Five Notable Directing Siblings Working in Hollywood Today

This post idea actually came about a year ago when I first heard the rumor about Jonathan Nolan collaborating with his brother Christopher on the upcoming Superman reboot. Of course that is not the case, but they are indeed writing the script together for The Dark Knight Rises, which will be their fourth screenwriting collaboration after Memento, The Prestige and The Dark Knight. Well, since I came across the Wachowkis’ Cloud Atlas project I wrote about last week, I figure it’s a good a time as any to finally wrap up this post.

So my pal Ted and I are taking a look at the five major directing siblings who’ve made their mark in Hollywood. Here they are in alphabetical order:

..1. The Coen Brothers

Ruth Joel and Ethan Coen grew up in a Jewish community in St. Louis Park (which is the first suburban area I lived in when I first moved to the Twin Cities). I also just learned that their mother, Rena, was an art historian at St. Cloud State University (my alma mater). Known for their dark comedy, I recognize that they’re one of the best filmmakers in Hollywood today, but I have to say their movies are not exactly my cup of tea. I quite like Fargo but I’m not in love with it as a lot of people are, and I can count how many movies of theirs I’ve seen with one hand. I did like True Grit a lot however, even though I’m not into Westerns at all. In fact, it’s one of my top 5 best movies pick of last year.

Ted These guys are two of my favorite directors working in Hollywood today and I pretty much enjoyed most if not all of their films. My favorite movies: Blood Simple, Miller’s Crossing, No Country For Old Men, Fargo, True Grit, The Hudsucker Proxy and The Big Lebowski.

What are they up to now?
They’re currently filming Gambit, a crime comedy (their specialty) starring Cameron Diaz, Alan Rickman and Colin Firth.

..2. The Farrelly Brothers

– Peter and Bobby Farrelly are originally from Cumberland, Rhode Island and often film their movies in the New England area. They’re sports enthusiasts who often cast sports stars in cameo roles in their movies. According to this Tribute bio page, they scored their first credit with two episodes of the award-winning series Seinfeld which led to them getting the green light to do Dumb and Dumber in 1994. Their brand of humor is irreverent, politically incorrect and often use slapstick, gross bathroom jokes in their movies. Two of their movies, Something About Mary & Dumb and Dumber are my guilty pleasures… somehow I can’t turn away every time I see these movies playing on TV.

Ted – Throughout the 1990s these guys were the go to directors for grossed out comedies but their last few films were box office busts. Jim Carrey mentioned that they might do a sequel to Dumb and Dumber, so maybe that could be their comeback. Favorite movies: Dumb and Dumber, There’s Something About Mary, Kingpin and Me, Myself and Irene.

What are they up to now?
They’ve recently wrapped Movie 43, a feature-film comprised of short comedy segments, here’s the cast so far: Elizabeth Banks, Gerard Butler, Kieran Culkin, Hugh Jackman, Johnny Knoxville, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloe Moretz, Liev Schreiber, Sean William Scott, Tony Shalhoub, Emma Stone, Matt Walsh, Patrick Warburton, Naomi Watts, and Kate Winslet (read more about it in this post). They’re also producing The Three Stooges remake that’s currently filming.

..3. The Hughes Brothers

– Albert and Allen Hughes are twin brothers from Detroit of African American and Iranian Armenian descent. I’m not very familiar with their work as their movies are extremely violent. I just saw The Book of Eli recently which I thought was quite good, but because of the amount of violence, I don’t think I want to see that again. I’m curious to see From Hell which is based on Alan Moore’s graphic novel Jack the Ripper. I like period movies and the story is set in Victorian era, plus there’s Johnny Depp as the lead. But Ted gave me this warning,”From Hell is quite violent just like all of The Hughes Brothers’ films, in fact I think The Book of Eli was their tamest work. The violence in Menace to Society, Dead Presidents and From Hell were so realistic that it probably made some people sick.” Yikes!

Ted – These bros. have only done four films together but all of their films were quite good. Back in the late 1990s they were offer a chance to direct both Superman and Planet of the Apes reboot. The studio executives didn‘t like their pitch so they moved on to other projects. Menace to SocietyIf you‘ve never seen it give it a rent, it‘s way better than the overrated Boys‘ n the Hood. Dead Presidents  was about the effect of the Vietnam war has on war veterans except it’s from the perspective of African Americans. It’s a great film and I think it’s one of the most underrated films from the 1990s. Give it a rent if you’ve never seen it. Just a warning though, it’s quite violent and it doesn’t have a happy ending at all. Same with Menace to Society.

