Celebrities can be tricky. Just when you think that they’ve mastered the art of playing a part and looking beautiful, celebrities will surprise you with some other super creative talent that completely blows you away. Like Helen Hunt, for instance, who is best known for her roles in As Good As It Gets and Mad About You: It was recently announced that Hunt will be directing an episode of CBS’ new domestic comedy Life in Pieces.
“Really?” I thought when I heard the news. “She does that?”
Of course, Hunt isn’t the only actor who has stepped behind-the-scenes to bring different television shows and movies to life. Actually, a lot of actors that you know and love have been working behind the camera on a ton of movies that you loved — and you probably didn’t even know about it. Whether it’s writing the script, directing the movie, or producing the film, these celebrities have played significant roles beyond just acting in front of the camera — and sometimes even while they were in front of the camera. These actors are double, sometimes triple threats, and have been behind some of the biggest movies to hit the box office.
So pop some popcorn, break out the Junior Mints, and get ready to be blown away, because these actors were behind some of the biggest hits in the last few years and you probably didn’t even know about it.
1. Angelina Jolie
Mother of six, accomplished actress, and global activist — what else could Jolie add to her rap sheet? Try “writer.” The actress recently wrote the script for the upcoming film By the Sea , and it’s already getting a ton of Oscar buzz.
2. Ben Stiller
Stiller wasn’t just the pretty face of Zoolander, he was the pretty face behind it. As the director and star of the film, Stiller shot to fame because of that ice cold stare. Little did you know he more to do with the movie’s success than providing it with really, really ridiculously good looks.
3. Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Gordon-Levitt made his directorial debut on Don Jon , a film which he also starred in. Talk about making everyone else in Hollywood look like a big time slacker.
4. Jason Segel
This guy not only bared everything in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, he also wrote, produced, and starred in it. Oh, and he also co-wrote The Muppets movie too, which proved that this funny guy was good for more than just a laugh.
5. Ryan Gosling
And you thought Gosling was all about wooing women and launching a million memes! Turns out, The Notebook star directed How to Catch a Monster , which he also wrote and starred in. Good looks and a great work ethic? Sign me up.
6. Will Ferrell
Ferrell isn’t just a funny guy who brought the laughs to Anchorman, he was literally the guy who brought the laughs to Anchorman. As the screenwriter and producer behind the original film and the sequel, this comedian brought us some of the funniest moments in cinema. Like that glass cage of emotion.
7. James Franco
I can’t really talk about this without wanting to die a little inside, because As I Lay Dying is the best book ever — but the film version will be Franco’s first feature film that he has directed. Oh yeah, and he wrote the script for it, because he can literally do anything.
8. George Clooney
Husband of Amal Clooney, this guy kept us all drooling with Good Night and Good Luck, Ides of March, and Monument Men. He directed all three of these movies, of course.
9. Brad Pitt
He may have never directed a movie, but this guy has some serious production credits to his name — including The Departed, Moneyball, and World War Z among others.
Surprised to see that these actors were behind some of your favorite movies? Me too. Clearly we have an epidemic of overachievers in Hollywood these days, and I’m not at all mad about it.