15 Hollywood Directors Who Cast Their Own Kids (PHOTOS)

Damarys Ocaña Perez | Aug 11, 2015 Movies

Many directors look far and wide for exactly the right actress or actor to play a part in their movies or television shows. Others discover the perfect candidate is sitting right across from them at the dinner table. The decision to cast their own kids in movie or television projects has both risks and rewards.

The upside: Chances are the directors already know if the actor is available, and they have a built-in rapport. The downside: Directors who cast their own kids are often accused of showing nepotism, helping to further the offspring's career without making them earn it. Here are 15 directors who took the chance and hired their sons and daughters for film and TV projects anyway.  


Image via Paramount Pictures

  • Clint & Francesca Eastwood


    Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

    Clint Eastwood's daughter, Francesca, didn't know her dad was famous until her teens, and even then, she wasn't interested in following in his Tinseltown footsteps. Everything changed when he asked her to be in his movie adaptation of the Broadway hit, Jersey Boys, in which she plays a waitress-turned-love interest (pictured).

  • Bruce & Gwyneth Paltrow


    Image via Buena Vista Pictures

    When Bruce Paltrow died in 2002, Gwyneth was understandably devastated. After all, the two were very close. She made her acting debut  in his movie High in 1989 and showcased her singing abilities in the road trip flick Duets, which was Bruce's last film before his death. The film featured -- what else -- a duet with Huey Lewis (pictured).

  • Ron & Bryce Dallas Howard


    Image @ SplashNews/Corbis

    Blink and you'll miss it: A young Bryce made her acting debut as an extra in dad Ron's comedy Parenthood (she played an excited kid in a crowd). She was also an extra on Apollo 13 and How the Grinch Stole Christmas, both of which were also directed by Howard. Years later in 2013, he asked Bryce to direct a short film as part of a collaboration with Canon titled "Project Imagin8ion."

  • Judd, Maude & Iris Apatow


    Image via YouTube

    Apatow is famous for boosting the careers of those in his circle, and that certainly includes his family, too. Daughters Maude and Iris (pictured) were featured in the comedy This is 40, which also, ahem, co-starred his wife, Leslie Mann. His trick for getting funny performances out of his kids was to play off their real-life sibling rivalry.

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  • John & Anjelica Huston


    Image via 20th Century Fox

    Legendary director John Huston found a muse in his striking daughter, Anjelica, whom he directed to an Oscar win for 1985's Prizzi's Honor (pictured)By then John already had cast her in several of his movies. She also starred in his last, The Dead, which was released posthumously.

  • Francis Ford Coppola & Sofia Coppola


    Image via Paramount Pictures

    Young Sofia Coppola already had small parts in the first two Godfather movies when her famous father asked her to play Michael Corleone's grown-up daughter, Maria, in The Godfather Part III (pictured). The gorgeous actress certainly looked the part, but critics described her performance as "wooden," and she became the poster child for nepotism -- until she resurfaced years later as an accomplished indie director in her own right. Today she's known for hits such as Lost in Translation and The Virgin Suicides.

  • Ernie & Blake Lively


    Image @ Jim Stark / Splash News

    Young Blake Lively's first onscreen role was as a pixie in her actor/writer dad Ernie's obscure fantasy flick, Sandman. Though she credits her actor parents for fueling her interest in the family business, her big break, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, was something she earned on her own.

  • Tim Robbins & Eva Amurri Martino


    Image @ Zumapress.com/ZUMAPress/Corbis

    What do you do when you're a director with a slot to fill and a cute kid at home? You put her in your movie -- or movies. When actor Tim Robbins got behind the camera, he brought his step-daughter, Eva Amurri Martino (then-partner Susan Sarandon's daughter), along for the ride. Consider her cameos in the political satire Bob Roberts and the death row drama Dead Man Walking her debut into an acting career of her own.

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  • Jules & Kristen Stewart


    Image via Twitter

    In Kristen Stewart's case, it was she who gave her mother a boost -- or at least an attempt at a boost. Jules Stewart's first directorial film, K-11, a widely panned transsexual prison drama, came out in 2012, by which time Kristen was already an established movie star. Kristen did a cameo in the film, but not even that could save it. 

  • Ivan & Jason Reitman


    Image via Columbia Pictures

    Ivan Reitman has directed his share of hits, including Ghostbusters, Twins, and Kindergarten Cop. His son, Jason, hasn't done too bad either, directing the Oscar-nominated Juno. But before junior got behind the camera, he was in front of it, playing bit roles in dad's movies, including the memorably bratty rich kid in Ghostbusters 2 (pictured). He loved to hang out on set, no doubt picking up tools of the trade. 

  • Alfred & Patricia Hitchcock


    Image via YouTube

    Alfred Hitchcock worked with so many big stars -- James Stwart, Cary Grant, and Grace Kelly, to name a few -- but it was his daughter, Patricia, who found her way into several of his films, including Strangers on a Train (pictured) and perhaps most memorably, Psycho. In the latter she played the friend to star Janet Leigh.

  • Matthew & Marten Holden Weiner


    Image via AMC

    Matthew Weiner, creator and occasional director of Mad Men, explained casting his son, Marten, as creepy Glen to NPR this way: "It was actually someone else's idea, and I was counseled against it from all the complications that could happen from him failing at that job. But he really nailed it. At the time, I remember someone saying to him, 'What's your favortie part about acting?' and he said, 'Eating lunch with my dad.'" Enough said.

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  • Kevin & Harley Quinn Smith


    Image via Abbolita Productions

    Kevin Smith kept it all in the family when he cast his daughter, Harley (left), alongside -- more nepotism alert! -- Johnny Depp and his daughter, Lily-Rose (right), in the comedy/horror film Yoga Hosers. Sounds like too much fun!  

  • Adam & Pearl McKay


    Image via YouTube

    Adam McKay directed his toddler daughter to social media stardom when he cast her as a potty-mouthed landlady in a Funny or Die video starring Will Ferrell and himself. How to follow that up? With a cameo in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, where she's part of a group of kids who tell off Ferrell's blubbering Ron Burgundy while he's giving a speech at SeaWorld.

  • Richard & Lorelei Linklater


    Image via IFC Films

    If your film will take 11 years to complete, how do you make sure that the cast will be around for the last take? One way to do that is to cast a family member for at least one part. That's what Richard Linklater did for Boyhood, which featured his daughter, Lorelei, as the main character's sister (pictured).

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