10 Actors Who Are Also Great Screenwriters

If there is anything that defines the modern film industry, it is precisely the wide range of artists who are part of it, including actors. While many of them started their careers as performers and never moved away from it, many others have had very different journeys. Some even had completely different careers before becoming an actor, like Danny DeVito, who worked as a hairstylist in his sister’s salon. Others tried their luck as stand-up comedians before landing their first leading role, like the well-known and beloved Robin Williams, or moved into acting after a successful singing career, like Lady Gaga, who starred alongside Bradley Cooper in A star is born.

Sometimes even the people working behind the scenes decide to give it a try on camera. Among the most successful examples would be Mindy Kaling, screenwriter of the American series Officewho later became a cast member and later had her own TV series The Mindy Project. Often, however, it also happens the other way around: actors migrate backstage and try their luck at other positions, which may eventually turn out to be a new and unexpected path for them. This is how many of them became successful directors, like Greta Gerwig and Clint Eastwood. More specifically, others devoted themselves to writing screenplays. This article will review some of the actors who apart from starring in movies have written screenplays and succeeded in their endeavors.

Related: Here Are 10 Screenwriting Tips From 30 Must-See Movies


ten Rashida Jones

Rashida Jones is a complete artist: she is a performer, director, screenwriter, producer and has also worked in advertising. She is a name widely associated with the comedy industry, being part of the cast of Office and Parks and recreation, but she also managed to perform successfully in dramatic productions, both on television and in cinema. In addition to her acting work, Jones has written and collaborated on a number of world-famous films and television series. Among them is the film toy story 4, which she co-wrote with a talented team led by Andrew Stanton and Stephany Folsom. She also wrote “Nosedive”, one of the best episodes of the series. black mirroras well as the movie Celeste and Jesse Stillin which she also starred alongside Andy Samberg.

9 Alan Yang

Alan Yang earned his first Primetime Emmy nomination in 2015 for his writing duties on Parks and recreation, a series in which he was occasionally involved for a few episodes as director and producer. However, Yang had been receiving nominations for his wonderful screenplays for several years prior. Among his best productions as a writer are master of nothingthe Netflix series he co-created and co-wrote with Aziz Ansari, and the 2014 film date and switch. Yang has also participated in a few projects as an actor, including Parks and recreation and the short film by Eric Wareheim gastronomic club.

8 Tina Fey

Tina Fey is one of the best comedians of her time and she has worked extremely hard for almost two decades to get where she is today. The comedian, writer, producer, actress and playwright has written several productions in which she has also been involved as an actress. The first was mean girls, with Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Amanda Seyfried and Lacey Chabert. In this teen comedy, Fey portrayed Ms. Sharon Norbury, a teacher playing a major role in the development of the story. Some other projects that Fey was involved in as a screenwriter and actress were 30 Rock, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Saturday Night Live.

seven Jordan Pele

This screenwriter, actor, comedian, and filmmaker has succeeded in a number of genres and productions, being able to work seamlessly in comedy, horror, and even children’s films. As an actor, Jordan Pele play in Keanu and the series mad tv, as well as participating in many productions as a supporting actor. Some of his greatest achievements as a screenwriter are the films get out and Wewhich he both directed, wrote and produced, the Key and Peele series, and the 2021 reboot of The twilight zone. July and October 2022 will see the release of Peele’s last two projects to date: Nopewhich he directed, wrote and produced, and Wendell and savagewhich he wrote and directed under the direction of Henry Selick.

6 Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck already had an established career as an actor when he began experimenting as a director and producer, helming productions such as Gone baby gone, The city and Argo. However, Affleck has always shown a sincere interest in screenwriting, and in 1997 he collaborated on the screenplay for Goodwill hunting, a film in which he also worked as an actor. From then on, he wrote screenplays for films in which he also acted, such as Live the night and The last duel. A fun fact related to Affleck is that his castmate and star of Goodwill huntingMatt Damon was also a screenwriter for the film.

Related: From Actors to Great Directors

5 Emma Thompson

Emma Thompson is as talented as an actress as a screenwriter. This British artist has been featured in a slew of film, television and even stage productions, winning nominations and awards for many of them. One of his most notable projects is Sense and sensitivity, a 1995 film in which she starred and wrote the screenplay, adapting Jane Austen’s novel of the same name. For this film, Thompson received an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, among other accolades. Other projects Thompson has been involved in as an actress and screenwriter include Nanny McPhee, Effie Grayand Bridget Jones’ baby.

4 Sylvester Stallone

Sylvester Stallone spent several years working as a film extra until he landed his first co-starring role in The Lords of Flatbusha 1974 film. Two years later, he would achieve the most successful project of his career: the Rocky franchise, which so far includes six films and three spin-offs. An interesting fact about this saga is that Stallone not only starred in it, but also created and wrote it himself. For the first film, by QGit was inspired by a fight between Muhammad Ali and Chuck Wepner, and, according to Forbes, it only took him three days to write the screenplay. He also worked on the screenplays for the five remaining films in the saga. But that wasn’t his only work as a screenwriter: he also co-wrote the Rambo saga alongside James Cameron and a few other films in which he was also part of the cast.

3 Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie was repeatedly awarded the title of highest paid actress in Hollywood. Nonetheless, that hasn’t stopped her from trying out different types of roles within the film industry. Star of productions such as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, girl interrupted and Maleficent, Jolie has also worked on projects as a director and screenwriter. Films she has directed, produced and written include In the land of blood and honey, By the sea, and First they killed my father. This latest production garnered rave reviews, numerous nominations and awards and even an 88% score on Rotten Tomatoes upon its release.

2 Justin Theroux

Justin Theroux worked as an actor for over ten years before moving into directing, producing and writing screenplays. Among his most notable films are Mulholland Drive and Inner Empire, although it has been featured in more than 23 productions. His debut as a screenwriter was in 2008 with the action comedy Thunder in the tropics, in which he worked alongside Ben Stiller and Etan Cohen. From then on, Theroux continued to write screenplays for a few other projects, including iron man 2, rock of agesand Zoolander 2.

1 George Clooney

From his early performances in low-budget films to his role in Emergency room and her subsequent lead roles, George ClooneyThe journey of in the entertainment industry has been more than successful. He has led projects such as Ocean’s Eleven, Fail-safeand Gravity, and eventually became one of the highest-grossing actors of all time. However, that didn’t stop him from fulfilling his dream of directing, producing and writing, and in 2002 he made his directorial debut with the film Confessions of a Dangerous Spirit, in which he also starred. From that first film until now, Clooney has played several behind-the-scenes roles. Among the films in which he has been a screenwriter are The ides of March, leather heads and Suburb.

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