5 Actor-Director Pairings Who Need to Make a Movie Together

Earlier this year, cinephiles were extra geeked when the news broke that Clint Eastwood may be directing Tom Hanks in a biopic about “Hero of the Hudson River” pilot Chesley Sullenberger. Why? Because despite the fact that these icons have two of the most impressive careers in Hollywood, they’ve never worked together.

While Eastwood and Hanks have long resumes, they’ve tended to work in different genres. Still, it’s exciting for film fans because they’ll finally get to see what kind of magic these two masters can whip up together.

Hanks and Eastwood aren’t the only artists that have, up until recently, missed out on exciting collaborations. Hollywood is full of storied partnerships — many actors and directors pair up several times over the course of their careers. But sometimes, seemingly ideal pairs never materialize – including the five listed below. While we can’t say for sure that any of these actor/director pairings would make great movies together, it would certainly be interesting to see what they’d come up with if they hit the silver screen together.

1. Martin Scorsese — Al Pacino

Source: Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images

Source: Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images

Are there two men more synonymous with America’s gangster films? Probably not. Martin Scorsese helmed Goodfellas, The Gangs of New York, and The Departed, perfectly bringing mob life to the big screen. Al Pacino is best known for his iconic performance as reluctant mobster-turned-monster Michael Corleone in The Godfather series. In other words, both men have made careers out of exploring organized crime, they’ve never made a movie together.

It’s not that they haven’t tried. For years, both men have talked openly about bringing the mob drama The Irishman to life. Unfortunately, conflicting schedules and other commitments have kept them from making that dream a reality.

2. Wes Anderson – Paul Dano

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

This indie director turned hipster hero is, for many, the King of Quirky. With films like The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and last year’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, Anderson has made a name for himself by directing films that perfectly blend character studies with aesthetic appeal. Paul Dano has also been prominent on the indie scene, nabbing serious attention for his offbeat and gripping performances in Little Miss Sunshine, There Will Be Blood and the recent Brian Wilson biopic, Love & Mercy.

These two seem like, in many ways, a match made in Hollywood Heaven. Dano does best when he works with characters with a lot of layers, as Anderson’s often are. And Anderson could easily fit the versatile Dano into his unique scenery. Frankly, we’re not sure what these two are waiting for.

3. Christopher Nolan — Edward Norton

Photo credit: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images


Edward Norton rose to fame after playing some of the late 1990s grittiest roles. From American History X to Fight Club, he proved he’s born to play characters that go against the grain. Christopher Nolan, the man who made Batman feel like a neonoir classic, has filled his films with characters that don’t quite fit into the mainstream — even if they look like they do on the surface. So, it takes almost no effort at all to picture Norton finding trouble in Nolan’s gritty suburban sets. He’d fit right in as a villain or one of Nolan’s quintessential anti-heroes. All Nolan needs to do is make room for him.

4. Quentin Tarantino — Johnny Depp

Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

Tarantino’s films are so significant, they’re almost a brand on their own. His works, from Pulp Fiction to Django Unchained, blend over-the-top action with quiet moments of character reflection. They’re weird, and wonderful and always memorable — kind-of like Johnny Depp. The man behind some of the most memorably idiosyncratic film characters of all time — Edward Scissorhands and Captain Jack Sparrow, just to name a few — has worked with some impressive directors. But he’s sadly never teamed up with Tarantino. All you have to do is imagine Depp reciting some of Tarantino’s famously off-kilter dialogue to realize they’d be like two peas in a pod.

5. David Fincher – Christian Bale

Christian Bale

Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images

These two men are at the height of their film careers — most actors and producers would give a limb to work with either one of them. David Fincher hasmade a name for himself by exposing the underbelly of society with films like Se7en and Gone Girl. Christian Bale has shown an uncanny ability to unnerve people with turns in The Machinist, American Psycho and even the recent Batman reboot. Now imagine them joining forces to create maybe the darkest and most gripping drama of the 21st century. The only question at this point is why they haven’t worked together.

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