Press "Enter" to skip to content

10 Influential Directors Whose Children Followed in Their Footsteps

There are plenty of careers where it is perfectly normal to join the “family business”, but Hollywood seems to be well-versed in the children of celebrities entering the entertainment workforce. The term “nepo-baby” has become synonymous online lately with these celebrity children who seemingly have a leg up in the industry because of their parental connections. The people in this group range from Jamie Lee Curtis of Halloween to Jack Quaid of The Boys.

Most of the public discourse on this topic seems to center on the people who have become actors. Truth be told, there is plenty of talent behind the camera that has ties to the Hollywood elite. Numerous celebrity children have gone onto becoming producers, studio executives, writers and even directors.

But it takes more than just a celebrity connection to lead a production on set as a director. Being a director is one of the most difficult and painstaking jobs in the industry — requiring focus, attention to detail and personal skills. And there is certainly a phenomenon of the children of directors following in the footsteps of their parents and becoming directors themselves.

With Brandon Cronenberg’s (yes, related to that Cronenberg) Infinity Pool coming to theaters soon, we thought we would run down some of the most successful directors to have come from directing families.

Related: A Look into the “Nepo-Baby” Conversation Dominating Hollywood

First up, a director who has joined a very specific family business – the body horror extravaganza. Brandon Cronenberg is the son of iconic horror director David Cronenberg, director of Crimes of the Future. Brandon started his directing journey in 2008 with the short film Broken Tulips. He moved onto directing his first feature film Anti-Viral in 2012 and followed that up with 2020 drive-in hit Possessor.

His latest film, Infinity Pool, starring Alexander Skarsgård, Mia Goth and Cleopatra Coleman, is about a man who commits a crime and can either be sentenced to death or build a double of himself to accept the death penalty in his place, premieres on February 27th. And judging from the color palate and content, it could be Brandon Cronenberg’s ode to a genre his father helped to define.

Who knew that the star of The Village and Jurassic World would go onto being one of the most indelible directors in the Star Wars pantheon? Bryce Dallas Howard, daughter of legendary director Ron Howard (himself an actor originally), has garnered acclaim for her direction of The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett. Fans have praised Howard’s direction and handling of the Star Wars universe and hope for her involvement to continue in the future.

Though she has primarily directed for hour long television, Howard’s next project in the Director’s chair is slated to be a feature length remake of the 80s classic Flight of the Navigator for Disney+.

Another actor with a highly recognizable last name. Son of actor Tom Hanks, who himself directed the 1996 film That Thing You Do!, Colin Hanks threw us a curveball by directing the 2015 film All Things Must Pass: The Rise and Fall of Tower Records, a documentary reflecting on the untimely demise of the beloved record store. He followed this up with the 2017 documentary Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis which tells the story of the tragic the shooting at a Paris music venue during an Eagles of Death Metal concert.

While Colin Hanks has been busy acting, he has also been working on a new documentary (with Ryan Reynolds) following the life of actor John Candy. He has also stated that he has a vested interest in expanding beyond documentary features and moving into narrative storytelling at some point in his career.

Initially reluctant to live in his father’s shadow, Goro Miyazaki was a landscaper for many years before joining the team at Studio Ghibli. Of course his father is animation master Hayao Miyazaki, the director behind Spirited Away. But that didn’t stop Goro from forging his own path.

Goro Miyazaki’s first film was 2006’s Tales From Earthsea, which his notoriously tough father enjoyed. Goro followed Earthsea up with 2007’s From Up on Poppy Hill and 2020’s Earwig and the Witch. Goro has not announced his next film, but his father’s highly anticipated return to the big screen, How Do You Live?, is set for a 2023 release

The late Ivan Reitman had quite the miracle run in the early part of his career. From being a Producer on Animal House to directing Stripes and Ghostbusters back to back, he created a template for the modern American comedy.

But having a totemic father didn’t stop Jason Reitman from re-defining American comedy with his 2007 film Juno. Previously directing the satire Thank You For Smoking, Reitman blew the lid off of the indy dramady scene with his direction of Diablo Cody’s script. Reitman went on to direct several films and garnering four Academy Award nominations. His most recent film was 2021’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Reitman is currently busy at work expanding the Ghostbusters universe and is also developing a project with his old collaborator Diablo Cody with HBO.

In 2003’s biopic Baadasssss!, director Mario Van Peebles starred as his father director Melvin Van Peebles. Talk about subversion. But that’s what transgressive filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles was known for in the 1970s with his blaxploitation films like Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song.

Mario Van Peebles started his career as an actor before his first foray into feature filmmaking with 1991’s New Jack City. From there, he has had a successful, long-running career that has lasted over 20 years. Of his several projects, dozens of television shows and features, he recently directed several episodes of CSI: Vegas.

The ultimate example of “one for them one for me”, actor/director John Cassavetes reinvigorated American cinema with his low-fi, naturalistic approach to directing, so it might come as a surprise that his son Nick Cassavetes learned from his father and helmed one of the most successful romance films of all time…The Notebook.

Nick Cassavetes directorial debut was 1996’s Unhook the Stars starring his mother Gina Rowlands. From there, he went on to write and direct several films including My Sister’s Keeper and Yellow. He is currently in post-production for his latest feature God is a Bullet starring Jamie Foxx.

Related: Every Nick Cassavetes Movie, Ranked



Spread the love