Emmys: Directing Category Thrown Open by Series Stars Stepping Behind the Camera for First Time

it’s not uncommon for actors to want to stretch their creative muscles and be taken more seriously on the business side of things as their careers grow to new heights. Many actors, from those who started in the business as children, including Fred Savage, Jason Bateman and Matt Shakman, to the likes of Zach Braff and Tony Goldwyn, took the initiative to establish themselves as directors in order to increase their chances at career longevity. This television season, Jesse Williams, Alex O’Loughlin, Justin Baldoni, Jussie Smollett and Ben Feldman are among the actors that took advantage of the relationships they cultivated while acting on their shows to sit in the director’s chair for the first time, joined by Kerry Washington, Gina Rodriguez and others on the actress side.

“I want to pursue directing full force, but I’m also blessed to have really started with my family,” says Smollett. “To do it with ‘Empire,’ they’re rooting for me, I’m not getting on that set with anybody saying, ‘Oh let’s see what this loser has.’ They want me to succeed because they want the show to succeed.”

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