Requiring specific skills and natural talents, the gift of comedy isn’t necessarily transferable to dramatic endeavors, but it’s still intriguing when an established comic character strays from the genre. On screen we saw the legendary stand-up comedian Robin Williams flourish in more serious roles, Steve Carell showcased his acting skills over the past decade and, of course, Adam Sandler wowed audiences with her performance in Uncut Gems.
However, it was on the other side of the camera that we saw some of the most impressive and unexpected changes away from comedy. These filmmakers have won acclaim for their storytelling prowess, insightful social commentary, and technical genius as they’ve managed to show that they’re more than just talented comedians.
‘Austin Powers’ to ‘Trumbo’ — Jay Gardon
A longtime mainstay of American comedy, Jay Gardon is probably best known for directing the series of spy parodies, Austin Powers, however, his work in the genre does not stop there. With My stepfather, my parents and me, Dinner for the schmucksand The countrysideamong his other accomplishments, it came as a shock to many when he released 2015 Trumbo.
Leading the star of the film, Bryan Cranstonto an Oscar nomination, Trumbo followed the career of legendary Hollywood screenwriter, Dalton Trumbo, who was blacklisted by the industry for his political views. In a timely reflection, Roach once again targeted the media with the newsroom drama Bomb a film about sexual harassment at Fox News.
“Tropic Thunder” to “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” – Ben Stiller
One of America’s most successful comedy actors and an underrated director of the same genre, Ben Stiller first made major inroads in the potential to expand his funnyman reputation with the 2013s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Much like Walter Mitty (played by Stiller), the film was a quiet achievement, full of heart and without cynicism.
While the film had its laughs, it strived to be a more touching adventure of chasing dreams and realizing the beauty of life. For the most part, Stiller pulled it off and showed his nuance and versatility on both sides of the camera.
“Dumb and Dumber” to “Green Book” – Peter Farrelly
A successful comedy career ended by the two Stupid and even dumber movies, Pierre Farrellya staple of American comedy for over twenty years, left audiences stunned with his 2018 film, green book. Based on a true story, it centers on a powerful friendship between a black pianist (Mahershala Ali) and the Italian-American bouncer (Viggo Mortensen) who is hired as a driver on a tour through the South in the 1960s.
While the film caused some to question its theme and overall message, it won the Best Picture Oscar as well as an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Written by Farrelly, his gift for good humor is prevalent throughout the film with the best laughs coming from genuine and endearing interactions between the two exceptional stars.
‘Clerk’ at ‘Chasing Amy’ — Kevin Smith
To describe Chasing Amy as “non-comedy” might be a bit of a stretch as the film still shines with the signature style and dialogue that has seen Kevin Smith become an instant icon of the genre. It was, however, a break from comic purity. Clerks and Mallrats operated with.
One of Chasing AmyThe biggest strength of is that, despite the change in tone, he never lets go of Smith’s easily accessible direction. The unconventionality of its style authenticated the characters’ internal struggles and reinforced the film’s surprisingly mature avoidance of gender stereotypes through a lens of politically incorrect, yet charming and innocent, naivety.
‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ at ’12 Monkeys’ — terry gilliam
Starting his career as a main member of the famous English comedy group Monty Python, terry gilliam has proven himself as a director capable of excelling in different genres with the sci-fi thriller 12 monkeys. Featuring Bruce Willis as a post-apocalyptic 2030s convict who is sent back in time to uncover the origins of the virus that has decimated humanity, the film was a sizable hit.
Gilliam was able to exemplify his prowess behind the camera with an astonishing ability to create strangeness and a strong sense of dread. He has since become a filmmaker renowned for his versatility.
‘Step Brothers’ to ‘The Big Short’ — Adam McKay
After successfully transitioning from goofy comedies to piercing satire, Adam McKay is now one of the most distinguished directors of the past decade. Became famous thanks to his collaborations with Will FerrellMcKay reinvented itself overnight with the 2015s The big court.
A scathing look at the housing market crash and the men who saw it coming, McKay’s shrewd script won him an Oscar while his quick direction revealed a skill set few knew he possessed. . He’s been looking forward to posting it ever since, with Vice and Don’t look up both being significant features at the Oscars.
“The Joker’s Hangover” – Todd Phillips
As a comedic filmmaker, there were few lines Todd Phillips hesitated to cross in his effort to laugh. This same limitless approach again worked wonders for him in Jokerthe massive hit of 2019 that left so many of us squirming in our seats.
What was essentially an independent character study masquerading as a supervillain origin story, Phillips found a glorious niche that resonated with audiences, becoming the highest-grossing R-rated film to date. . Using Joaquin Phoenix talents to devastating effect, the intense psychological thriller showcased Phillips’ talents as a filmmaker.
“The End of the World” to “Baby Driver” – Edgar Wright
With Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and the end of the world, by Edgar Wright cornetto The trilogy movies are some of the most revered comedies of the 21st century to date. A dazzling introduction begins to his career, his knack for snappy dialogue and visual comedy left fans a bit perplexed when his next film was revealed to be an American action/crime flick.
His complex vision and sharp editing also made the transition, with his creative use of music helping to win baby driver nominations for film editing, sound editing and sound mixing. With his latest release, Last night in Sohobeing a dark psychological horror film, and its next film being a revamp of the 1987 sci-fi thriller The running manit looks like Wright might just be leaving comedy behind for good.
O brother, where are you for There is no country for old people – The Coen Brothers
The Coen Brothers are certainly two of the most eclectic filmmakers in the business and their exploration of different themes and genres has been a hallmark of their careers. It was in comedy that they found success early in their career, with films like Raising Arizona, Barton Fink, Fargo, The great Lebowskiand O brother, where are you? highlighting their talent for putting eccentric characters in ridiculous situations with hilarious consequences.
Tonally, There is no country for old people couldn’t have been more different from their greatest pictures at this point, as a brooding neo-western that used suspense and violence to create unbearable tension. The film won four Oscars, including Best Picture, and remains one of the best films of the 21st century to this day.
‘This Is Spinal Tap’ to ‘Stand By Me’ — Rob Reiner
Bursting onto the comedy scene with his role in the 70s sitcom All in the familyit seems appropriate that by Rob Reiner start of construction, It’s Spinal Tap, proved to be an enduring work of comic genius. More surprising though, is that for his follow-up film he decided to make an adaptation of by Stephen King novel, The bodywho would become support me.
A tender, heartfelt and nostalgic image that beautifully captures the tone of youth, it is now considered one of the quintessential films of the 80s and the greatest coming-of-age story ever put on the screen. screen. Considered by many to be the best adaptation of Stephen King’s work, it made Rob Reiner a dynamic director and launched him into what would become a wonderful and diverse storytelling career.
KEEP READING: Best Comedy Ensemble Movies for a Sideways Laugh
Exclusive: Michael Bay on the hardest hit he ever did, ‘Armageddon,’ Bruce Willis, Sean Connery and how Sony didn’t believe in ‘Bad Boys’
About the Author