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Sometimes popular directors make the transition from music videos to feature films. While the transition can be successful, sometimes it’s a disaster. Here are 15 directors you didn’t know started out in music videos.
- Spike Jonze. After a long career in music videos, Spike Jonze made the leap into feature films with Being John Malkovich in 1999. He went on to make other fantastic movies such as Her and Adaptation. Spike Jonze directed music videos for The Breeders, Fatboy Slim, and Beastie Boys.
- David Fincher. David Fincher is probably the most notable director with movies like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network, and Gone Girl to go from music videos to feature films. He directed music videos for Madonna, Nine Inch Nails, and Paula Abdul.
- Michael Bay. At the moment, Michael Bay is the most successful director in Hollywood with impressive box office hauls for movies such as Transformers: Age of Extinction, Bad Boys II, and Armageddon. He directed music videos for Meatloaf and Divinyls before he started in with feature films.
- Marc Webb. During the 2000s, Marc Webb was the premiere director for budding Emo bands like My Chemical Romance and Yellowcard, along with established acts such as Green Day and Weezer. Webb made the leap to feature films with (500) Days of Summer and The Amazing Spider-Man films.
- Anton Corbijn. It’s not surprising that Anton Corbijn went from making art-house music videos to making art-house movies. Corbijn directed music videos for Depeche Mode, Nirvana, and The Killers before directing movies like The American and Control.
- Michel Gondry. He’s one of the most creative music video directors of all-time with music videos for The Chemical Brothers, Metronomy, and The White Stripes. Gondry style translated well to the big screen with movies like The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Science of Sleep, and Be Kind, Rewind.
- Floria Sigismondi. While she isn’t a household name, Floria Sigismondi directed music videos for Marilyn Manson, Sarah McLachlan, and The White Stripes. It’s not surprising that her feature film debut was also a music movie with The Runaways starring Dakota Fanning, Kristen Stewart, and Michael Shannon.
- Jonathan Glazer. He doesn’t make as many movies as most directors, but Jonathan Glazer is definitely a filmmaker with flare with movies like Under The Skin, Birth, and Sexy Beast. Glazer also directed music videos for Radiohead and Jamiroquai.
- Gore Verbinski. While Gore Verbinski’s movies are epic in scale with The Pirate of the Caribbean movies and The Lone Ranger, his music videos are a bit smaller with videos for Bad Religion, NOFX, and Monster Magnet.
- Antoine Fuqua. Before he made his feature film debut Training Day in 2001, Antoine Fuqua directed music videos for Toni Braxton and Coolio.
- F Gary Gray. While he can go from stoner comedy with Friday to straight up action with The Italian Job remake, F. Gary Gray directed a steady stream of music videos for Dr. Dre, TLC, Outkast, and, of course, Ice Cube.
- McG. Before he directed Charlie’s Angels and its sequel Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, McG (born Joseph McGinty Nichol) directed memorable music videos for Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth, and The Offspring.
- Francis Lawrence. Before he directed the last three movies in The Hunger Games film franchise (Catching Fire and Mockingjay Part One and Part Two), Francis Lawrence directed music videos for Robyn, Third Eye Blind, and Britney Spears.
- Mark Romanek. While he has the reputation of being a perfectionist, Mark Romanek has the honor to have directed the most expensive music video of all-time with Michael Jackson’s “Scream” (featuring Janet Jackson). He moved on to direct feature film such as One Hour Photo and Never Let Me Go.
- Tarsem. He’s probably the most visually dynamic director on this list, Tarsem (born Tarsem Singh) went from directing music videos for REM and En Vouge to directing movies like The Cell, The Fall, and Mirror, Mirror.