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Thespians-turned-directors

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Mel, Kevin, Barbra, Clint, Jodie…so who else in the acting community has the vision — and the clout — to direct his or her own feature film? A rundown of thespians who will make their maiden directorial voyages in the next year:

· Hart Bochner (Die Hard, Apartment Zero) tries his hand at filmmaking with PCU, a comedy about college life in the confusing, politically correct ’90s.

· Robert De Niro enters Scorsese country in A Bronx Tale, the story of a boy in the 1960s who becomes the pet of a local mob boss, earning the disapproval of his father (De Niro).

· Morgan Freeman (Unforgiven, Street Smart) directs Bopha!, a fall release about a black South African policeman whose dissident son rebels against Dad’s wish for him to follow in his footsteps. Starring Danny Glover and Alfre Woodard.

· Gregory Hines, the Tony award-winning dancer and actor (Jelly’s Last Jam), takes the reins of the low-budget independent feature White Man’s Burden, a tale of interracial relationships in New York, with a cast of unknowns.

· Diane Keaton, who directed the 1987 documentary Heaven and several TV movies, will shoot her first feature, Pet People, about a family whose pets magically turn into humans, for Amblin next year.

· Steven Seagal, the action star, steps behind the camera for On Deadly Ground, in which he plays an Alaskan oil-rig fire fighter ecologically at odds with sleazy oil company president Michael Caine.

· Ben Stiller, star of Fox’s comedic The Ben Stiller Show, directs and stars in Reality Bites, a 1994 comedy with Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke about Generation X’ers coping with life after college.

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