Patty Jenkins Told Chris Pine to Try Directing: ‘You Gotta Do Something Besides Wait in Your Trailer’

Pine needed some encouragement from his "Wonder Woman" director before he stepped behind the camera.
Patty Jenkins and Chris Pine
Patty Jenkins and Chris Pine
Getty Images

2023 is shaping up to be a very big year for Chris Pine. This month, “Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” — an adaptation of the popular role playing game that he produced and stars in — is set to open SXSW. Then later this year he’ll release his directorial debut “Poolman,” a noir comedy where he plays — you guessed it — a man who cleans pools.

The project marks a major creative step for the longtime action star — and he couldn’t have done it without his “Wonder Woman” director. In a new interview with Esquire, Pine explained that he decided to try directing after Patty Jenkins suggested it to him.

“She said it felt to her like I was really bored,” Pine said. “That maybe I felt uninspired, that I was doing the same old shtick.”

Jenkins had a similar recollection of the advice she gave Pine: “You gotta do something else on these tentpoles besides wait in your trailer,” she said.

The “Wonder Woman” director went on to speculate that Pine’s experience watching his actor father survive on one-off television roles as a child made him hesitant to take on more ambitious projects for himself.

“That’s what Chris thought being an actor was,” she said. “So it’s uncomfortable to step out of that into being, A, a huge movie star but then, B, going even further, to be a grand artist. There’s something for Chris about being content with the space he’s occupied in his career—I’m a journeyman actor, I’m just happy to be here—that Chris very much can’t stop applying to himself. There’s always a part of him that’s like, I’m lucky to be offered anything.”

Pine seemed to echo that sentiment, explaining that it took him a while to see himself as something bigger than an actor hustling for gigs. Now that he’s more comfortable pursuing interesting work, he’s excited to see where his creative development takes him.

“It’s been mapped onto me since I was twenty-one, twenty-two years old,” he said. “For a long time, you just embody it, until you’ve been in the business long enough and things start to shift. For a long time, I felt like the clothes were wearing me, but I was a good enough mimic to pull it off. Then you start kind of molding these characters to you, and people start seeing what you’re doing, and maybe even shifting the archetypes to really fit who you are.”

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