who matters more: actors or director?

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Ted Lee, Oct 8, 2003.

  1. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    when deciding to see a movie, who has more of an influence on you - the actor(s) or the director?

    for me, i'd have to say the director.

    it's rare for me to go, "hey, tom cruise is going to be in that movie. i gotta go see it!" but, if i hear that burton, spieldberg or scott is directing a movie, i'll get much more excited.

    i wonder why that is? maybe it's because i feel that the director's influence is felt throughout. his hands touch every aspect of the films development. it's his decisions that (studio politics aside) are carried out.

    i kind of feel that the actor just has to "show up" and "play the part". of course, there are certain actors that i'll definitely see. and i'm certainly not belittling an actor's potential influence on a movie.

    anyway, i know it's personal preference, but what are your thoughts?
     
  2. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    Neither, the story first and foremost does it for me. While the phrase "I would watch [insert actor/actress here] read the phone book" is thrown around a lot, I actually wouldn't. DeNiro is my favorite actor, but the material he's been in lately looks like it suck so much I wouldn't go out of my way to watch any of it. Same with some of the latest Denzel stuff.

    Basically, even if I were to choose between the two, influence of the story would still be very obvious in my choice: At this point, I can say I would watch anything by Shyamalan (no matter who he casts) because he tells terrific stories, with style. The same way, I would watch anything by Tom Cruise (no matter who is directing) at this point, as much because of his terrific choices as because of his acting.

    Does that make sense?

    --
    H
     
  3. Raymond_H

    Raymond_H Stunt Coordinator

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    A director with a track record has an influence on me more then a certain actor would.

    "The 4th Film by Quentin Tarratino"


    That already has my attention more then who follows, but that alone won't make me shell out the cash at the box office. But it has already got me attention then say if "Uma Thurman" came on first.

    Raymond
     
  4. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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  5. Nathan V

    Nathan V Supporting Actor

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    The Director, by a country mile. I could care less what the movie's about or who's in it. It's the director and writer that matter. Hell, Punch Drunk Love had Adam Sandler in it, but people who love the film saw it for Paul Thomas Anderson's writing and directing. It was HIS movie. He was the force behind the film that made it into something other than an Adam Sandler romantic comedy. For me, the director has much more influence over the picture then the actors. A director can save a bad/average actor; that certainly doesn't work vice versa. Scorsese got Sharon Stone to act incredibly well in Casino. Same thing for Soderbergh and Zeta-Jones in Traffic. Another thing is that the director's work can be felt in every scene of the film. Most times the actor isn't in every scene. And of course story isn't a factor when choosing a film, since that'd cut out about 90% of all my choices. Imean, I love gangster/crime films, but I'll take 2001 or Amadeus over Knockaround Guys any day of the week, because the first two have brilliant direction. And being an artist, I identify more with directors, who are artists who have a vision. Actors (usually) do not.
     
  6. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    Absolutely the director.

    The right director will make sure he has the perfect actors for each role.

    But of all the filmmakers, I feel the screenwriter is most important. Without a strong foundation, you almost always get a crappy film.
     
  7. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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    I agree Scott - it starts with the words put down on the paper.
     
  8. Andy Sheets

    Andy Sheets Cinematographer

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    Definitely the director for me. If I follow a director's work, I'm usually pretty happy with what they come up with. They have to manage the entire project and that gives them a level of quality control that actors don't have. If I follow an actor, there's no telling how good the movie as a whole might turn out because actors seem to be so focused on their own role that they fail to pay attention to what's happening around them and that can often lead to actors giving good performances in bad films, and I don't want to watch bad films even if the acting is good [​IMG]
     
  9. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    Director hands down!! This isn't even a close race. I would then place story, screenwriter, cinematagropher, composer, etc... Actor would be near the bottom of my top 10. This isn't to say that I don't appreciate great acting, but a bad movie is a bad movie no matter how good the acting is.

