It’s a bit of a tired cliché in Hollywood. After years of being on the silver screen, A-list actors decide they want to be the ones who are really in charge: the man in the director’s chair. Big names like George Clooney, Ben Affleck and Clint Eastwood have all made their names even bigger by directing blockbusters from behind the camera.
But now, there’s a new guard on the way. More and more female actors are stepping up to test their hand at directing, too — and they are making waves. From Angelina Jolie and Jodie Foster to Halle Berry, top actresses are making movies that have garnered awards fodder and critical acclaim.
Halle Berry’s directorial debut Bruised was years in the making. After making history as the first (and thus far only) Black woman to win the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, Berry’s career met unique challenges — ones she met time and again. Now, as a filmmaker, she’s calling the shots.
Maggie Gyllenhaal is following suit, too. The Oscar nominated actress has earned rave reviews for her adaptation of Elena Ferrante’s The Lost Daughter. These two women join a growing list of Hollywood leading ladies who are making challenging, thoughtful feature length films.
Let’s look at some of the biggest movers and shakers taking their turn behind the camera.
A version of this article was originally published in August 2017.