My top 10 inseperable actors and directors

Some directors seem to find an actor or actors that they love… and then work with them over and over again. I can imagine when you find someone you click with who gets your vision it must be hard not to just keep coming back to them. This week I’m sharing my top ten inseparable actors and directors… and yes, I know I have Scorsese twice.

Woody_Allen (1)Woody Allen and Diane Keaton
Number of collaborations: 8
Most notable collaboration: Annie Hall (1977)
Keaton and Allen were not only colleagues but also lovers, something which unsurprisingly played out in a lot of their films together.
Likelihood of them working together again: 2/10
Diane Keaton on Woody Allen:
“He had a great body. I was in love with him before I knew him. He was Woody Allen … He was so hip, with his thick glasses and cool suits.”  

will-ferrell-adam-mckay-23-7-10-kc Adam McKay and Will Ferrell
Number of collaborations: 5, with McKay as a director
Most notable collaboration: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004)
Whether you love or hate Ferrell, all of his funniest films were made with McKay at the helm. There’s no question that these two really get each other.
Likelihood of them working together again: 10/10
Will Ferrell on Adam McKay:
 “I selfishly want to only work with Adam and have him only work with me. Yet at the same time, I want other actors, other people to see. I don’t know if people really, truly know how good Adam McKay is.”

shameSteve McQueen and Michael Fassbender
Number of colloborations: 3
Most notable collaboration: 12 Years a Slave (2013)
Despite the fact that McQueen didn’t immediately like Fassbender, he launched his career and the two have been inseparable since.
Likelihood of them working together again: 8/10
Michael Fassbender on working with McQueen on Shame:
“So, together, we were experiencing a lot. I could see, on Steve’s face, the passion and wanting to get it right, and I wanted to get it right, too. We just formed a language, very quickly. When we started Shame, it was like we had just walked off the set of Hunger and onto that. We picked it up, immediately. It was amazing.”

'The Wolf of Wall Street' : Photocall At Cinema Gaumont Opera CapucinesMartin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio
Number of collaborations: 5
Most notable collaboration: The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Likelihood of them working together again: 5/10
Apparently Di Caprio idolised for Scorsese for years before he worked with him and practically begged him to work with him.
Leonardo DiCaprio on Martin Scorsese:
“As soon as I got the opportunity to finance a movie based on my own name, the only person on that list to be able to work with, at least only once, was Martin Scorsese. So I tracked down the only screenplay I knew had a character for me in it, and that was ‘Gangs of New York.’ ”

samuel-l-jackson-quentin-tarantino-getty-630-378Quentin Tarantino and Samuel L. Jackson
Number of collaborations: 5 (if you count Inglorious Basterds)
Most notable collaboration: Pulp Fiction (1994)
Likelihood of them working together again: 10/10
Tarantino loves to write OTT characters and Jackson loves playing them. Apparently the two are good friends off-screen as well.
Samuel L. Jackson on working with Quentin Tarantino on Django Unchained
“I would say that Quentin’s way is the way to reach a larger audience, and slavery seems to be another backdrop. We seldom understand that when people were out there shooting Indians or whatever, on the other side of the Mississippi  there were people getting beaten down. This is the first time those genres cross paths.”
Paul-Thomas-Anderson-Philip-Seymour-HoffmanPaul Thomas Anderson and Philip Seymour Hoffman
Number of collaborations: 5
Most notable collaboration: Boogie Nights (1997)
Likelihood of them working together again: Unfortunately, 0/10
Hoffman stated that he believed Anderson brought out the best in him as an actor and Anderson specifically wrote The Master for Hoffman.
Anderson on working with Hoffman on The Master:
“The biggest reason for this film, for me, was to make something with Phil that we built from the ground up. Like you said, we’d worked together before, and it was a couple weeks here, or ten days. It never felt satisfying enough. I wanted to work with him on a larger scale and in a deeper way. I would just start sharing pages with him and showing what I was up to. It was a great way to work.”

deppburtonTim Burton and Johnny Depp
Number of collaborations: 8
Most notable collaboration: Edward Scissorhands (1990)
Likelihood of them working together again: 6/10, their last few pairings have been less than stellar so it might be better if they don’t.
Depp and Burton are said to have made an instant connection based on similar childhoods. Since Burton regularly seems to cast Depp opposite his wife, one has to wonder if Burton secretly wishes he was Depp.
Tim Burton on Johnny Depp:
“It’s very nice to have someone that you can have a completely abstract conversation with and leave the room, feel like everything’s fine, and then realise that if you pick it apart, you have absolutely no idea what either of you said.”

