It is common to see actors transition from acting to directing, so what's a better way for them to learn a new craft, than on the set of their own TV show? Actors are on sets for months and basically have a mini film school at their disposal. They already have a rapport with the cast and crew, so why not take advantage of a good opportunity a take a stab at a new craft. One reason as to why actors make relatively good directors is because they understand what the actors go through on a daily basis—unlike a director who may not quite get it. But at the same time, every actor-director on this list has had to direct themselves in an episode, which makes for an arduous yet challenging task. Some TV actors enjoy directing to the point that they segue into directing feature films. It’s apparent once they catch the directing bug, it becomes unshakable.
10 Robin Wright, House Of Cards
9 Peter Krause, Parenthood
8 Neil Patrick Harris, How I Met Your Mother
7 Steve Carell, The Office
6 Jon Hamm, Mad Men
5 Anthony Edwards, ER
4 Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
3 Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad, Malcolm in the Middle
2 Jason Bateman, Arrested Development, Valerie
1 John Slattery, Mad Men
Akin to his Mad Men co-star Jon Hamm, John Slattery, aka Roger Sterling, also directed some episodes of Mad Men. “I followed Matt [Weiner] and a few of the directors around for over a year in preparation for directing,” Slattery told Vulture.com on directing Mad Men. “It was only my second day and people were coming in from all directions—it was like a Marx Brothers sketch. I was overwhelmed and just trying to keep it together, to maintain a sense of authority, and I just said, ‘Keep rolling.’” Slattery’s directed five different episodes over three seasons, the first being episode four of season 4 in 2010. The last Mad Men episode he helmed was episode 6 of last season, which aired in June 2013; it’s unclear if Slattery will direct any episodes of Mad Men’s newest season. One thing is for sure, all of that directing experience seems to have helped him in writing and directing his first feature called God’s Pocket, starring the late Philip Seymour Hoffman and Christina Hendricks of Mad Men. The film, which Slattery doesn’t act in, will be distributed in theaters this summer
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