From Shia LaBeouf to James Franco
Rebecca Schiller

15:52 8th May 2015

Last week, Courteney Cox posted a photo to Twitter of herself with the band Kodaline, along with the caption “Hanging with Kodaline after a day of shooting their next video”.

The band met Cox after they worked with her fiancé, Snow Patrol’s Johnny McDaid. “We met Courteney through Johnny when we recorded our album in LA and she is really lovely and down to earth... Because Friends is so famous we struggled not to hum the theme tune around her or call her Monica by mistake,” Kodaline’s Steve Garrigan recently told The Sun.

"She suggested directing a video for us and filming it and we were like, 'Yeah, cool'. It's pretty random but we're excited about the shoot in a few weeks.” So, the band stayed at her LA beach house for a couple of weeks while they filmed the music video for their track 'Love Will Set You Free'.

While the Friends-Kodaline combo might seem a bit unexpected, this isn’t the first time that an actor has taken a stab at directing a music video. Here’s a look back at 14 videos directed by actors.

Jason Alexander
Brad Paisley – ‘Online’ (2007) 
Do we have Jason Alexander to thank for Taylor Swift's stardom? He seems to (jokingly) think so. “Not only am I a Swift fan, I put her in her first video,” he recently told TMZ. “It wasn’t her video, it was a Brad Paisley video. Go look at a Brad Paisley video called ‘Online’ that I directed. There are two young ladies on stage with him – one of them is Kellie Pickler, the other one, an underage Taylor Swift.” Plus, as an added bonus, he stars in it alongside William Shatner, Estelle Harris, Patrick Warburton, Shane West and Maureen McCormick.

Johnny Depp
Babybird – ‘Unloveable’ (2010)

It’s not all that surprising that Johnny Depp directed this Babybird video, since he also dabbled as a musician with the band. This video, which is said to be based around Ambrose Bierce’s 1890 short story ‘An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge’, stirred up a bit of controversy upon its release, and once you watch it you’ll probably figure out why. The video on YouTube (which you can watch below) is the uncut version that was, as its caption reads, “just a bit too intense for the folks over at Yahoos Standards and Practices department. However, we believe that this version gives the viewer the true vision intended by both the artist and director.”

Kerry Washington
Common – ‘I Want You’ (2007)

Before she was saving Washington, DC as Olivia Pope, Kerry Washington helped out Common with his 2007 video ‘I Want You’. She both co-directed (with Sanji) and co-starred (with Alicia Keys, Kanye West and Serena Williams) in the video. Washington apparently “looooved directing” the video so much that she was locked away in a room editing footage and didn’t look at any acting scripts for three weeks.

Shia LaBeouf 

Kid Cudi – ‘Marijuana’ (2010)

LaBeouf first directed a music video for rapper Cage in 2009 for his track ‘I Never Knew You’. “I’m 22 and I’m directing my favorite rapper’s music video,” he told LA Weekly of the project. “This shit is better than riding unicorns.” It was through that project that he met Kid Cudi, which led to LeBeouf collaborating with them on a short film MANIAC, followed by him filming and directing Kid Cudi’s video for ‘Marijuana’, which was shot at the 2010 High Times' Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam.

Zach Braff
Gavin DeGraw – ‘Chariot’ (2005)
Chances are, you once worshipped the Garden State soundtrack – maybe you still do. But that wasn’t Braff’s only contribution to the music world. In addition to directing videos for Joshua Radin's songs ‘Closer’ and ‘I'd Rather Be With You’, the Cary Brothers' ‘Ride’ and Lazlo Bane's ‘Superman’ (the Scrubs theme tune), he also directed the video for Gavin DeGraw’s ‘Chariot’. Perhaps you might enjoy watching it for model Jaime King, but most importantly, it features a short cameo from Braff’s Scrubs buddy Donald Faison.

Ethan Hawke
Lisa Loeb – ‘Stay (I Missed You)’ (1994)
This 90s anthem has a surprisingly simple yet iconically memorable video, thanks to Ethan Hawke, who was Loeb’s across-the-street neighbor at the time the video was filmed. The video was reportedly shot at her (empty) NYC apartment, and took just two takes to get right. Hawke had also liked this track so much that he sent it to Ben Stiller, which led to it appearing on the Reality Bites soundtrack. So in many ways, thanks to Hawke, this track made history when Loeb became the first unsigned act to top the Billboard Hot 100 when this song held the spot for three weeks.