What are they up to now?
The last year or so they’ve been developing a film version of a cult Japanese animated film Akira but last we heard they left that project. [Added 6/27 – earlier today SlashFilm reported that Allen Hughes is developing a noir film called Broken City with Mark Wahlberg.]

..4. The Scott Brothers

– Ridley and Tony Scott are the directing brothers I’m most familiar with and have seen a lot of their movies. The English film directors are seven years apart in age, raised in an Army family and both attended the Royal College of Art. In 1968, Ridley and Tony Scott founded Ridley Scott Associates (RSA), a film and commercial production company, and you could say they’re two of the most prominent British directors working today.

I like Sir Ridley‘s work much more than his younger brother Tony’s though, as Gladiator is one of my favorite movies of all time and Blade Runner is one of my favorite sci-fis. I’ve dedicated a post for Ridley’s ultra-prolific work, at 74 years old he hasn’t shown any sign of slowing down. Out of Tony Scott‘s work, my favorite is Spy Game (Honorable mention: Top Gun as it was the coolest thing when I saw it back in high school!)

Ted – These two bros. have never co-directed a film but they’ve produced a lot of films together. I think most people will agree with me that Ridley Scott is the more talented one. Below are my favorite films from each brother:

Ridley Scott: Blade Runner, Gladiator, Black Rain, Black Hawk Down and American Gangster. You’re probably wondering why I didn’t include Alien right? Well to be honest with you, I didn’t like that film at all, I thought it was well made but I just didn’t find it to be scary or thrilling. Just my opinion of course.

Tony Scott: Enemy of the State, True Romance, Revenge and The Last Boy Scout. Tony Scott‘s last few films were pretty awful in my opinion.

What are they up to now?
Ridley Scott is currently filming Prometheus, an alien sci-fi thriller starring Michael Fassbender, Idris Elba and Charlize Theron.

Tony Scott He was set to develop Emma’s War, about an expatriate British foreign aid worker in Sudan who married guerrilla leader Riek Machar, but according to Wiki, the family objected to a film based on the book so the project is delayed. He’s now set to direct Top Gun 2, but no news yet whether Tom Cruise will reprise his role as Maverick.

..5. The Wachowskis [formerly Wachowski Brothers]

Born in Chicago as Laurence (Larry) and Andy Wachowski, Larry had a sex change a few years ago and changed his name to Lana. So now the duo is known as The Wachowskis. I admire two of their work: The Matrix (read my review), easily one of the best and most innovative sci-fi thrillers out there, and V for Vendetta, mainly for Hugo Weaving’s charismatic performance.

Ted –  The last film I saw from these two was The Matrix Revolutions and I want to imagine that the film never existed, in fact I’d like to think the two sequels to the original Matrix never existed. I might give Speed Racer a rent someday. My favorite movies from the Wachowskis: Bound and The Matrix

What are they up to now?
They’re currently developing Cloud Atlas as I’ve talked about last week.


Brothers Strause
Greg and Colin Strause are the Illinois-born directors who got their start in directing music video/commercials. Their recent feature films are AVPR: Aliens vs Predator – Requiem and Skyline. Reportedly, they’re currently developing another sci-fi fantasy action, War of the Ages.

Sources: IMDb and Wikipedia

Any thoughts on any of these directing duos? Please share your favorite movie(s) from these directing siblings or let us know which ones we’re missing.

37 thoughts on “Five Notable Directing Siblings Working in Hollywood Today

  1. Speaking of Book of Eli, i didn’t know MIla was in the main female role until like a year after watching it

    I might try to check out some of the Hughes brothers work tho

    1. Ted S.

      Start with Menace to Society, it came out a couple of years after Boyz n the Hood and was ignored by everyone. I thought it’s much better than Boyz.

        1. Ted S.

          Yeah I liked Boyz N the Hood too when I first saw it but when I saw Menace to Society, I was like holy sh*t. It’s much more brutal and honest than Boyz, of course that’s just my opinion since I’ve never lived in the “hood”, but I thought the Hughes showed a more “realistic” take on the life of the kids in that area.

