5 Hollywood directors who got their start in music videos

By Nicole Carrington

From shaping the 90’s alt-rock scene to forging lasting friendships with rap royalty, some of Hollywood’s biggest filmmakers have one surprising thing in common: they got their start directing music’s most iconic videos.

Spike Jonze, for example, honed his skills as the man behind Beastie Boys’ "Sabotage," Weezer’s "Buddy Holly", Björk's "It’s Oh So Quiet" and Fatboy Slim’s "Praise You," only to later make himself a household name with feature films including Being John Malkovich and the 2013 Oscar winner Her.

Spike Jonze, of Her fame, got his start working with the Beastie Boys and Fatboy Slim. Photo: © Getty Images

From Madonna’s legendary "Vogue" to "Janie’s Got a Gun" by rock icons Aerosmith, David Fincher’s filmmaking skills have left an indelible print on pop culture. Fincher went on to leave his mark on Hollywood with the cult classic Se7en, 1999’s Fight Club, starring Brad Pitt, and last year’s mega hit Gone Girl.

French filmmaker Michel Gondry’s creative talents famously lent themselves to multiple collaborations with Björk, Daft Punk, The White Stripes and Radiohead, eventually paving the way for the director to bring home an Oscar for the Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet classic Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

Former music video director Michel Gondry also captained the 2004 romantic drama Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Photo: © Focus Features

Meanwhile, action maverick Michael Bay has come a long way since helming music videos for '90s rapper Vanilla Ice. The Transformersmastermind has gone on to direct megastars including Will Smith, Ben Affleck and Megan Fox in some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters.

This year, hip-hop’s go-to director, F. Gary Gray – who's worked with the genre’s grandmasters Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Outkast and Jay Z – is making a triumphant return to the big screen (and reuniting with old friends) with the highest grossing R-rated film in August history, this summer’s Straight Outta Compton. He also gained several accolades for his work directing Edward Norton, Charlize Theron and Mark Wahlberg in 2003’s The Italian Job.


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