Throughout the history of filmmaking there have been certain collaborations between actors and directors that have helped both produce their best work. From the classic pairing of Ingmar Bergman and Max Von Sydow or Hitchcock and Grant, to more contemporary duos like Seth Rogan and Judd Appatow or George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh.
Here are my top 5 actor and director collaborations:
5. Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro
I was tempted to exclude this pair from the top 5 simply because it seems to be too obvious a choice when discussing the best collaborations in cinema. However it would be remiss of me to leave out one of the most popular and most successful collaborations that has made a total of nine films together. Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and Goodfellas, are seen as some of the best performances from De Niro, and the greatest films from Scorsese giving them a number of award nominations and wins. Scorsese’s muse in recent years has been Leonardo DiCaprio, but De Niro himself has confirmed that he will work with Scorsese again in the film The Irishman, alongside Al Pacino and Joe Pesci. Hopefully they will be able to create some of the magic that made their other films so great to watch.
4. David Fincher and Brad Pitt
There are many actor and director partnerships that have produced more work than the three films that these two have. However the quality of the films that Fincher and Pitt have made together trumps the quantity of other actor/director teams. Seven, Fight Club, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button are three completely different films that all show Pitt’s acting ability to its fullest. It’s amazing that Pitt didn’t win any major awards for these roles, but that just shows how annoyingly underrated they both are.
3. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp
Burton and Depp have created together some of the most quirky, eccentric, and dark films in cinematic history. With Burton’s distinctive style and Depp’s ability to create strange and interesting characters out of thin air, the pair’s films are always fascinating and highly anticipated in terms of what over-the-top piece of film making they will create next.
2. Pedro Almodovar and Penelope Cruz
Penelope Cruz has spent the majority of her career making mostly Spanish language films, as well as the odd supporting role in American films. But successful film stars do not all have to star in big budget Hollywood spectacles, which Cruz has proved by working with Almodovar. The two have currently made four films that have all been successful with critics and have subsequently helped Cruz become one of the most sought after actresses in Hollywood. Whatever Almodovar brings out in Cruz when working with her is definitely something special and hopefully the two will work together again soon.
1. John Carpenter and Kurt Russell
This choice may leave some a little bewildered, but for others who love the three films John Carpenter and Kurt Russell made together as much as I do, then it’s a very understandable choice. The Thing, Escape from New York, and Big Trouble in Little China were all released in the eighties and have become cult classics since then. Big Trouble in Little China was the least successful of the three, but definitely my favourite; however watching it as a child was a very different experience to watching it now. The effects and storyline were a lot more impressive and mysterious then, but I still appreciate the whole tongue-in-cheek (not sure if that’s what Carpenter was going for) feel which is supported by Kurt Russell’s humorous big mouthed American performance.
Image courtesy of Brad Pitt and David Fincher