    If you look at the great directors, you will see very few holes in their filmographies. However, if you look at the great actor's filmographies you will find holes that you could drive a double-decker bus through.

    Just my 2 cents!
     
  10. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    There are a handful of directors whose work I immediately want to see- Scorsese, Spike Lee, and most lately the Coen Brothers.

    But we're all thinking in terms of the director being the auteur, the sole or primary visionary behind the film. That's not always the case. There are plenty of films where the direction is more committee-like; in fact, that's the way it usually was before the 70s in Hollywood. Many of the "classics" don't have a legendary director behind them.

    I've even seen films with scripts that were lousy, but the director was able to turn it into something fun.

    And, of course, the presence of a fine lady doesn't hurt the marketability of a film for me, I'll admit it. Though I saw Once Upon A Time in Mexico because another film was sold out, Selma Hayeck's and Eva Mendez' appearances did push me to select that film.:b
     
  11. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    It has been said that the key element in the theatre is the actors, in film it is directors, while TV is the providence of the producers.

    Of course the writers are important to all (so much so that I think the real artistic power in TV may be the writer/producers.
     
  12. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

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    Tough one, but I think I'm going to go with director. I am Paul Thomas Anderson's bitch. [​IMG]

    Although, if I hear the name Julianne Moore, I'll rush to see her too if the film is in theaters, but she hasn't made me go see all of her films on DVD like PTA has. [​IMG]
     
  13. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    hmm...good point about the story/screenwriter. i gotta admit that a good story goes a long way to keeping me happy.
     
  14. Vickie_M

    Vickie_M Producer

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  15. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    They're cliches, but they're still true:

    Film is a director's medium.

    TV is a producer's medium.

    Theater is an actor's medium.

    And without good writers, they're all useless.

    M.
     
  16. Qui-Gon John

    Qui-Gon John Producer

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    With a slight variation, not what will draw me to see a movie, but on how good the movie ultimately is or how much I like or dislike it, I would say that is a toss up. Sometimes the work of the director, screenwriter and the story itself, will make it good no matter who are playing the parts. Other times a great actor can salvage a somewhat poor script/story and weak director. And sometimes it doesn't matter. For example, I like Nicholson alot, but ABOUT SCHMIDT did nothing for me. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the oft-maligned ANGER MANAGEMENT.
     
  17. Jason Seaver

    Jason Seaver Lead Actor

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    The special-effects artists. [​IMG]

    Seriously, no one factor trumps the others with me. Certainly, just seeing the Coens' names on Intolerable Cruelty gets my attention, but even without knowing they were involved, "George Clooney in a quirky comedy" is something I'd mark down.

    I think it also depends on the genre. A director is a more important factor in a drama, but the performers are often a bigger influence for a comedy (do I really care whether Tom Shadyac or someone else directs Jim Carrey?).
     
  18. Simon_Lepine

    Simon_Lepine Supporting Actor

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    It'a the director. Usually, if a good director doesn't write his own movies, he's smart enough not to direct a bad script. See Hitchcock, who had many writers but a pretty consistent style and quality throughout his career.
     
  19. Jack Shappa

    Jack Shappa Second Unit

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    If the choice is strictly between director and actors, I'd go with director, as "good" directors tend to have a better track record (less stinkers) than "good" actors.

    Look what happens when you put good actors: Liam Neeson, Natalie Portman, Samuel Jackson, Ewan McGregor, Christopher Lee, in with a crap director (George Lucas).

    I think the actor's ability to draw box office is way overrated. When they star in good movies, they make money, when they star in bad movies, they don't. I'd really like to see more good movies made with unknowns

    - Cryo
     
  20. Eric Howell

    Eric Howell Stunt Coordinator

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    I cite Robert Altman’s The Company as an example of how sometimes a great director can be at the mercy of his or her writers. [​IMG] But, yes, in terms of which movies I’m driven to see, the director credit is the one that influences me the most. This is why good writer/directors are your most consistent bet. [​IMG]
     

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