    2. @Julian, I was a bit dismissive when I first saw Mila being cast in ‘Eli’ but she turns out to be quite good in it. Jennifer Beals is good in it, too as her mother.

  2. Vince

    One of my favorite brother-directors are Mark and Michael Polish. They made a really great film a few years ago called Twin Falls Idaho. Worth checking out.

  3. We can now throw Ben and Casey Affleck into the mix though I have yet to see the younger brother’s directorial debut “I’m Still Here” with Joaquin Phoenix.

    1. Ah right, the Afflecks. I forgot that Casey did ‘I’m Still Here’ but I don’t consider him notable yet until we see at least one feature film 🙂

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  5. Violent ‘ From Hell’ might be, but it’s small potatoes compared to the graphic novel. TRUST ME.

    Ruth, have you seen any of the Coens’ comedies? You might like ‘Raising Arizona’ or ‘O Brother Where Art Thou.’

    1. Hi Rich, I did see ‘O Brother’ but for whatever reason I couldn’t remember much about it. I might give Raising Arizona a try one of these days. I forgot to mention Miller’s Crossing which I think it good, but that’s ’cause I love Gabriel Byrne.

  6. I must admit I don’t like any of these directors. With the exception of some Ridley Scott’s flicks. And I’ve never even heard of the Hughes brothers. I much prefer sibling/related actors and actresses 🙂

    1. There are quite a few actor/actress siblings in Hollywood, that’s a good idea Dezzy, maybe one day I’ll make a top ten list of them 🙂

    1. Ted S.

      So Fitz you didn’t like any of their work at all, not even Menace to Society and Dead Presidents? I thought those two films were quite underrated.

  7. This is a fantastic post Ruth and Ted! What a great idea. I am glad you have the Scotts on this list! they are my fav on your list by far. I would like to see them do a film together, and hopefully Ridley wouldn’t let Tony use that “shake-cam” of his! haha

    Still not a big Coen Bro’s fan. yet. Like you Ruth, I like very little of their work.

    1. Ted S.

      Thanks Scarlet, yeah I can’t stand Tony Scott’s style of shooting his films the last few years. But it would be nice to see Scott Bros. co-directing a film.

    2. Thank you T, can’t believe it’s been sitting in my draft folder for a year. I have a whole bunch of unfinished staff on there that I really should try to finish soon.

      I feel guilty sometimes that I’m not much of a Coens fan as I’m from MN, ahah, but what can you do?

  8. You know, I thought Book of Eli was just very poor. Interesting concept, just I was so bored by the end…

    I had a huge love affair with the Coens a few years back and this meant me buying all of their films to get a collection. I got over it and I am much better now. Although I do still love their early stuff!!


    1. Yeah, the pace could’ve been a lot more energetic but I like it overall.

      Glad to hear about your love for the Coens, what’s your fave from their early stuff?

  9. I wonder why they dropped the ‘brothers’ bit? I respected them until V for Vendetta, thoug I really should give it a second chance before condemning it utterly. It was cool to like the Coens when I was at Uni but now everyone likes them… its even cooler 🙂

  10. Jack Deth

    Hi, Ruth and company:

    I’ve been a fan of the Coen brothers since ‘Blood Simple’. Still think their best work is it and ‘Miller’s Crossing’. For ‘funny’ their ‘Raising Arizona’ and ‘The Big Lebowski’ are hard to top, Though I’ve seen it several times, Outside of being America’s first foreign language film. I don’t get ‘Fargo’

    Haven’t paid that much attention to the Farrelly or Hughes brothers, while Sir Ridley seems to have sewn up heavy contenders in the blockbuster arena. I’m with Ted and his opinion of ‘Alien’. A great looking film to be sure, but done much more compactly and cheaply with ‘It! The Terror From Beyond Space’ done two decades earlier. While Tony’s big screen offering have left have left many wanting and better suited for television.

    The Wachowski made their mark with ‘Bound’ and splashed upon the scene with ‘The Matrix’ and its many lesser variations. Though I admired Hugo Weaving’s work in them and ‘V for Vendetta’. I didn’t like that the concept and initial message of Alan Moore’s graphic novel upon which it was based was stood on its head and turned 180 degrees out.

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  12. Great list! Too bad there are no women on the list … the closest I can think of would be Delia and Nora Ephron but their talent is with writing and their stuff is comparatively lighter. Wonder why that is?

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