7 Filmmakers Who Directed a Scene in Someone Else's Movie

Occasionally, directors let other filmmakers (defined by IMDB as "people who have a significant degree of control over the creation of a movie: directors, producers, screenwriters, and editors") get in on the action during production. Here are seven examples.

1. Edgar Wright // Star Trek Into Darkness (dir. J.J. Abrams)

When Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright visited the Sony Studios set of Star Trek Into DarknessJ.J. Abrams invited him to direct one IMAX shot on the production's second unit, which was filming next door. "So I did," Wright tells mental_floss, "and was then late for my next meeting." His shot made up "about 32 frames of action in the finished movie," Wright says. "I did NOT shoot the whole scene, just one single set up of Klingons dying." Wright's shot appears in the action sequence that takes place on the planet Kronos in the Klingon Empire during Khan's capture and arrest.

2. Eli Roth // Inglourious Basterds (dir. Quentin Tarantino)

The climax of Inglourious Basterds features a Nazi propaganda film called Stolz der Nation ("Nation's Pride" in English). Horror director Eli Roth, who also played Sergeant Donny "The Bear Jew" Donowitz in Basterds, directed the film-within-a-film using the pseudonym Alois von Eichberg (You can see a short clip from the DVD extra "The Making of Nation's Pride," with Roth as von Eichberg, here).

While the short film's running time is around 6 minutes, it took three days to complete. "When Quentin cast me, I told him that for the whole six-month shoot, I wasn’t going back to L.A. at any point, but there’s going to be long stretches where my character’s not being used, so if you need anything shot, pieces of scenes picked up to [make] the Cannes Film Festival, let me know," Roth told the Wall Street Journal:

He said that he’d never done that before, but would think about it. Later, he called me and said, get your a– on a plane to Berlin, you’re going to make “Nation’s Pride.” In the script, there are three lines of dialogue from ["Nation's Pride"]. Quentin said he would shoot that, but I need shots of guys shooting. We only had two days, so I asked to fly out my brother Gabriel, and I promised him that we’d get it done, and in two days, we got 140 shots of 20 guys running around in vignettes.

Tarantino was so pleased with the results of those first two days that he gave Roth a third day to shoot with Daniel Brühl, who played Nazi sniper Zoller.

3. Terry Gilliam // Monty Python and the Meaning of Life (dir. Terry Jones)

Originally intended to be an animated sequence at the end of Part V of Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, Terry Gilliam convinced the comedy troupe to make "The Crimson Permanent Assurance" a live-action sequence instead. Gilliam made the sequence bigger and bigger, and its running time jumped from 6 minutes to a whopping 30 minutes. The director was able to cut the sequence down to 16 minutes, and it was ultimately placed in front of The Meaning of Life as its prologue.

4. Don Bluth // Xanadu (dir. Robert Greenwald)

During post-production on Xanadu in 1980, Electric Light Orchestra—which created music for the film—wanted Universal Pictures to incorporate "Don't Walk Away" into the musical. Although the studio agreed, there was no place to put it in the final version. So Xanadu producer Joel Silver brought animator Don Bluth and his producing partner Gary Goldman onto the project to create an animated fantasy sequence featuring "Don't Walk Away," which would bridge two scenes.

Universal gave Bluth—who was in the middle of directing the animated film The Secret of NIMH—12 weeks to animate the fantasy sequence. He took a small team to his house and for three months—12 hours a day, seven days a week—they animated the sequence in Bluth’s garage while the rest of his crew produced The Secret of NIMH at the studio.

5. Aaron Sorkin // The Social Network (dir. David Fincher)

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On the last day of shooting on The Social Network, director David Fincher left the set early to give screenwriter Aaron Sorkin the opportunity to direct the last shot of the film. Although the scene Sorkin directed was a small transitional scene, which featured college students discovering Facebook for the first time, the screenwriter got to say "That's a wrap!" on The Social Network's production.

6. Quentin Tarantino // Sin City (dir. Robert Rodriguez & Frank Miller)

As a favor for Tarantino, director Robert Rodriguez scored Kill Bill Volume 2 for $1. In return, Tarantino agreed to shoot one scene in Rodriguez's next film, Sin City, for the same amount. The scene Tarantino directed featured Dwight (Clive Owen) talking to a dead Jackie Boy (Benicio Del Toro) while driving. Although Quentin Tarantino only shoots his movies using real film, he agreed to shoot Sin City using digital cameras because he wanted to get some hands-on experience using the filmmaking technology.

