Directors Who Pulled a Todd Phillips and Successfully Transitioned From Comedy to Drama (And Vice Versa)

For a while, director Todd Phillips’ job was making audiences laugh manically with films like The Hangover and Old School. His upcoming film, Joker, is a dramatic pivot of his entire filmography. Harkening back to twisted character studies of the ’70s and ’80s (Taxi Driver, A Clockwork Orange, etc.), Joker pulls the curtain back on laughter. While most filmmakers tend to stay in their lane or genre, Phillips has now successfully dabbled in both comedy and drama. Crossing the fine line between the two requires an understanding of how to manipulate their intertwined relationship; what is funny is often true. With the amount of hype surrounding Joker, Phillips seems to have proven himself to be the proverbial crying clown. In the midst of this, it only makes sense to look back on the careers of some other directors who have made us both laugh and cry.

Cover Photo: Warner Bros.

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