I have couple, possibly more coming, but I’ll start with Richard Linklater and Ridley Scott (though I wish he would make another science fiction film, as those two were his best).
Herzog is pretty versatile. Lynch was versatile when he made The Straight Story.
Stephen Frears can do comedy, drama, thrillers, romance, modern, period…. he’s pretty good.
Howard Hawks, then Billy Wilder, then John Huston.
Scorsese is no slouch, nor is Phillip Kaufman.
Trainspotting (addiction), Sunshine (sci-fi), 28 Days Later (zombies), Millions (family), Slumdog Millionaire (love story). Danny Boyle’s my guy for versatility. He works in a number of different genres and graces them with a style that’s all his own. Kubrick is the obvious choice for all-time directors but I think Boyle is the closest thing to him working right now.
I strongly second Huston and Wilder, Doctor Lemonglow, and add Louis Malle and Francois Truffaut.
These were directors who were always attracted to SCRIPTS and the stories they tell above all else. Sometimes they wrote/adapted the scripts themselves (Wilder, Truffaut … the Coens, certainly, too), oftentimes not (Huston, Malle). But, if not classifiable as “Writers’ Directors,” they all are untouchable STORY directors.
And, from them, just look at all we got!
Oh, hell, let’s throw Kubrick in, too!
Hawks is really a great choice. Fuller’s kind of versatile too — no one but Mann did equally great noirs, war films and westerns.
Danny Boyle and Ang Lee. Darron Aronofsky is up there to (considering Pi, Requiem for a Dream, the Fountain, and the Wrestler are all vastly different films about completely different subjects)
Scorcese for sure. It’s hard to believe he did Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, which inspired the 70s sitcom Alice. I watch those waitresses and Flo saying “Kiss my grits,” and find it hard to believe it’s all because of Marty. John Huston adpated all his movies from books, so I’m not sure I would go with him, as brilliant a director as he was, he did kind of narrow his scope. Stephen Frears definitely.
I always thought sydney pollack was a great craftsman. He seems to do well with most things thrown in front of him. He doesnt get much credit for his work either. Ill also go with peter weir.
John Huston-Noir, Westerns, Comedy, Musicals,literary adaptations, war films, thrillers, Drama-he touched upon pretty much every area.
id say rob reiner…….ummm scorcese……….and cause im lame Spielberg too
War, historic epic, terror, psicological futurism: Kubrick, whose entirely career is well know (and, err, finished) is an obvious choice. So is Billy Wilder, with soft comedy, journalism drama, alcoholism, Hollywood backstage, crime and punishment, et al. I think in both cases not just the scenarios are always different, but the storytellign’ itself changes from film to film, and this is what makes a “versatile” director.
That said, looks like since the late 80s Scorcese makes man’s stories his themes. Specially in his most know films since the late 80s and still today (think of Raging Bull and After Hours to The Aviator and The Departed). The core is always the same: man or mans with strong personalities and their influence on the world around then. So is Truffaut: all his movies are somehow about love, love between a man and a woman, love for the cinema, a child’s love lost. And Aronofsky? He still has a lot to prove, I think.
Yeah I agree with ‘Jay’ and ‘Lubita77’ about Kubrick. Sidney Lumet and Robert Altman.
No one will ever be as versatile as the old school hollywood directors, and not for the fact that they chose to be it was the fact that in the beginning they were just told what to direct because they worked for the studio… but I agree with Kubrick and Boyle (although not all of his movies are AMAZING, he is for sure very versatile). Possibilities: Ang Lee? I also have to say that as I think about it, versatility can be fantastic but it’s not a necessary trait for an amazing director, as long as his nitch is further developed in each subsequent film? yeah?
howard hawks and billy wilder
William Wyler, John Houston, Steven Speilberg
Lars Von Trier because every movie he makes is pretty much different from the one before. Louis Malle because the bastard’s done it all. Sam Raimi’s pretty good, too if you think about it. Takashi Miike.
I was just thinking about Kubrick and Boyle in these regards a few weeks ago after watching SUNSHINE, so I’ll third them.
robert wise. he made iconic films noir, sci-fi, horror, musical. and was a brilliant editor in the early hollywood days.
I put my money on Danny Boyle. Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, 28 Days Later, Slumdog Millionaire and Sunshine are all in their respective genres ace movies. When it comes to The Beach and A Life Less Ordinary I think the less mentioned the better.
Definately Hawks and Sidney Lumet. Anthony Mann made many great film noirs, Westerns, and historical epics.
It depends on what is intended for “versatile”…
If you mean someone who could direct just “every kind of film”, then Stanley Kubrick is the guy you’re looking for!
I’d put Kubrick and Danny Boyle on the list. Kurosawa too. And while I concur with Steve above that John Huston did cover the gamut in genres, he still adapted all of his films from novels, which I have a hard time with because most of the work is already prepared for you. Perhaps I’m being too anal.
Michael Winterbottom: great TV, great films, drama & comedy & doc & pseudo-doc, period films & contemporary stuff & sci-fi…Topical, whimsical—What hasn’t he done, yet, and done damned well?
Andrei Tarkovsky, he didn’t even believe that film genre’s should exist.
One of the most versatile directors working today (both in style and story) is Hirokazu Kore-eda. I would have to think his working on Television documentaries would be a big part of this.