bachelor Party and The Money Pit .
Since then he’s landed Oscars, played the voice of a much-loved, funny-named toy (that'd be Woody), and been criticised for an odd barnet in the movie adap of The Da Vinci Code .
Directorial Style: Just two big screen credits to his name, meaning it’s difficult to pick out a specific style thus far. But Hanks’ directorial debut with 1996’s That Thing You Do! proved to be a flighty, bubbly period piece.
His sophomore effort, Larry Crowne , hits cinemas this Friday, and follows a man (played by Hanks) who decides to go back to college and reinvent himself.
The Actor: Founder of the Sundance Film Festival, Redford’s been acting since 1959, cutting his teeth on TV shows like Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Twilight Zone.
He’s best known for iconic turns in Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid , Out Of Africa , Three Days Of The Condor and The Sting .
Directorial Style: Drama is Redford’s forte, and he’s not afraid to get serious with it.
That was never more evident than in his directorial debut, Ordinary People , which followed the disintegration of a middle class family. He won a Best Director Oscar for that, which wasn’t bad going.
The Actor: A child star in the likes of Taxi Driver and Bugsy Malone , Foster made it big with rape drama The Accused in 1988, playing a young woman who’s sexually assaulted in a bar and then attempts to prove it really happened.
Foster really hit the payload with The Silence Of The Lambs as trainee FBI agent Clarice Starling, a part she fought tooth and nail for, and which landed her a second Oscar. Since then, she’s excelled at playing tough, uncompromising women.
Directorial Style: Foster’s favoured very human stories from behind the camera. The three films she’s helmed – Little Man Tate , Home For The Holidays and The Beaver – all revolve around families gripped by various crises.
The Actor: Everybody’s favourite cowboy, Eastwood rose to fame as the nameless antihero of Sergio Leone’s westerns, starting with A Fistful Of Dollars . After that he cemented himself as a ball-busting bad-ass with the Dirty Harry movies.
Directorial Style: Eastwood is old Hollywood, and he continues to helm films in that fashion to this day. His films are often slow burners that revolve around character ( Changeling , Gran Torino ), with much of the action reserved for the film’s back end.
It seems to be a winning formula – he’s nabbed two Oscars for directing ( Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby ) as well as a host of nominations.
The Actor: Marshall stuck mostly to TV in her early days, landing roles in The Odd Couple and Happy Days among others. It was Laverne & Shirley that really got her noticed, Marshall playing Laverne, one half of the sitcom duo.
Directorial Style: At her worst, Marshall could be accused of leaning toward the romcom side of things. At her best, she directs charming, winning dramedies with a keen sense of humour.
Her directorial debut, Big , set the mould with its wink-nod appeal, something Marshall would succeed at again with A League Of Their Own and Riding In Cars With Boys .
Lately she’s returned to TV, helming episodes of According To Jim and Toni Collette drama United States Of Tara.
The Actor: Favs has always favoured comedy, both on TV and in movies. He made his debut with 1993 sport film Rudy , before making appearances in big-hitting sitcoms Seinfeld and Friends . He’s made numerous appearances since, both in his own films and in films directed by other filmmakers.
Directorial Style: Thanks to Iron Man , Favs has found a home amid the fanboys. Having directed both Iron Man a nd Iron Man 2 , he proved that a lesser-known Marvel character could set the box office on fire, bringing both humour and heart to a potentially tinny offering.
The comic-book loving continues with this year’s Cowboys & Aliens (Favs has now become so popular that he managed to land Harrison Ford for a role), while Disney’s Magical Kingdom is on the horizon.
The Actor: One-time golden boy turned hunky heartthrob turned Hollywood joke, Affleck’s been through the mill in Tinsletown. Good Will Hunting saw the young talent earn respect with a screenwriting Oscar, but Daredevil earned him abundant scorn.
It was only after the disastrous Gigli – which he made with then-girlfriend Jennifer Lopez, and has gone down in history as one of the worst films ever made – that Affleck decided to get behind the camera.
Directorial Style: Anything to do with Boston, basically. Affleck may have headed up any number of glossy Hollywood flicks as an actor, but as a director he’s gone right back to his Boston roots. His films are intimate, ground level dramas with sharp dialogue and absorbing plots.
The Actor: Howard’s best known as an actor for his work in TV shows The Waltons and Happy Days , where he served numerous years as part of their respective ensembles. He’s worked in front of cameras ever since the age of two, however, making his debut in 1956 movie Frontier Woman.
Most recently he’s served as the narrator of Arrested Development , though he’s only had six acting credits since 1986.
Directorial Style: Ron revels in diversity – he rarely makes two films in a row that are rooted in the some genre. He started out in shorts and TV movies before making his first blockbuster with 1984’s Splash .
