There comes a point in every actor’s career when they decide if they are being truly fulfilled with acting or should they consider other ventures that may make them happy. Many actors are attracted to the role of being a film producer. The producer is the one who herds together the people needed in order to make a film. It is the producer who often comes up with the idea for a film and then goes out and hires the director, watches over casting and brings in a crew to get the film rolling. Starting a production company allows an actor the freedom to pursue ideas that they have when no one else will listen. It is quite often that you will see actors producing the films that they star in, however there are times when actors are fully dedicated to producing and do not show up on screen at all.
10. Brad Pitt – Plan B Entertainment
Brad Pitt has proven that he is a lot more than just a pretty face. In addition to his lucrative acting career Pitt has his production company, Plan B Entertainment. Plan B Entertainment was founded in 2002 by Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston and Brad Grey. However, after Pitt and Aniston divorced in 2006 and Grey went on to become the CEO of Paramount Pictures, Pitt took sole ownership of the production company. Plan B Entertainment has released dozens of successful films including, Eat, Pray, Love, World War Z and 12 Years a Slave. 12 Years a Slave received high accolades as it was nominated for nine Academy Awards, winning three of them which included Best Picture. Just recently, Plan B Entertainment landed its first television series to air on ABC with the show, Resurrection with Pitt as one of the executive producers on the show.
9. Kevin Spacey – Trigger Street Productions
Highly regarded actor, Kevin Spacey not only transforms into the characters that he plays onscreen, but he produces behind the scenes as well. After receiving an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Usual Suspects in 1995, Spacey went on to start Trigger Street Productions in 1997. He founded the production company with his producing partner, Dana Brunetti. Trigger Street Productions has released highly successful films including, Beyond the Sea, Casino Jack, The Social Network and Captain Phillips. Most recently, Captain Phillips was nominated for six Academy Awards.
8. Adam Sandler – Happy Madison Productions
After getting his start on Saturday Night Live, comedian Adam Sandler has gone on to star in endless comedy films. In 1999, Sandler started Happy Madison Productions. Happy Madison Productions has released numerous comedies that include The Waterboy, Big Daddy, Little Nicky, The Hot Chick and Grown-Ups just to name a few. Sandler has found success in producing by constantly switching up the rotation of the genre of movies that are released from his company. One release is a family-friendly oriented movie while the next release may be a raunchy comedy. Sandler also prides himself in working with the same core group of actors, a lot of them being his friends from Saturday Night Live. Sure, a lot of Sandler’s films have been given Razzies, but he’s usually not trying to win an Oscar here, he’s just trying to give us all a good life, which is what he does well.
7. Will Ferrell – Gary Sanchez Productions
Funny man, Will Ferrell is another comedian who got his start on NBC’s Saturday Night Live. After leaving the sketch comedy show in 2002, Ferrell went on to star in comedy films such as Old School, Elf and Melinda and Melinda. In 2006, Ferrell and director, Adam McKay started their own production company, Gary Sanchez Productions. Gary Sanchez is a fictitious character that was made up by Ferrell and McKay. The production company has released over a dozen of comedic films including, Step Brothers, The Other Guys and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues. Most recently, Gary Sanchez Productions released that it would be creating a new female-driven division titled, Gloria Sanchez Productions. The new division will focus on creating female led movie and television projects.
6. Mark Wahlberg – Closest to the Hole Productions
Gone are the days of Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch as Mark Wahlberg has left his rapping days behind and is not only acting, but is also producing hit movies and television shows. Wahlberg had his producing debut back in 2004, with his production company, Closest to the Hole Productions, when he began producing the HBO series, Entourage, which is based loosely on Wahlberg’s own entourage. Wahlberg has moved on to producing other shows like In Treatment, How to Make It in America and Boardwalk Empire. His producing credits can also be seen on the big screen with films such as The Fighter, Contraband and Lone Survivor. Even though Wahlberg’s film, The Fighter took him six years to make, the film received seven Oscar nominations.
5. Drew Barrymore – Flower Films
It is not surprising that Drew Barrymore does more in Hollywood than just acting. She was basically born into the business after all with her grandfather, John Barrymore, being Hollywood royalty himself. After surviving a rocky childhood, Barrymore was able to maintain success into adulthood. In 1997, Barrymore started her own production company, Flower Films, with her business partner, Nancy Juvonen. Barrymore has produced countless romantic comedies such as, Never Been Kissed, Charlie’s Angels, 50 First Dates and He’s Just Not That Into You. Flower Films also produces television shows such as, Charlie’s Angels, the series that was revamped in 2011 and VH1’s reality series, Tough Love. While none of the films produced by Barrymore have been nominated for prestigious awards, you can never go wrong with one of her romantic comedies.
4. Leonardo DiCaprio – Appian Way Productions
Leonardo DiCaprio has risen to fame, starting out as a heartthrob from Titanic to moving on to more serious roles in films such as Catch Me If You Can, Gangs of New York and The Departed. Throughout his career, DiCaprio has been nominated for ten Golden Globe Awards as well as five Academy Awards. It is not surprising that DiCaprio has ventured on to producing films since he has had such great success in Hollywood. His production company, Appian Way Productions has released several films including, Orphan, Gardener of Eden and most recently, The Wolf of Wall Street, in which DiCaprio not only produced, but also played the leading role. The Wolf of Wall Street was nominated for five Academy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards. DiCaprio was nominated for Best Actor, however didn’t win.
3. George Clooney – Smoke House Pictures
George Clooney is most notably known for his good looks and charm that shines when he is on screen. However, Clooney also likes to dabble in a thing or two behind the camera. In 2000, Clooney started Section Eight Productions with film director, Steven Soderbergh and produced hits such as Syriana and Good Night and Good Luck. Both films were nominated for Academy Awards. In 2006, Clooney and Soderbergh decided to shut down Section Eight Productions, as Clooney moved on to start his new production company, Smoke House Pictures. Since then, Clooney has produced films such as The Men Who Stare at Goats, Argo and August: Osage County. Argo was a hit with audiences as it won three out of the seven Academy Award nominations it received.
2. Orson Welles – Mercury Theatre Productions
Orson Welles was the jack of all trades during his time in Hollywood. Welles was not only an actor, but he was also a producer, director and writer. He displayed his talents in theater, radio and film. Welles’ greatest achievement was his first feature film, Citizen Kane, which was released in 1941. Welles was not only the leading man in the film, he also co-wrote, produced and directed it. Citizen Kane received praise for its stylish visuals and innovative techniques. However, Citizen Kane was not a hit at the box office since the movie was based loosely on publisher, William Randolph Hearst, and Hearst used his power to have publications boycott the film. Despite this minor setback, Welles’ Citizen Kane has gone down in history as one of the greatest films ever made.
1. Clint Eastwood – Malpaso Productions
Clint Eastwood is known as a highly prominent actor that gained success in starring in Sergio Leone’s western films during the 60’s and captured audiences with his role as Harry Callahan in five Dirty Harry films throughout the 70’s and 80’s. Eastwood has also earned his place as being an established director and producer. He started Malpaso Productions back in 1967 with his financial advisor, Irving Leonard. The production company’s first produced film was Eastwood’s Hang ‘Em High, back in 1968. Since then, Eastwood has gone on to produce Million Dollar Baby, Mystic River and Letters From Iwo Jima, which have all received Academy Award nominations and awards.