It’s not uncommon for actors on long-running shows to take a turn behind the camera and direct it themselves. Recently, more shows across networks have had actors who star on the show direct episodes for the first time in their history. It’s especially refreshing to see more diverse directors take the helm, as there’s historically been more white male directors on television and in film. Here’s a look at seven shows that have recently had their actors direct.
Tonight we wrapped #Scandal episode 710. Jeez! It feels like we shot our pilot episode yesterday! Back then I was a nervous and excited actor striving to give my all and hoping to be part of something special. Directing this episode brought back all those same hopes & dreams & butterflies. Today, just like 7 seasons ago, I am infinitely grateful to be a member of this insanely talented family – our cast & crew. #scandalfam, you inspire me to grow and to risk and to leap into the unknown. And you make me better. And I am forever indebted. I ❤️ you. OK, NOW ONWARD WE MARCH! EIGHT MORE EPISODES TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ? #KerryDirectsScandalTony Goldwyn, Kerry Washington, and Scott Foley have all added ‘director’ to their resume after directing episodes of Scandal, now in it’s final season.
Jane the Virgin
Gina Rodriguez’s directorial debut on Jane the Virgin was a fantastic episode filled with romance and comedy and even involved a wolf, and Justin Baldoni is currently filming his own directorial debut. Andrea Navedo will direct at some point this season as well. This show is so full of talent on-screen, it’s no surprise the cast is taking over behind the scenes.
I think still feel like that 16 year old kid making music videos and turning in short films instead of book reports. So grateful for the opportunity to direct my first episode of #janethevirgin with people I love and respect so much. Here we go! (Pic taken by my TV ex wife/baby mamma @yaelgrobglas )
Stars Zooey Deschanel and Jake Johnson both directed episodes in 2016, and Lamorne Morris’s directorial debut has been filmed for New Girl’s final season. We’re sad to see New Girl go, but so glad that Lamorne got to direct it before it was too late.
Once Upon a Time
In its seventh and final season, it’s about time that an actress directed an episode of Once Upon a Time. Lana Parrilla, one of the three remaining cast members from the first season of the show, directed a Zelena-centric episode that will air after the show returns from hiatus in March.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Our favorite Director of S.H.I.E.L.D got his turn to direct for an episode titled ‘Fun & Games’ that aired in January.
Lindy Booth and Noah Wyle both directed episodes of this TNT show.
As the portrayer of the matriarch of the fictional Johnson family, Tracee Ellis Ross coined herself as “direct-tress” and directed an episode of Black-ish that will air later this year.
Shows like the now off-air Bate’s Motel or the never-ending Grey’s Anatomy have also had their actors direct episodes. Hopefully, the future holds more for the new trend of “#femalefilmmakerfriday”, an ongoing conversation about women who direct and produce television and film. You can check out your favorite show’s IMDb page and see if they’ve ever had an actor direct, and encourage showrunners through social media to have more diversity in who directs their show.