But there’s more to these actors’ newfound “multi-hyphenate” status: it’s a sign that a new mood is creeping into Hollywood – one that has a fighting chance of revolutionising the industry. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. In itself, the decision to veer away from acting is a bold one for Gordon-Levitt and co. They’re all rising stars. They’re all pin-ups. And they’re all respected by critics. None has trouble landing roles in dramas, comedies or action movies – and they’re all graduating to the leading-man phase of their careers. If their ambitions were more conventional, this would be the moment for them to make friends with Paul Thomas Anderson and Martin Scorsese, and to swagger from one Oscar-baiting role to another.
Instead, they’re doing what Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Will Smith and Leonardo DiCaprio never did. They’re making their own films – and they’re not doing a bad job. […]
Writing and directing, then, are just part of the story. We are seeing a wave of actors, who could easily milk the Hollywood status quo, choosing to seize the means of production – and hand them on to others. They’re pushing the film industry towards a more diverse, democratic, independent future. When your local multiplex is showing the next dose of The Fast and the Furious, you may feel that future can’t come soon enough.