One of the most crucial collaborations in filmmaking is between a director and their cast. How that relationship is selflessly formed (and what makes for a successful one) is dependent on what each individual can bring to the table and how they can merge that talent with that of their collaborator’s.
“Some directors are short and some are tall,” Walter Matthau, on stage with Jack Lemmon to present the Oscar for Best Director, reflected sarcastically at the 1982 Academy Award ceremony, “and some are old and some are young…There are directors who know everything about human behavior and nothing about the camera. There are directors who know camera angles, camera lenses, camera sprockets, and depth of focus, but who are totally ignorant of the human condition.” “We have all of these directors with us tonight,” Lemmon responded before concluding with, “also, we have directors who work well with the camera and with the actors, and one of them is going to win the Academy Award.”
While a director’s working relationship with an actor can be shrouded in mysterious complexities, there have been endless examples of successful ones. It’s with this in mind that this week’s Community Corner question ponders your favorite director-actor duos. Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro was the most cited duo, while John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands were another pairing that was mentioned repeatedly. Also featured are Tsai Ming-liang and Lee Kang-sheng, John Waters and Divine, Spike Lee and Denzel Washington, Michelangelo Antonioni and Monica Vitti, and more. Scroll down below to see a collection of your responses!
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– Wong Kar Wai/Tony Leung (1994)
– Steve McQueen/Michael Fassbender (2011)
– Sofia Coppola/Kirsten Dunst (2006)
– Hong Sangsoo/Kim Min-hee (2017)
— Film at Lincoln Center (@FilmLinc) June 11, 2021
– Bernardo Bertolucci/Marlon Brando(1972)
– Liliana Cavani/Dirk Bogarde(1974)
– Nagisa Ôshima/Tatsuya Fuji(1976)
– Naomi Kawase/Machiko Ono(2007) pic.twitter.com/oD4Et5idCg
— A Lonely Walker (@A_LonelyWalker) June 12, 2021
Steven Spielberg/Harrison Ford
Martin Scorsese/Robert DeNiro
Quentin Tarantino/Samuel L.Jackson
Spike Lee/Denzel Washington
— Marlon J (@montellej71) June 12, 2021
— Xuliana (@dreamsdanvers) June 12, 2021
— Matt (@pattzbarnes) June 12, 2021
Leos Carax and Denis Lavant
Jean Pierre Melville and Alain Delon
Derek Jarman and Tilda Swinton
— Peter (@control_X) June 11, 2021
The Coens and Frances McDormand
Steven Soderbergh and Don Cheadle
— ΔLoki SeasonΔ (@ItsSimberg) June 12, 2021
Adam Driver & Noah Baumbach pic.twitter.com/KzlExTjcoi
— Creative License (@CreativLicense_) June 11, 2021
John Wayne/John Ford
Henry Fonda/John Ford
Clint Eastwood/Don Siegel
Takashi Shimura/Akira Kurosawa
Toshiro Mifune/Akira Kurosawa
Arielle Dombasle/Eric Rohmer pic.twitter.com/gYQKBJOEJW
— Concionator Otii (נביא הפנאי) (@concionator) June 12, 2021
Godard-Karinina, Rossellini-Bergman, Casavettes – Rowland
— Tony Mastrogiorgio (@Tonyinquakeland) June 12, 2021
Truffaut and Jean Pierre Léaud pic.twitter.com/Y5LZlNkZFl
— beanerwetbackandproud (@CarlosR40634720) June 12, 2021
— HuΩter // Stream AOTD (@HunterLovesFilm) June 13, 2021
Tim Burton and Johnny Depp pic.twitter.com/M5V9kxU1qc
— Honoré Lumière 卍蛇囲 (@HonoreLumiere) June 12, 2021
Robert Altman & Elliott Gould
(MASH, The Long Goodbye, Nashville, California Split)
— Skraggs (@bwad13) June 12, 2021
Dario Argento and Daria Nicolodi.
Pedro Almodóvar and Carmen Maura.
Fellini and Giulietta Massina
— Friendlypersuasion (@junefellini) June 12, 2021
Williams Wyler and Bette Davis.
He taught her a great deal, he was one of the few directors who really understood and knew how to capture her gift.
She gave some of her finest performances in his films: The Letter, The Little Foxes and Jezebel (which won her her 2nd Oscar)! pic.twitter.com/omM50YP1Pk
— Sam O’Sullivan (@SamOSul44108519) June 12, 2021