Here’s a look at a number of directors that started in the business with indie projects and are now on the roster as some of the heavy hitters with studio blockbusters. It’s not an easy transition and while one may believe that it is a goal that many strive toward, frequently some directors prefer to remain within the indie world.
Doug Liman’s indie background started with the cult classic “Swingers”, a film that was a breakout start for Vince Vaughn, Ron Livingston and Jon Favreau. The LA style bromance was a precursor for movies like “The Hangover” franchise. The film had a budget of $200,000 but Liman made it work. He went on to direct Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie and many others and is about to release studio blockbuster “Edge of Tomorrow” starring Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt.
Director Tim Story started his career with two Indie features called “One of Us Tripped” and “The Firing Squad” geared toward a primary black niche audience before he stepped into the successful “Barbershop”. He’s gone onto direct blockbusters like the “Fantastic Four” and more recently “Ride Along” and is working on sequels for both of those films.
James DeMonaco’s indie debut in 2009 launched him into his latest franchise “The Purge”, working with Ehan Hawke on both his debut and “The Purge”. He is currently working on his sequel for the latter schedule to be released in 2014.
With indie horror flick “Future Shock” marking his first shot at directing in a single segment of the 3-part saga, Matt Reeves has advanced his career through television with hits such as “Felicity” before moving on to movies like “Cloverfield”. His current project is the latest Planet of the Apes movie and he’s slated to direct the next sequel as well.
Siblings Andy and Lana Wachowski garnered fame with the “Matrix” series but prior to that they cranked out the indie production “Bound”, about two lesbian lovers robbing the mafia. They’re currently working on “Jupiter Ascending” a futuristic flick depicting the reign of the Queen of the Universe.
Robert Rodriguez has a solid cult following with movies such as “Sin City” and “From Dusk to Dawn” and is well respected. His directorial feature debut “El Mariachi” worked on a budget of $7,000 and went on to gross over $2 million. He claims that most of those costs were film and the processing and outside of those, he could have made the film for $600. The popularity led to two of his other films “Desperado” and “Once Upon a Time in Mexico”. He is currently working on the sequel “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For”.
Director Tate Taylor started out with the feature film “Pretty Ugly People” a ridiculous film about girls obsessed with their looks and has gone on to the direct the blockbuster “The Help”. He is currently working on the movie “Get On Up” which is scheduled for release in August of this year and is a biopic on the life of James Brown.