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Actors Who Have Directed The Shows They Star In

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.


Tony 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.


New Girl

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.

The thing about directing… it’s all in the hands. #agentsofshield Friday 9/8c

A post shared by Clark Gregg (@clarkgregg) on

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.

The Librarians

Lindy Booth and Noah Wyle both directed episodes of this TNT show.


DIRECT-TRESS ?~ thank you @melnificentpr for this pic! #blackish

A post shared by Tracee Ellis Ross (@traceeellisross) on

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.


Cover photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash 

Maggie is pursing a Public Relations degree with a certificate in Public Affairs Communications at the University of Georgia. Her favorite cities are Washington, D.C. and Orlando, Florida. Her regular Starbucks order is a grande iced vanilla coffee, and you can find her on Instagram and Twitter @maggie_cav.
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