7. Kazuto Nakazawa // Kill Bill Volume 1 (dir. Quentin Tarantino)

In Kill Bill Volume 1, Quentin Tarantino turned to Production I.G. in Japan to bring "Chapter 3: The Origin of O-Ren" to life. Kazuto Nakazawa directed the seven-and-a-half minute animated sequence, which follows the early years of assassin O-Ren Ishii before she became a member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad and later the "Queen of the Tokyo underworld." Katsuji Morishita, Animation Producer at Production I.G, recalled that "A person in charge of Japanese casting and staff coordination for Kill Bill informed us of Quentin's strong request for IG to work on the animation sequence, and then later Quentin himself came to our studios to meet with us in person":

He already had the image and style in mind, and wanted us to make the animation based on his script. He actually acted out the performances of the characters to be animated in front of us. There were 4 sequences in all, and the production period was 1 year. Those 4 sequences would've been extremely difficult to make in live action. Even if it had been possible, it would've taken tremendous amount of budget and work.

Production I.G. is the animation studio behind seminal Japanese anime such as Ghost in the Shell, Blood: The Last Vampire, and the Neon Genesis Evangelion movies.

BONUS: Heath Ledger // The Dark Knight (dir. Christopher Nolan)

In The Dark Knight, The Joker kidnaps Batman impersonators and threatens to kill the people of Gotham if the real Batman doesn't unmask himself. He releases a video to the local news revealing his threats to Batman and Gotham. According to Christopher Nolan, Heath Ledger directed the threatening video. Cinematographer Wally Pfister set up lights for the scene and Nolan gave Ledger a camera and told him to do whatever he wanted to do for the scene. Ledger shot multiple takes in different ways to play around with the scene, but it always fell in line with The Dark Knight's overall story.

Every New Movie, TV Series, and Special Coming to Netflix in May

Netflix is making way for loads of laughs in its library in May, with a handful of original comedy specials (Steve Martin, Martin Short, Carol Burnett, Tig Notaro, and John Mulvaney will all be there), plus the long-awaited return of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Here’s every new movie, TV series, and special making its way to Netflix in May.


27: Gone Too Soon

A Life of Its Own: The Truth About Medical Marijuana


Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures: Season 1

Beautiful Girls


God's Own Country

Hachi: A Dog's Tale

Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

High School Musical 3: Senior Year

John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous Live at Radio City

Mr. Woodcock

My Perfect Romance

Pocoyo & Cars

Pocoyo & The Space Circus

Queens of Comedy: Season 1

Reasonable Doubt

Red Dragon

Scream 2


Simon: Season 1

Sliding Doors


The Bourne Ultimatum

The Carter Effect

The Clapper

The Reaping

The Strange Name Movie

Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V: Season 2




A Little Help with Carol Burnett


Busted!: Season 1

Dear White People: Volume 2

End Game

Forgive Us Our Debts

Kong: King of the Apes: Season 2


My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman: Tina Fey

No Estoy Loca

The Rain: Season 1


Faces Places


The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale



Hari Kondabolu: Warn Your Relatives


Dirty Girl

MAY 11

Bill Nye Saves the World: Season 3

Evil Genius: the True Story of America's Most Diabolical Bank Heist

Spirit Riding Free: Season 5

The Kissing Booth

The Who Was? Show: Season 1

MAY 13

Ali Wong: Hard Knock Wife

MAY 14

The Phantom of the Opera

MAY 15

Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce: Season 4

Grand Designs: Seasons 13 - 14

Only God Forgives

The Game 365: Seasons 15 - 16

MAY 16


Mamma Mia!

