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The 21 Biggest Actor-Director Pairings to Get Excited About in 2023

Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio reunite for "Killers of the Flower Moon." Plus Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie unleash "Barbie"; Cillian Murphy finally gets a starring role in a Christopher Nolan film; and more.

Exciting Actor Director Pairings for 2023

(Clockwise from bottom left): Adele Lim and Stephanie Hsu; Martin Scorsese and Leo DiCaprio; Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie; Ari Aster and Joaquin Phoenix(s)

Courtesy Everett Collection/Getty Images

Plenty of filmmakers have likened finishing a movie to pulling off a miracle. The desire to realize a shared vision somehow drives a film’s cast and crew to not only do their best individual work, but to bring out the best possible performances in each other. No relationship exemplifies the importance of that dynamic quite like the bond between the most effective actor-director duos.

From Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks to Quentin Tarantino and Samuel L. Jackson, directors and actors who work well together tend to do so a lot. They hone their communication style and understanding of each other’s respective artistry, and repeatedly apply that knowledge as their films improve with time (you know, theoretically). That’s what makes the return of Leonardo DiCaprio to the Martin Scorsese filmography in this year’s “Killers of the Flower Moon,” his first film with Scorsese in 10 years, so exciting.

In 2023, the longtime “Gangs of New York” collaborators are among a laundry list of filmmaking teams set to release new projects: many of them with the year’s most exciting premises. Joaquin Phoenix will take on the title roles for both Ari Aster’s third horror feature “Beau Is Afraid” and Ridley Scott’s “Napoleon” biopic. Adam Driver is just as a busy, starring in Michael Mann’s Enzo Ferrari biopic as well as the directorial debut of “A Quiet Place” co-writers Scott Beck and Bryan Woods.

“Crazy Rich Asians” screenwriter Adele Lim makes her directorial debut with “Everything Everywhere All at Once” star Stephanie Hsu in an untitled comedy. Greta Gerwig and “Barbie” producer/star Margot Robbie are bringing Mattel’s toy icon — and those fabulous rollerskating outfits — to theaters soon too. Plus, Michael B. Jordan is directing himself for “Creed III”: his directorial debut and second sequel for the “Rocky” spinoff franchise.

When IndieWire’s Samantha Bergeson curated actor-director pairs to look out for in 2022, she picked some doozies. There’s the good kind: see Baz Luhrmann, Austin Butler, and the Academy Award nominated “Elvis.” But also the other kind: see Olivia Wilde, Florence Pugh, and the borderline disastrous “Don’t Worry Darling.” For better or worse, these are the actor-director pairs we’re putting the most pressure on this year.

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