The Russos/Chris Evans & other director-actor duos with MCU and non-MCU films

As The gray man Drops on Netflix, writers/directors Joe and Anthony Russo are once again collaborating with their Captain America star Chris Evans. Given the massive scope of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this isn’t the first time a director has worked with an actor within the superhero franchise and subsequently reunited in other ventures.

For example, James Gunn has had recurring collaborators such as Sean Gunn and Michael Rooker in both his MCU and DCEU projects. Then there is Taika Waititi who helped him Hunt for the Wilderpeople Star Sam Neill sneaks in for a surprise cameo Thor: Ragnarok.

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The Russos/Chris Evans – Captain America: The Winter Soldier/The Gray Man

Split images of Chris Evans in Winter Soldier and The Gray Man

With Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Joe and Anthony Russo turned a superhero film into a spy thriller and cemented their place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Their success was followed by other MCU blockbusters such as Civil War, Avengers: Infinity Warand endgame.

Of course, a recurring part of all these films was Chris Evans trying his hand at the role of Captain America. The highly anticipated film in the Russos’ post-MCU career reunited them with Evans, who plays a villain for a change. He plays a renegade colleague of Ryan Gosling’s CIA agent protagonist.

Jon Favreau/Scarlett Johansson – Iron Man 2/The Jungle Book

Split images of still images from Iron Man 2 and The Jungle Book

Jon Favreau’s second appearance in the MCU iron man The trilogy introduced Black Widow, which has grown into one of Scarlett Johansson’s best roles. While Johannsson has appeared in numerous MCU films (even getting her solo project), she has had a few non-MCU teams with Favreau.

Aside from a supporting role in his slice-of-life comedy Cook, She also voiced the snake Kaa in Favreau’s remake of the Disney animated classic The jungle Book. Known for speaking roles such as that of Samantha in sheKaa proved a brief but popular role in Johansson’s multi-genre filmography.

Taika Waititi/Sam Neill – Thor: Ragnarok/The Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Split images of Sam Neill in Thor Ragnarok and Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Taika Waititi crossed paths for the first time Jurassic Park Starring Sam Neill for his adventure comedy hunting the wild people, in which he played a moody uncle to Julian Denninson’s protagonist. While the latter ended up getting a role dead pool 2 Later, Neill also got a taste of Marvel with a cameo appearance Thor: Ragnarok.

Alongside Matt Damon and Luke Hemsworth, he appears as one of the Asgardian theater actors reenacting the stories of Thor’s life. Neill makes a hilarious Odin impression and reprises the role in Waititi’s sequel Thor: Love and Thunder.

The Russos/Tom Holland – Avengers: Infinity War/Cherry

Split images of Tom Holland in Infinity War and Cherry

Although Tom Holland’s version of Spider-Man was introduced in The Russos civil warthe character experienced some of his most emotional moments in Infinite War. In particular, the scene where Parker died at Tony Stark’s hands proved to be a huge teardrop.

While Holland continued his successful stint in the MCU with the other Spider-Man solo films, he also experimented with more serious roles on the side. That included a starring role in the crime thriller cherry while he worked again with Joe and Anthony Russo. Although the film evoked mixed reactions, cherry nevertheless demonstrated Holland’s versatility as an actor.


James Gunn/Sean Gunn – Guardians of the Galaxy/The Suicide Squad

Split images of Sean Gunn in Guardians of the Galaxy and The Suicide Squad

Aside from Michael Rooker, if there’s one man that people can find in almost every James Gunn film, it’s his brother Sean Gunn. The actor had previously appeared in Gunn’s dark comedy great followed by two roles in the Guardians of the Galaxy Franchise. In addition to appearing as Yondu’s henchman, Kraglin, he also performed the motion capture feature for Rocket Raccoon.

He continued his mo-cap skills and also had a brief role in Gunn’s takeover The Suicide Squad play the weasel man. He also had a live-action cameo in the same film as Calendar Man.

Sam Raimi/Bruce Campbell – Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness/The Evil Dead

Split images of Bruce Campbell in The Evil Dead and Doctor Strange 2

Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi have become one of the best actor-director duos since they first worked together on the seminal horror hit The bad death. Campbell’s character Ash Williams redefined the boundaries of the horror comedy genre, with Raimi also directing him in the film’s two sequels.

In addition, Campbell has always made cameo appearances in Raimi’s other films, such as Spiderman trilogy and its latest MCU flick Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. He appears as a hot dog vendor in Earth-838 who is enchanted by Strange. Campbell appears briefly midway through the film and post-credits scene while showing his effortless comic timing.

Shane Black/Robert Downey Jr. – Iron Man 3/Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Split images of Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man 3 and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Though Robert Downey Jr. had a rocky offscreen life in the 2000s, his film credits still garnered critical acclaim, such as the underrated neo-noir thriller Kiss kiss bang bang. The film follows the misadventures of a thief and a private investigator who become involved in the murder of a Hollywood actress. The film benefited greatly from Val Kilmer’s and Robert Downey Jr’s on-screen chemistry, as well as Shane Black’s dialogue, which made his directorial debut.

When Black made his MCU entry, it only made sense for him to direct a film starring Robert Downey Jr. Despite polarizing reactions Iron Man 3 proved a narrative fresh enough to mark the beginning of the second phase.

Ryan Coogler/Michael B. Jordan – Black Panther/Fruitvale Station

Split images of Michael B. Jordan in Black Panther and Fruitvale Station

Ryan Cooglers Fruitvale station was one of the best directorial debuts of recent times. Based on a real-life case of police brutality, the gripping drama starred Michael B. Jordan, who received rave reviews for his performance at film festivals. The partnership between Jordan and Coogler was pursued on a larger scale Believethe split from the Rocky Franchise.


After playing boxer Adonis Creed, Jordan turned to a villain role in Coogler Black Panther. As Erik Killmonger, the actor added such nuance to the character that several MCU viewers even began to sympathize with his cause. All in all, Jordan and Coogler’s third collaboration produced one of the MCU’s best villains.

James Gunn/Michael Rooker – Guardians Of The Galaxy/The Suicide Squad

Split images of Michael Rooker in GOTG and The Suicide Squad

Michael Rooker has been James Gunn’s muse since the beginning of his career, having starred in Gunn’s underrated body horror debut Slide. When Gunn got his big break in the MCU Guardians of the Galaxy, he made sure Rooker got a crucial role as Yondu. Originally envisioned as a villain, Yondu turns out to be a caring father figure to Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord. Rooker reprized his performance in the sequel, earning rave reviews for his performance.

As Gunn switched between comic universes and made his DC debut with The Suicide Squad, he collaborated with Rooker again, albeit for an extended guest appearance. He appears as the supervillain Savant in an intense intro sequence, but hilariously dies within minutes.

Jon Favreau/Robert Downey Jr. – Ironman/Chef

Split images of Robert Downey Jr. in Iron Man and Chef

iron man marked a turning point in superhero cinema. It established Jon Favreau as a trendsetter in modern pop culture, while Robert Downey Jr. received one of the best comebacks an actor can dream of. The two creative collaborators and true friends’ paths crossed again when Favreau decided to take a break from big-budget cinema and star and star in a lighter, food-centric comedy Cook.

Downey Jr has a guest role in the film as he plays Marvin, the ex-husband of the protagonist’s wife. Although Marvin has a difficult relationship with Favreau’s titular chef, he is the one who arranges a food truck for him.

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