Every year Hollywood releases tons of blockbusters, and whether they're good or bad, they all need directors. One trend in particular I'm starting to notice is that as soon as an indie-style director makes a good movie, they almost instantly get hired to direct a big-budget film right after. The thing about casting one of these talented directors is that you're not always guaranteed a great film, but when it pays off, it really works. We're going to look at five directors in particular!
1. Colin Trevorrow
Low-Budget: Safety Not Guaranteed
Big-Budget: Jurassic World
Next Movie: Star Wars: Episode IX
#ColinTrevorrow is a 40-year-old director from Oakland who really hit high notes after his first film. His directorial debut, Safety Not Guaranteed (Aubrey Plaza, Jake Johnson), was a cult hit following the story of a guy who claims he can time travel and needs a companion. This 2012 #indie must have caught the attention of Hollywood because his next movie was the humungous Jurassic World, which is one of the highest grossing films ever! As if that weren't big enough, Colin Trevorrow is now making a film for the biggest franchise in the world, Star Wars, where he's slated to direct Episode 9 for 2019.
2. Marc Webb
Low-Budget: 500 Days of Summer
Big-Budget: The Amazing Spider-Man
Next Movie: Gifted
Marc Webb's transition from indie to #blockbuster hasn't quite been as glamorous as Colin Trevarrow's move to Jurassic World. #MarcWebb is the director behind one of the best films of the last 10 years for me, 500 Days of Summer, which follows the story of Summer and Tom and their relationship over the course of 500 days. This story is not in chronological order and it has a real Annie Hall vibe to it, which makes it an modern-day classic.
Fast forward three years and it's 2012 and Marc Webb is releasing his next film, The Amazing Spider-Man: the highly anticipated reboot for one of the world's favorite superheroes. You can imagine the immense pressure that was on the indie director to deliver a totally new Spider-Man while also sticking true to the character. Unfortunately this didn't pan out for Marc Webb as the film opened up to mediocre reviews and not much love from fans, plus an equally mediocre sequel that ultimately killed the franchise and allowed #Marvel to share rights and create the new Spider-Man coming out next year in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Marc Webb hasn't directed much since The Amazing Spider-Man 2, mainly working on TV projects, such as: Limitless (2 episodes) and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2 episodes). Fortunately for Marc Webb, he has five movies currently in development — all of which seem to be indie movies, an area in which it seems Marc Webb feels more comfortable.
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3. Gareth Edwards
Big-Budget: Godzilla & Rogue One
Next Movie: Forever
Gareth Edwards's story is another good one of taking the leap from low-budget to big-budget and it payed off in the best way possible. The British-born director caught they eye of tons of sci-fi fans with his 2010 movie Monsters, which follows the life of a cynical journalist six years after an alien invasion.
After his debut movie, Edwards moved on to much bigger things when in 2014 his highly anticipated film Godzilla came out. This remake opened to very good reviews and it showcased his beautiful eye for detail and color. This sort of craftsmanship was further explored in the newly released Star Wars: Rogue One, which I believe is the most beautiful Star Wars movie to date.
His next film slated to come out, Forever, also sounds like another fantastic sci-fi for #GarethEdwards to direct. There's no release date yet, but the film follows a futuristic world run by robots where a human child searches for the origin of humanity. It's safe to say that Gareth Edwards has a bright future ahead of him in sci-fi.
4. Joe & Anthony Russo
Low-Budget: Me, You and Dupree
Big-Budget: Captain America: The Winter Soldier & Civil War
Next Movie: Avengers: Infinity War
You may recognize this pair as being Marvel's favorite choice for directing right now. So far, they've made two fantastic entries to the MCU, including Winter Soldier and Civil War. Their very first movie was the low-budget Welcome to Collinwood, which was followed by the light-hearted comedy You, Me and Dupree. After that they worked a lot in TV, most prominently the hit show Community. Captain America: The Winter Soldier came out the year Community ended.
One of the reasons Community was such a good TV show is because it focused on all the characters wonderfully, perfectly juggling each character as if they were all mains. This kind of process was excellently applied to Captain America: Civil War where the Russo brothers had to utilize numerous superheroes while also making it a great Captain America film, which they pulled off exceedingly well. Their next challenge is the colossal Infinity War, which is reported to have tons of heroes in it!
It's great to see Hollywood give these immensely talented directors a shot at making it in the movie industry, even if it sometimes results as a risk that might not pay off. But at least Marc Webb is proof that even if the blockbuster movie doesn't pan out, you can always return to your roots. Let me know if there are any indie directors you'd like to see direct a big-budget film!
Do you think directors should have more experience before directing a big blockbuster?