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Reunited: the best director and actor friendships in the movies #Dunkirk


When it comes to the day job, we all know that having friends during business makes work feel a little less boring. So while we may have a friend in the office, filmmakers have a pal on set to make their job a little more effortless.

Tom Hardy and Christopher Nolan must have bonded well when making Inception back in 2010, as Hardy returned to play Bane in the final of Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy The Dark Knight Rises.

This year, we’ll see them reunite for the third time in Dunkirk, a World War II drama based around the Dunkirk evacuations during May and June 1940. To celebrate, we have compiled a list of just some of the best actor/director friendships.

Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro

Work together: Mean Streets (1973), Taxi Driver (1976), New York, New York (1977), Raging Bull (1980), The King of Comedy (1982), Goodfellas (1990), Cape Fear (1991), Casino (1995), The Audition (2015), The Irishman (2018?)

With eight feature films, one short film and another feature film in the works, we assume Marty Scorsese and Robert De Niro get on pretty well.

Their films together mostly fall under the crime and action genre and any film fan has seen at least half of their films together. Scorsese has another frequent collaborator in Leonardo DiCaprio, which was used as the basis of the 2015 short film The Audition where Robert DeNiro and Leonardo DiCaprio audition for the next Scorsese flick.

Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg and Nick Frost

Work together: Spaced (1999), Shaun of the Dead (2004), Hot Fuzz (2007), The World’s End (2013)

It's bound to be an Edgar Wright film if both Simon Pegg and Nick Frost appear.

Back in the late 90s, Pegg and Jessica Hynes wrote the sitcom Spaced and Edgar Wright directed it. The series featured Nick Frost too, which is where the dream team began.

The three films above are part of the famous Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy, as a reference the different flavoured cornetto that appears in each film with the colours representing the genre (red/strawberry – horror, blue/original – police, green/mint – science fiction).

Wes Anderson and Bill Murray

Work together: Rushmore (1998), The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004), The Darjeeling Limited (2007), Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), Moonrise Kingdom (2012), The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014), Isle of Dogs (2017)

Seven of Anderson's movies have featured Murray so far, with another due this year titled Isle of Dogs. In an article with Rolling Stone, Wes Anderson said that he "always write[s] with Bill in mind", which is basically the equivalent of your friend texting you to tell you that they hope you’re having a nice day. It’s caring.

Sofia Coppola and Kirsten Dunst

Work together: The Virgin Suicides (1999), Marie Antoinette (2006), The Bling Ring (kind of) (2013), The Beguiled (2017)

Sofia Coppola has made six feature films so far in her career, four of which feature Kirsten Dunst (although her part in The Bling Ring is more of a cameo, as she appears as herself). Coppola has no doubt helped changed Dunst’s career, as she has been acting from a young age, providing her with interesting female roles that explore a range of different characters and situations such as playing the Marie Antoinette, to troubled teenager Lux in The Virgin Suicides.

Their most recent collaboration, sensual drama The Beguiled, was met with rapturous reviews at this year's Cannes Film Festival, and saw Coppola become just the second woman to win Best Director in the festival's history.

Quentin Tarantino and Samuel L. Jackson

Work together: Pulp Fiction (1994), Jackie Brown (1997), Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004), Inglourious Basterds (2009), Django Unchained (2012), The Hateful Eight (2015)

It wouldn’t be a list of actor and director friendships without these guys, who have made a total of six films together.

From his scene-stealing turn as scripture-quoting hitman Jules in Pulp Fiction to the narrator in Inglourious Basterds, Jackson clearly works brilliantly with the director. Some of Jackson’s most iconic films are Tarantino productions, so this is a friendship that we really, really love.

Matthew Vaughn and Mark Strong

Work together: Stardust (2007), Kick-Ass (2010), Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014), Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)

Whether he’s playing a bad guy mob boss in the adaptation of the comic book Kick-Ass, an evil prince in fantasy Stardust or the tech genius and spy trainer Merlin in Kingsman, Mark Strong is a keen favourite of British director Matthew Vaughn.

To play different types of characters each time, as well as to come back in a sequel like Kingsman: The Golden Circle, shows range not only for Strong but Vaughn too, so it must be nice to experience different genres and character types with each new film.

Of course, there are plenty more director and actor recurring collaborations, from early cinema to now. We all have our favourites, but we definitely can’t wait to see Nolan and Hardy reunited in July for Dunkirk.

Nadine Shambrook is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.