de+niro+scorseseMartin Scorsese and Robert De Niro
Number of collaborations: 8
Most notable collaboration: Raging Bull (1980)
Likelihood of them working together again: 9/10
Scorsese and De Niro met through Brian De Palma and made a series of gritty crime dramas  that explored the dark side of the male psyche.
Martin Scorsese on Robert De Niro:
“And even now I still know of nobody who can surprise me on the screen the way he does — and did then. No actor comes to mind who can provide such power and excitement.

bill-murray-wes-andersonWes Anderson and Bill Murray
Number of collaborations: 7
Most notable collaboration: Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Likelihood of them working together again: 10/10
Anderson has several favourite actors but his connection with Bill Murray seems to be unbreakable. After working together on Rushmore, Anderson has featured Murray in every single film he has made.
Bill Murray on Wes Anderson:
“Sometimes, when you work with a director you know you not only may never see him again, sometimes you hope you never seen him again. And that goes for the director as well. They can’t wait for you to leave. They drive you to the airport to make sure you leave. That happens. With Wes, I’ve never gotten a ride to the airport. I’m just so happy with how Wes just gets better.”

nepotism-coens-590The Coen Brothers and Frances McDormand
Number of collaborations: 6
Most notable collaboration: Fargo (1996)
Likelihood of them working together again: 8/10
In 1985 McDormand, the Coen brothers, Holly Hunter and Sam Raimi shared a house, which is how she came to debut in their first film Blood Simple. She has been married to Joel Coen for thirty years, which probably helps to strengthen the connection.
Frances McDormand on Joel Coen:
“The one thing that hasn’t changed is trust. I trust him a lot.”


  1. MIB

    Good post. Interesting idea for a topic! 🙂

    If I had to choose mine it would probably be:

    DW Griffith & Lillian Gish
    Akira Kurosawa & Toshiro Mifune
    Yasujiro Ozu & Setsuko Hara
    Ingmar Bergman & either Liv Ullman or Max Von Sydow
    John Woo & Chow Yun Fat
    Johnnie To & Simon Yam
    Pedro Almodóvar & Penelope Cruz
    Zhang Yimou & Gong Li
    Yoshihiro Nakamura & Gaku Hamada
    Fritz Lang & Rudolf Klein-Rogge


    1. Abbi

      Thanks! Excellent list there. I did think about Almodovar and Cruz but she’s not my favourite. Lol!

      1. MIB

        Awww… 🙂 I did think about the others like Carmen Maura but I’ve not seen enough of her elsewhere to appreciate her work with Almodovar ! 😛

  2. Great list Abbi!

    YES Scorsese and DiCaprio ❤ they just work wonderfully together!

    YES to Tarantino and Jackson!

    So many great choices here!

    1. Abbi

      Thank-you! It would have been hard for Scorsese to top his partnership with De Niro but I think he’s done it with DiCaprio.

  3. Clever concept Abbi. I like the way you structured your choices too.

    1. Abbi

      Thanks so much! Glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Thank you endlessly for listing Fassbender and McQueen, all three collaborations are incomparable phenomenal :).

    1. Abbi

      They are a match made in movie heaven. I don’t think either would have had the incredible success they’ve had without the other.

  5. Fantastic list! Can’t keep out Murray & Anderson, PTA & PSH, Depp and Burton or both Scorseses. Mine would include Pedro Almodóvar and Penélope Cruz, as well as David Fincher and Brad Pitt and Chris Nolan with Christian Bale/Michael Caine.

    1. Abbi

      Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it. Some great picks there too!

  6. Wonderful post, Abbi. Entertaining and interesting. Fassbender and McQueen, Bill Murray and Wes Anderson and PSH with PTA are the pairings that I am glad for the most because the actors needed that particular director to make his career shine. No other.

    1. Abbi

      Thanks! I think you are right about those pairings. When they work together something special happens.

  7. I loved this list and found it interesting even though I knew the vast majority of them! I do have one slight disagreement though with your likelihood score of Queen and Fassbender! It should be a 10/10! He is already listed as the star of Queen’s next film and I cannot see them ever separating haha! It is love!

    1. Abbi

      Thanks! I didn’t pick that up in my research for some reason. I’ll update it.

  8. What a great list! Loved them all I found myself nodding happily in agreement to them all. My fave probably Tarantino and Jackson oh yeah baby!

    1. Abbi

      They’re a great combo. Looking forward to what they do next.

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