5 Movie Directors Who Cast Their Daughters

When Father's Day is Also Movie Night

Sofia and Francis Ford Coppola
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 02: Directors Sofia Coppola and Francis Ford Coppola attend the 'A Very Murray Christmas' New York premiere at Paris Theater on December 2, 2015 in New York City. Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage

For established, successful filmmakers, casting one’s children in a film might be a difficult choice – while you can (hopefully) trust your offspring to listen to you, you don’t want accusations of nepotism being tossed at you or your child. And what if your fatherly or motherly bias is blinding you to the fact that your kids are terrible in front of the camera?

Thankfully, most directors haven’t had to contend with that issue, but several acclaimed directors have cast their daughters in their movies – and usually to great results. Some of these early appearances have launched the actresses to major high-profile roles in movies made by other filmmakers.

There have been several instances of fathers who have cast their daughters as actresses in their movies. Here are five of the most notable.

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Patricia Hitchcock and Alfred Hitchcock

Paramount Pictures

Patricia Hitchcock, who is the only child of the "Master of Suspense" Alfred Hitchcock, began her acting career in the early 1940s after initially appearing as a child uncredited in her father’s 1936 movie Sabotage. She appeared in her father's 1949 film Stage Fright in a small role and also served as a double for star Jane Wyman. Though she also appeared in a significant role in 1951’s Strangers on a Train, Pat Hitchcock’s most famous role in any of her father’s films is her brief appearance as a secretary in Psycho who humorously offers Marion Crane tranquilizers and remarks that she took the day of her wedding. Patricia also appeared in several episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, which her father produced.

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Anjelica Huston and John Huston

The Dead
Vestron Pictures

Filmmaker and actor John Huston was himself the child of a Hollywood actor, Walter Huston. The many members of the Huston family who have appeared on screen include John’s daughter Anjelica Huston, who appeared in several of her father’s movies, including A Walk with Love and Death (1969), Sinful Davey (1969), Prizzi's Honor (1985) and The Dead (1987). In a nice family moment, Anjelica won an Oscar for her role in Prizzi’s Honor.

As a side note, John Huston not only directed his daughter in an Oscar-winning performance, he also directed his father in an Oscar-winning performance when Walter Huston won an Oscar for The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948). Obviously, Huston was a family man!

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Sofia Coppola and Francis Ford Coppola

The Godfather Part III
Paramount Pictures

Director Francis Ford Coppola has a long history of working with family members, and his daughter is no exception. Though nowadays Sofia Coppola is recognized as a director and Oscar-winning screenwriter in her own right, in her earlier years she was better known as an actress. She actually debuted on film as an infant in her father’s masterpiece The Godfather playing the baby Michael Rizzi in the iconic Christening scene. She also appeared in minor roles in her father’s The Godfather Part II, The Outsiders, Rumble Fish, The Cotton Club, Peggy Sue Got Married, and Tucker: The Man and His Dream, often credited as “Domino.”

Unfortunately, the most significant acting role in Sofia’s career – playing Mary Corleone in her father’s The Godfather Part III (1990) – is also her most derided performance (Sofia was cast in part because Wionna Ryder dropped out of the role very late). Sofia has since concentrated on working behind the camera instead, like her father. Francis later produced his daughter's debut film as a director, The Virgin Suicides (1999), and served as an executive producer on her films Lost in Translation (2003), Marie Antoinette (2006), Somewhere (2010), and The Bling Ring (2013). Not only that, but Francis, who also owns a winery, named a champagne after his daughter.

In an interesting bit of trivia, the Coppolas and the Hustons are the the only families with three generations of Oscar winners (Francis' father, Carmine, won an Oscar for scoring The Godfather Part II).

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Bryce Dallas Howard and Ron Howard

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Universal Pictures

Though actress Bryce Dallas Howard has become well-known as an actress in her own right -- she has appeared in Jurassic World, Pete's Dragon, The Help, and several other popular movies – she began her career as a child actress playing small roles in movies made by her father, filmmaker and actor Ron Howard (himself a famous child actor).

Bryce appeared in her father’s Apollo 13 (1995), How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000), and A Beautiful Mind (2001). Bryce and Ron Howard also worked together behind the camera when they both produced the 2011 film Restless.

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Lorelei Linklater and Richard Linklater

IFC Films

Though Lorelei Linklater has only appeared in two films directed by her father, Richard Linklater, both are unique projects. In her father’s animated 2001 film Waking Life, Lorelei plays “Young Girl Playing Paper Game.” Her much more significant role was in Boyhood, which Richard shot over an 11-year period. In the film, Lorelei played the older sister of the main character in the yearly snippets that depicted the two of them growing up. Curiously, Lorelei lost interest in the role after a few years and asked that her character be “killed off” (her father refused).

However, Lorelei has continued acting after the release of Boyhood in films that her father didn't direct, so she obviously regained her passion for being an actress.