The 40-Year-Old Virgin

The Kingdom


MAY 18


Catching Feelings

Inspector Gadget: Season 4

MAY 19

Bridge to Terabithia

Disney’s Scandal: Season 7

Small Town Crime

MAY 20

Some Kind of Beautiful

MAY 21

Señora Acero: Season 4

MAY 22

Mob Psycho 100: Season 1

Shooter: Season 2

Terrace House: Opening New Doors: Part 2

Tig Notaro Happy To Be Here

MAY 23


MAY 24

Fauda: Season 2

Survivors Guide to Prison

MAY 25


Steve Martin and Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life

The Toys That Made Us: Season 2

Trollhunters: Part 3

MAY 26

Sara's Notebook

MAY 27

The Break with Michelle Wolf

MAY 29

Disney·Pixar's Coco

MAY 30

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Season 4

MAY 31

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman: Howard Stern

20 Best Docuseries You Can Stream Right Now
A scene from Wild Wild Country (2018)
A scene from Wild Wild Country (2018)

If your main interests are true crime and cooking, you’re in the middle of a Renaissance Age. The Michelangelos of nonfiction are consistently bringing stellar storytelling to twisty tales of murder and mayhem as well as luxurious shots of food prepared by the most creative culinary minds.

But these aren’t the only genres that documentary series are tackling. There’s a host of history, arts, travel, and more at your streaming fingertips. When you want to take a break from puzzling out who’s been wrongfully imprisoned, that is.

Here are the 20 best docuseries to watch right now, so start streaming.


What happens when an Indian guru with thousands of American followers sets up shop near a small town in Oregon with the intent to create a commune? Incredibly sourced, this documentary that touches on every major civic issue—from religious liberty to voting rights—should be your new obsession. When you choose a side, be prepared to switch. Multiple times.

Where to watch it: Netflix

2. FLINT TOWN (2018)

If your heart is broken by what’s going on in Flint, Michigan, be prepared to have that pain magnified and complicated. The filmmakers behind this provocative series were embedded with police in Flint to offer us a glimpse at the area’s local struggles and national attention from November 2015 through early 2017.

Where to watch it: Netflix


Narrated by Meryl Streep, this three-part series covers a half-century of American experience from the earliest days of second-wave feminism through Clarence Thomas’s Supreme Court nomination in the 1990s. Ellen DeGeneres, Condoleezza Rice, Sally Ride, Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, and more are featured, and the series got six more episodes in a second season.

Where to watch it:

4. THE JINX (2015)

After the massive success of Serial in 2014, a one-two punch of true crime docuseries landed the following year. One was the immensely captivating study of power, The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, which chronicled the bizarre, tangled web of the real estate mogul who was suspected of several murders. The show, which could be measured in jaw-drops per hour, both registered real life and uniquely affected it.

Where to watch it: HBO


The second major true crime phenom of 2015 was 10 years in the making. Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos uncovered the unthinkable story of Steven Avery, a man wrongfully convicted of sexual assault who was later convicted of murdering a different woman, Teresa Halbach. Not just a magnifying glass on the justice system and a potential small town conspiracy, it’s also a display of how stories can successfully get our blood boiling.

Where to watch it: Netflix

6. WORMWOOD (2017)

Speaking of good conspiracies: documentary titan Errol Morris turns his keen eye to a CIA project that’s as famous as it is unknown—MKUltra. A Cold War-era mind control experiment. LSD and hypnosis. The mysterious death of a scientist. His son’s 60-year search for answers. Morris brings his incisive eye to the hunt.

Where to watch it: Netflix

7. FIVE CAME BACK (2017)

Based on Mark Harris’s superlative book, this historical doc features filmmakers like Steven Spielberg and Guillermo del Toro discussing the WWII-era work of predecessors John Ford, William Wyler, John Huston, Frank Capra, and George Stevens. Also narrated by Meryl Streep, it looks at how the war shaped the directors and how they shaped the war. As a bonus, Netflix has the war-time documentaries featured in the film available to stream.

Where to watch it: Netflix


If you can’t afford film school, and your local college won’t let you audit any more courses, Mark Cousins’s 915-minute history is the next best thing. Unrivaled in its scope, watching it is like having a charming encyclopedia discuss its favorite movies. Yes, at 15-episodes it’s sprawling, so, yes, you should watch it all in one go. Carve out a weekend and be ready to take notes on all the movies you want to watch afterward.

Where to watch it: Sundance Now


David Chang, the host of the first season of The Mind of a Chef, has returned with a cultural mash-up disguised as a foodie show. What does it mean for pizza to be “authentic”? What do Korea and the American South have in common? With his casual charm in tow, Chang and a variety of special guests explore people through the food we love to eat as an artifact that brings us all together.