Lena Dunham
Bleachers – ‘I Wanna Feel Better’ (2014)

This one shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, considering that Dunham is dating Bleachers’ Jack Antonoff. It’s also rather apparent that the mastermind behind Girls is also behind the camera on this project. You might recognize Orange Is The New Black’s Soso (Kimiko Glenn) and Parks And Recreation’s Retta in this humorously awkward video where Antonoff plays a recently dumped therapist who has to listen to some rather unusual clients.

Drew Barrymore
Best Coast – ‘Our Deal’ (2011)

This video starring Chloë Grace Moretz gives a modern twist to the classic 'Romeo and Juliet' and ‘West Side Story' tales, as two star-crossed lovers from rival gangs long to be together, but can’t. It’s a pretty heartbreakingly tragic video. No matter how many times you watch it, it’s gonna get you a bit choked up each and every time.

Salma Hayek
Prince – ‘Te Amo Corazon’ (2005)
This music video, which was filmed in Marrakesh, Morocco, stars Motorcycle Diaries actress Mía Maestro and was directed by Salma Hayek. "Salma heard the song and came up with the original concept," Prince said of the video. "Salma is the most thoughtful, attentive director I have ever worked with. An absolute joy."

Click here to watch.

Richard Ayoade
Kasabian – ‘Vlad the Impaler’ (2009)

Richard Ayoade is no stranger to directing, but it seems impossible to compile this list without including him in it. Having directed three Arctic Monkeys videos (‘Fluorescent Adolescent’, ‘Crying Lightning’, ‘Cornerstone’), a Yeah Yeah Yeahs video (‘Heads Will Roll’), one for Super Furry Animals (‘Run Away’), two for Vampire Weekend (‘Oxford Comma’, ‘Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa’), two videos for The Last Shadow Puppets (‘Standing Next to Me’ and ‘My Mistakes Were Made For You’) and one for Kasabian (‘Vlad the Impaler’), starring Ayoade’s frequent collaborator Noel Fielding, it’s hard to pick just one standout short film.

Joaquin Phoenix
She Wants Revenge – ‘Tear You Apart’ (2006)

Like Ayoade, Joaquin Phoenix has directed quite a few music videos, including Albert Hammond Jr.’s ‘In Transit’, Ringside’s ‘Tired of Being Sorry’, Silversun Pickups’ ‘Little Lover's So Polite’ and She Wants Revenge’s ‘Tear You Apart’. Perhaps the most haunting of these is the latter, which was filmed at a Hollywood middle school.



James Franco
REM – ‘That Someone Is You’ and ‘Blue’ (2012)
In 2011, REM’s Michael Stipe decided to get various filmmakers to create music videos for each song on his band’s album Collapse Into Now. James Franco was responsible for ‘Blue’ (REM’s collaboration with Patti Smith), which features a bunch of blurry aerial shots of LA, as well as some shots of Lindsay Lohan being photographed by Terry Richardson. He also directed ‘That Someone Is You’, in which Franco stars as Danny Zucco in a rendition of Grease – and for some reason, his Sandy has the head of a cat.

Heath Ledger
Modest Mouse – ‘King Rat’ (2009)

Not only was Heath Ledger a brilliant actor, but he was equally talented behind the camera, as well. Ledger was responsible for directing two videos for rapper N’fa, Ben Harper’s ‘Morning Yearning’, Nick Drake’s ‘Black Eyed Dog’ and Modest Mouse’s animated video for their track ‘King Rat’. The band apparently knew Ledger through their tour manager, and while they were touring in Australia, they ended up taking a boat trip with Ledger and his family, during which he expressed his interest in collaborating with the band. The video was “fully conceived down to the last detail but unfinished when Heath passed away in January 2008”, a press release read upon the video’s release. The Masses, a film/music company Ledger had been a part of, completed the video in his honor. The video reflected Ledger’s opposition to the illegal commercial whale hunting that occurs off the coast of Australia.

Sean Penn
Shania Twain – ‘Dance with the One That Brought You’ (1993)
In addition to filming music videos for Lyle Lovett's ‘North Dakota’ and Peter Gabriel's ‘The Barry Williams Show’, Sean Penn also worked with Shania Twain. Filmed at an LA country bar, the video portrays a couple in two different time periods, where each time, the man goes off to dance with other people, while the woman sits and watches.


Photo: YouTube