Later this week, the mystery thriller The Gift arrives in theaters. Aside from getting fantastic reviews, the film also marks the feature directorial debut of actor Joel Edgerton. He’s helmed at couple of shorts, but this is his first go round in the big chair for a full-length movie. (Edgerton also wrote the script, but has more of a history with that side of things, including coming up with the story for the 2014 post-apocalyptic joint The Rover.)

With this release, Edgerton joins the long list of actors who have moved from in front of the camera to behind. As The Gift is getting high marks from critics (our own review gave the film four out of five stars) and looks like it’s going to wind up being well regarded, we thought we’d take the opportunity to look back and examine the directorial debut of some other actors who killed it their first time out of the gate.

Hanks
Tom Hanks—That Thing You Do
After starting out in comedies like Bosom Buddies, Bachelor Party, and Splash, Tom Hanks went on to become one of the most celebrated actors in Hollywood. With multiple Oscars in his trophy case, just adding his name to your movie increases the prestige factor a few degrees. In 1996, he made his feature directorial debut with That Thing You Do (which he also wrote). Following a small town band on the road to success in the 1960s, the film turns a critical and satirical eye on show business, wrapped up in a light and fluffy story about friendship, and Hanks manages to skirt cliché and deliver a sweet, delightful debut. He only has one other directorial feature to his name, 2011’s modestly received Larry Crowne.

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