Since then he’s taken on fantasy ( Willow ), thrillers ( Ransom ), drama ( A Beautiful Mind ) and real-life ( Frost/Nixon ), always with a firm grip on character and story.
The Actor: Gibson’s always had a thing for the loveable rogue. He stormed out of the starting gate playing an everyman turned bloody avenger in Mad Max , then made a name for himself in mainstream cinema with Lethal Weapon.
He’s typically played men on the edge, which is somewhat fitting considering the numerous controversies he’s been at the centre of lately.
Directorial Style: Mel likes it visceral. His directorial debut Braveheart was overflowing with blood and guts, as were (controversially) The Passion Of The Christ and Apocalypto .
But Gibson manages to stop his films turning into empty schlock-fests by approaching his subject matter with an uncompromising grit. There’s substance to the shlock.
The Actor: Undisputed star of the silent era, Chaplin was already one of the world’s most famous movie stars before WW1 even came to a close. His uniquely illustrative physicality, paired with a brilliant sense of humour and penchant for slapstick, ensured he was loved by millions - and still is.
Directorial Style: Brilliant, basically. Having proven himself a skilled performer in front of the camera, Chaplin proved himself just as adept behind it as well.
The films he directed were generally uncomprising and wildly entertaining, peaking with Nazi-bashing comedy The Great Dictator .
The Actor: Romcom queen Drew first memorably appeared as an adorable whippersnapper in Steven Spielberg’s E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.
After well-publicised growing pains had her looking to go the way of many child stars, Barrymore emerged out the other side of her troubled teen years as an indie lovechild who brightened up numerous sunny romcoms – as well as the odd indie drama and slasher movie.
Directorial Style: Barrymore’s only just made a foray into the world of directing, but it’s encouraging to see that her directorial style is more indie lovechild than cheesy romcom. Her debut, Whip It , was a low-key charmer with colourful characters and a soundtrack you wouldn’t mind on the stereo.
Next up she's rumoured to be helming fantasy Surrender Dorothy.
The Actor: Costner made his first film aged just 19 in 1974, bagging a role in Sizzle Beach, USA . It wasn’t until 1985 that he got his big break in Silverado , a western from director Lawrence Kasdan. Costner was on a roll from then on, starring in The Untouchables , Bill Durham and No Way Out.
This year he was cast as Jonathan Kent in Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot, Man Of Steel .
Directorial Style: Costner has shown a penchant for films with period settings. His debut, the western-flavoured Dances With Wolves , earned him much Oscar kudos, while Open Range was another film set in the Wild West.
His films are often dusty epics, with bladder-challenging running times.
The Actor: Celebrated as one of Hollywood’s most talented and controversial presences, Penn’s made a career out of taking hard-hitting material and affording it devastating emotional depth.
Not that you’d have guessed he was capable of that going by an early appearance in Fast Times At Ridgemont High , which had Penn playing a surfer stoner.
Directorial Style: Penn’s love for darker, deeper material comes through in his directing efforts. The Indian Runner follows two brothers who fight over their opposing views of life, while Into The Wild adapts Jon Krakauer’s novel about a disillusioned young man who abandons his possessions to hitchhike to Alaska to live in the wilderness.
Not surprisingly, Penn’s received credit for drawing great performances from his stars.
The Actor: Theatre-trained, Branagh’s starred in numerous Shakespeare adaptations, which is what he's mainly known for.
He made his uncredited debut in 1991’s Chariots Of Fire , and joined the pack of Brits flocking to the Harry Potter film adaps with a memorable turn as the flouncing Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets .
Directorial Style: Shakespeare is Branagh’s one true love, and his passion for the Bard echoes through his numerous directorial projects.
Even when he’s taking on an otherworldly comic book adaptation like Thor , he helms the action with a Shakespearean eye, fusing dynastic drama with a magnetic gravitas.
The Actor: Pollack’s slightly different from the others on this list, having directed from the very beginning of his career, but also making numerous on-screen appearances.
He favoured both TV and movies, appearing in episodes of Will & Grace and Entourage , as well as big screen outings Husbands And Wives , War Hunt and The Player .
Directorial Style: Pollack’s directing roots were in TV, the filmmaker having helmed episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour and The Tall Man among others.
In film, he was best known for sophisticated, often oddball drama and sweeping romance. The Way We Were sent Barbra Streisand’s star soaring, while Three Days Of The Condor vibrated with energy. Other highlights included Tootsie , Out Of Africa and The Interpreter.
The Actor: Allen’s excelled over the years at playing variations of the same persona – the extremely intelligent but hapless OCD suffering worrywart.
He often casts himself in that role, notably in films like Annie Hall .
Directorial Style: Allen’s early successes Annie Hall and Manhattan set the director off on a path that he’d follow for pretty much the rest of his career.
His films are more often than not variations on the same theme, following the love lives of the young and the restless, with quirky framing devices ensuring the pacing never lags.