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15 Movie Writers Turned Directors

1) Christopher McQuarrie

Writer To Director: Christopher McQuarrie made his name as screenwriter of The Usual Suspects . A school buddy of Suspects director Bryan Singer, McQuarrie got practically every award going for his superbly twisty crime drama, including a BAFTA and an Oscar.

McQuarrie shot his directorial debut The Way of the Gun (which was based on his own script) in 2000. The kidnap-gone-wrong action flick had fun subverting genre conventions and proved that McQuarrie was as assured a hand at directing action scenes as he was behind a typewriter.

Don't Quit The Day Job?
We'd happily see McQuarrie get behind the megaphone again, especially considering his recent scriptwork on the lacklustre Valkyrie .

Mark Steven Johnson

Writer To Director: Before he turned to directing, Johnson scripted creaky old-folks-at-war-com Grumpy Old Men (and the sequel Grumpier Old Men ), which just about got by on the charms of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau.

After directing the saccharine overdose that was Simon Birch , it's hard to believe that Johnson was allowed to direct again, but he made a decent enough job of Daredevil : a reasonably 'dark' comic book adaptation (before that became the order of the day).

He then fumbled the movie version of Ghost Rider (here's hoping Crank directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor rectify his mistakes in the sequel) before most recently delivering the embarrassment that was When In Rome .

Don't Quit The Day Job? We wouldn't be to devastated if Johnson never directed again. Or churned out another script for that matter.

William Monahan

Writer To Director: Monahan has an enviably consistent list of screenwriting credits. He's penned Kingdom of Heaven , Body of Lies , and Edge of Darkness , and was awarded an Oscar for The Departed , which was only his second screenplay to be produced.

Monahan's directorial debut, London Boulevard , is, as you may have guessed from the title, a very British affair. Based on a novel by Ken Bruen, the romantically-tinged crime-drama stars Colin Farrell as a recently released con who befriends Keira Knightley's reclusive movie star. Ray Winstone is also lending his uniquely-cockney charms to the film.

Don't Quit The Day Job? London Boulevard 's not due out until 15th October, but colour us intrigued…

David S. Goyer

Writer To Director: Goyer is best known for his work on comic book movies, making vital contributions to Chris Nolan's bat-scripts (as well as the upcoming Superman reboot), and penning Blade and Blade II . He's also scripted Dark City , one of the Crow movies, and Van Damme vehicle Death Warrant .

Goyer seems to be unable to convert his scriptwriting abilities into directing superpowers, though. His directorial endeavours have resulted in the equally-poor trio of ZigZag , The Invisible and The Unborn , and his efforts behind the camera for Blade: Trinity brought the franchise to an undignified halt.

Don't Quit The Day Job? Please don't. Despite some internet whispers when the project was first announced, we're certain that Nolan would have more sense that to give Goyer Supes to direct.

Charlie Kaufman

Writer To Director: The elflike screenwriter Kaufman has been providing the inspiration for movie magic for many years, penning the brain-boggling scripts for Being John Malkovich , Human Nature , Confessions of a Dangerous Mind and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind .

Kaufman was inspired to create an imaginary twin brother for himself in Adaptation , when struggling to overcome the writer's block he was stricken with while trying to adapt Susan Orlean's The Orchid Thief (Nic Cage played both Charlie and 'Donald' Kaufman in one of his finest performances).

The screenwriter took the mind games a step further for his directorial debut Synecdoche, New York , which sees playwright Philip Seymour Hoffman struggle to recreate his entire life in one epic play.

Don't Quit The Day Job? If Kaufman can direct more films of Synecdoche 's quality- by turns hilarious, thought-provoking, perplexing and moving- he can't get back behind the camera soon enough.

Randall Wallace

Writer To Director: Randall Wallace wrote the stirring (if historically dubious) Braveheart for Mel Gibson, and the result was a gloriously grand-scale historical actioner that was pretty much perfect cinema entertainment. Pearl Harbour , on the other hand, was the exact opposite, with unintentional laughs, and a lack of gravity considering the events depicted.

Given his screenwriting form, the material that he chose to direct doesn't come as a surprise: the fitfully entertaining musketeer melee The Man in the Iron Mas k, and Gibbo's 'Nam movie We Were Soldiers , an even-handed account which, despite some corny character moments, convincingly captures the brutality of combat.

Don't Quit The Day Job? It depends if the day job means another Braveheart or more Pearl Harbour

Shane Black

Writer To Director: Black made his name as a scribe with Lethal Weapons I and II , as well as The Monster Squad , The Last Boy Scout and Last Action Hero . He's also acted a few times, most notably as a member of Arnie's task force in Predator .

Things went a bit quiet for Black for a number of years, until he returned with directorial debut Kiss Kiss Bang Bang in 2005. It starred Robert Downey Jr as a down-on-his-luck crim who gets caught up in postmodern, neo-noir shenanigans.

Don't Quit The Day Job?
KKBB perfectly showcased the wisecracking, self-consciously shallow, defiantly entertaining schtick that characterised Black's best writing. With Black reportedly directing a Doc Savage movie, he could have a promising career behind the camera.

Joss Whedon

Writer To Director: Still more of a proven quantity in the TV world (what with Buffy , Firefly , Dollhouse …), Whedon started out in the business by working on movie scripts ( Toy Story , Alien: Resurrection , and, of course, the original Buffy movie) before he hit big in TV.

Whedon landed his first big-screen directing gig when he helmed Serenity , the movie version of Firefly (his own TV show). The film was a critical success, and the fans lapped it up, but it wasn't a huge hit commercially.

Whedon has been recently been handed the keys to Marvel's most ambitious project to date, superhero team-up The Avengers .

Don't Quit The Day Job? The Avengers will be the real test for Whedon: what will he do with a mega-budget, and will he be able to juggle the multiple characters as well as he does on the small screen?

Robert Towne

Writer To Director: Towne is still most famous for his screenplays from the 'New Hollywood' era: he wrote classics Chinatown and Bonnie and Clyde and did uncredited work on The Parallax View and Heaven Can Wait .

Towne went on to have a pretty varied directing career, spanning Personal Best (the lesbian-themed athletics drama that troubles Ross in Friends ), Tequila Sunrise and patchy John Fante adaptation Ask the Dust .

Don't Quit The Day Job? None of Towne's directorial work has scaled the heights of his greatest screenplays.

David Koepp

Writer To Director: Koepp's screenwriting CV is littered with blockbusters: he scripted Jurassic Park , Mission: Impossible , Spider-Man and War of the Worlds .

His directorial outings have produced less impressive results. The only notable movies he's directed are the effective Kevin Bacon chiller Stir of Echoes (which was overshadowed on release by The Sixth Sense ) and risible Ricky Gervais comedy Ghost Town .

Next up is Premium Rush , a thriller about a doggedly-pursued bicycle courier in New York City. We wouldn't normally be too excited by this concept, but it will star Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Shannon, two quality actors who rarely sign on for less-than-interesting material.

Don't Quit The Day Job? Premium Rush is his last chance. If that doesn't deliver, he should definitely stick to scribbling out hits for Spielberg to direct.