Where to watch it: Netflix

10. JAZZ (2000)

A legend of nonfiction, Ken Burns has more than a few docuseries available to stream, including long-form explorations of the Civil War and baseball. His 10-episode series on jazz exhaustively tracks nearly a century of the formation and evolution of the musical style across the United States. You’ll wanna mark off a big section of the calendar and crank up the volume.

Where to watch it: Amazon

11. THE STAIRCASE (2004)

In 2001, author Michael Peterson reported to police that his wife had died after falling down a set of stairs, but police didn’t buy the story and charged him with her murder. Before the current true crime boom, before Serial and all the rest, there was Jean-Xavier de Lestrade’s Peabody Award-winning docuseries following Peterson’s winding court case. The mystery at the heart of the trial and the unparalleled access Lestrade had to Peterson’s defense make this a must-see. (Netflix just announced that it will be releasing three new episodes of the series this summer.)

Where to watch it: Sundance Now

12. PLANET EARTH II (2016)

The sequel to the 2006 original is a real stunner. Narrated (naturally) by Sir David Attenborough, featuring music from Hans Zimmer, and boasting gorgeous photography of our immeasurably fascinating planet, this follow-up takes us through different terrains to see the life contained within. There are snow leopards in the mountains, a swimming sloth in the islands, and even langurs in our own urban jungle. Open your eyes wide to learn a lot or put it on in the background to zen out.

Where to watch it: Netflix


The cheapest way to visit Yosemite, Yellowstone, Muir Woods, and more. This Emmy-winning, six-part series is both a travelogue and a history lesson in conservation that takes up the argument of why these beautiful places should be preserved: to quote President Roosevelt, “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.”

Where to watch it: Amazon

14. CONFLICT (2015)

Experience the too-often-untold stories of conflict zones through the lenses of world class photographers like Nicole Tung, Donna Ferraro, and João Silva. This heart-testing, bias-obliterating series is unique in its views into dark places and eye toward hope.

Where to watch it: Netflix

15. LAST CHANCE U (2016)

Far more than a sports documentary, the story of the players at East Mississippi Community College will have you rooting for personal victories as much as the points on the scoreboard. Many of the outstanding players on the squad lost spots at Division I schools because of disciplinary infractions or failing academics, so they’re seeking redemption in a program that wants them to return to the big-name schools. There are two full seasons to binge and a third on the way.

Where to watch it: Netflix

16. VICE (2013)

Currently in its sixth season, the series is known for asking tough questions that need immediate answers and giving viewers a street-level view of everything from killing cancer to juvenile justice reform. Its confrontational style of gonzo provocation won’t be everyone’s cup of spiked tea, but it’s filling an important gap that used to be filled by major network investigative journalists. When they let their subjects—from child soldiers suffering PTSD after fighting for ISIS to coal miners in Appalachia—tell their stories, nonfiction magic happens.

Where to watch it: HBO

17. CHEF’S TABLE (2015)

From David Gelb, the documentarian behind Jiro Dreams of Sushi, this doc series is a backstage pass to the kitchens of the world’s most elite chefs. The teams at Osteria Francescana, Blue Hill, Alinea, Pujol, and more open their doors to share their process, culinary creativity, and, of course, dozens of delicious courses. No shame in licking your screen.

Where to watch it: Netflix

18. NOBU’S JAPAN (2014)

For those looking to learn more about culture while chowing down, world-renowned chef Nobu Matsuhisa guides guest chefs to different regions of Japan to ingest the sights, sounds, and spirits of the area before crafting a dish inspired by the journey. History is the main course, with a healthy dash of culinary invention that honors tradition.

Where to watch it: Sundance Now

19. THE SYSTEM (2014)

Should a jury decide if a child is sentenced to life in jail without parole? How can you go to jail for 20 years for shooting your gun inside your own home to deter thieves? These are just two of the questions examined by this knockout series about the conflicts, outdated methods, and biases lurking in America’s criminal justice system. Insightful and infuriating, it makes a strong companion to Ava DuVernay’s 13th.

Where to watch it: Al Jazeera and Sundance Now


It won’t be available until April 27 (so close!), but it’s well worth adding to your queue. This four-part series utilizes a wealth of footage, including unseen personal videos, to share the tragic story of Robert F. Kennedy’s run for president in the context of an era riven by racial strife. Watching this socio-political memorial told by many who were there (including Marian Wright and Congressman John Lewis), it will be impossible not to draw connections to the current day and wonder: What if?

Where to watch it: Netflix


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