It doesn’t feel like summer without new episodes of Mad Men on the horizon, and we’re all pretty depressed about it. Presumably sensing this, star Jon Hamm has given us a tidbit of interesting information about the show’s eventual season premiere: he’ll be directing it himself.
Hamm will follow in the footsteps of co-star John Slattery, who helmed two episodes last season (“I watched Slattery do it, and he handled it with such grace and ability and ease,” Hamm told TV Line, adding, “I figured if he can do it, shit, I can do it too”). But if he warms to the experience, he could very well be the next in a long line of television stars who used their own shows as a film school, learning the directorial ropes before tackling feature film projects. (Some who you’d think would make this list, by the way, actually directed for their shows after directing films; Zach Braff and John Krasinski, for example). Few have yielded cinematic masterpieces, but some have made some interesting pictures; after the jump, take a look at our ten TV-actors-turned-TV-directors-turned-filmmakers.
Duchovny become a star by playing Fox Mulder on the cult hit The X-Files, but as the series continued, he found other ways to occupy himself on the show — writing several episodes and directing three (including the well-received “meta-episode” “Hollywood A.D.,” with Duchovny’s friend Garry Shandling playing Mulder in a film, opposite Duchovny’s wife Tea Leoni). After leaving the show in a contract dispute, Duchovny focused on film: acting for Ivan Reitman (Evolution) and Steven Soderbergh (Full Frontal), then writing, directing, and co-starring in his own film, House of D, which featured Leoni, Erykah Badu, and Robin Williams. Critics panned it (Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers complained that Duchovny has a “tin ear for dialogue”) and audiences stayed away; Duchovny most recently directed four episodes of his Showtime series Californication.