We were delighted to hear the news that Werner Herzog is going to appear as the villain in Tom Cruise’s next movie, “One Shot.” Herzog’s a great director, but he’s an equally great screen presence. We’ve dug his serious movies with Harmony Korine and his silly movies with Zak Penn. We have no doubt he will prove a magnificent onscreen adversary (or topless beach volleyball teammate) for Maverick.
And while there are some directors who could stand to do more directing and less acting — M. Night Shyamalan, Oliver Stone, Quentin Tarantino between the years 1994-1996 — Herzog is not the only auteur with as many gifts in front of the camera as behind it. Here are our picks for the five (living and working) directors ready to take the leap from occasional cameos to working thespians. In no particular order they are:
Director of: “Mean Streets” (1973); “Taxi Driver” (1976); “The Departed” (2006).
Notable Performances: Martin Rittenhower in “Quiz Show,” Passenger in “Taxi Driver” (see below).
Ideal Casting: A fast-talking newspaper editor in a period screwball comedy.
Director of: “Being John Malkovich” (1999); “Adaptation,” (2002); “Where the Wild Things Are” (2009).
Notable Performances: Various Old Men and Ladies in “Jackass,” Vig in “Three Kings” (see below).
Ideal Casting: The charming owner of a vintage bookstore in a romantic drama.
Director of: “The Producers” (1968); “Young Frankenstein” (1974); “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” (1993).
Notable Performances: Yogurt in “Spaceballs,” Governor Lepetomane in “Blazing Saddles” (see below).
Ideal Casting: Ben Stiller’s dad.
Director of: “The Rock” (1996); “Armageddon” (1998); “Transformers” (2007).
Notable Performances: Car Driver in “Bad Boys II;” Michael Bay in Verizon Commercial (see below)
Ideal Casting: The jock who used to torture the hero of a high school reunion comedy (we also would have accepted “Any role that keeps Michael Bay from directing more”)
Director of: “Anchorman” (2004); “Talladega Nights” (2006); “Step Brothers” (2008).
Notable Performances: Erin Gossamer in “Green Team,” “Dirty Mike in “The Other Guys” (see below)
Ideal Casting: As Will Ferrell’s onscreen partner in a buddy comedy.