David Lynch’s The Straight Story and 9 Other Times a Director Left His Comfort Zone


It’s hard enough for a director to define their own unique cinematic style and visual hallmarks, but once they’ve done so, they face the even tougher challenge of avoiding getting stuck in their ways.

RELATED: 10 Great Directors Who Deserve To Be In IMDb’s Top 250 (But They’re Not)

David Lynch, best known for directing surreal, ambiguous and supernatural mysteries such as Blue velvet Y Mulholland Drive, stepped out of his comfort zone to lead The straight story, a biopic of a man driving across the country on a lawnmower. While this is a particularly wild departure from a filmmaker’s usual style, Lynch is not the first or the last director to creatively challenge themselves.

10 The Straight Story (David Lynch, 1999)

David Lynch’s ongoing film study of quirky characters in American culture strangely made him the perfect choice to tell the story of Alvin Straight, who drove 240 miles on a lawnmower to visit his sick brother.

While The straight story Not the only time Lynch has stepped out of his wheelhouse – sobering biopic The elephant Man and gonzo road trip Wild at heart are two other great examples: arguably the furthest you’ve gotten out of your comfort zone.

9 School of Rock (Richard Linklater, 2003)

Jack Black in School of Rock

From stoner hard-R comedies like Dazed and confused to romantic dramas like him Before trilogy, Richard Linklater usually makes adult films. But in 2003, he teamed up with Jack Black for the family musical comedy. School of Rock.

Black plays Dewey Finn, an aspiring rocker who has been kicked out of his own band, works his way into a substitute teacher job and starts a new band with his musically talented students.

8 Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson, 2008)

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Wes Anderson had only directed live action movies, including classics like Rushmore Y The Royal Tenenbaums, when he was chosen to direct a stop-motion animated adaptation of Roald Dahl Fantastic Mr. Fox.

RELATED: Bottle Rocket: 10 Ways It Established Wes Anderson’s Style

Anderson’s work with animation in Fantastic Mr. Fox ended up influencing his live action work as there are a lot of cartoonish moments and in-camera editing in Moonrise kingdom Y The Grand Budapest Hotel.

7 Ed Wood (Tim Burton, 1994)

Ed Wood next to the camera

Tim Burton is primarily known for directing grim and gothic fantasy films such as Eduardo scissorhands, Corpse Bride, Y Beetle juice. But in 1994, he shot a black-and-white biopic of director Ed Wood.

Class B schlocky films made of wood like Plan 9 from outer spaceBut what sets him apart, and what Burton captures in this movie, is that he envisioned himself as a great artist.

6 Once upon a time in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, 2019)

Quentin Tarantino’s penchant for graphic violence and tribute-based storytelling has made him a perfect candidate for genre cinema. But he left behind most of the hallmarks of his style established with his most recent film, Once upon a time in hollywood.

RELATED: 10 Ways Once Upon A Time In Hollywood Broke Tarantino’s Mold

There is a lot of violence in Once upon a time in hollywood, but everything is saved for the spectacular finale. It is not a genre film; For the most part, it’s a reunion movie depicting a day in the life of a Western television actor, his stunt double, and movie star Sharon Tate.

5 Inside Man (Spike Lee, 2006)

Spike Lee is not a Hollywood director. Since Do the right thing to Malcolm x to BlacKkKlansmanLee is more interested in exploring social issues than offering popcorn thrills.

But in 2006, Lee put social issues in the backseat and made an all-out heist thriller. Man inside stars Denzel Washington as a detective trying to crack a bank robbery set up by a criminal mastermind played by Clive Owen.

4 Mr. and Mrs. Smith (Alfred Hitchcock, 1941)

The genre Alfred Hitchcock is most commonly associated with is thriller, having directed such masterpieces as Psychopath, Rear window, Y north by northwest. The highest compliment a suspense thriller can receive is “Hitchcockian.”

In 1941, Hitchcock stepped out of his wheelhouse to direct the wacky comedy. Mr and Mrs Smith starring Carole Lombard and Robert Montgomery.

3 Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011)

Asa Butterfield and Chloe Moretz in Hugo

Possibly the greatest filmmaker alive, Martin Scorsese is best known for directing decidedly adult-oriented crime films. Goodfellas has one of the highest F-bomb counts in movie history and The Wolf of Wall Street is a relentless barrage of nudity and drug use.

RELATED: How Mean Streets Established Scorsese’s Style

In 2011, Scorsese left his established style behind to direct a 3D children’s film called Hugo, set in a Paris train station in the 1930s.

two Once upon a time in America (Sergio Leone, 1984)

Once Upon a Time in America by Sergio Leone

Thanks to Dollars trilogy, Sergio Leone was hailed as one of the greatest Western directors of all time. Then The good, the bad and the ugly, Leone planned to withdraw from the genre and make a gangster movie in New York called Once upon a time in america.

However, due to popular demand, he was drawn back to the western genre to direct. Once upon a time in the west Y Get down, you idiot! before finally getting to direct his criminal epic.

1 Alphaville (Jean-Luc Godard, 1965)

After his directorial debut Panting changed the face of cinema, Jean-Luc Godard stuck primarily to his experimental take on the crime genre, occasionally casting sobering human dramas to shake things up.

For his 1965 film Alphaville, Godard stepped out of his comfort zone. It is a dystopian sci-fi thriller about a secret agent sent to destroy a computer that controls people’s minds.

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