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Stars Return to Spotlight

12 celebs back in front of — and behind — the camera

  • Mark Rogers/Courtesy Lionsgate

    Mel Gibson

    Mel Gibson, 61, turned down the opportunity to direct Hacksaw Ridge twice before agreeing to go back behind the camera for the first time in 10 years. The result: The World War II drama is up for multiple Academy Awards, including best picture and a best director nod for Gibson. “I like it. I dig it,” Gibson recently said about directing. “It's the most fun you can have standing up.”

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  • Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

    Jack Nicholson

    After a seven-year hiatus, Jack Nicholson, 79, returns to the big screen, as Kristen Wiig’s practical-joker father in the English-language remake of the German flick Toni Erdmann. Nicholson, a legendary ladies’ man, has been a Hollywood (and Lakers game) fixture, with a career that spans 60 years; he has three Oscars to his credit. The movie begins production this spring.

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  • Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic/Getty Images

    Ellen Burstyn

    Ellen Burstyn, 84, is adding another line to her already impressive resume. The Oscar, Tony and Emmy winner, who first came to notice in the The Last Picture Show, will make her directorial debut in Bathing Flo, a movie about a struggling New Yorker who agrees to house-sit for free rent, not knowing that caring for Flo — played by Burstyn — is part of the deal.  

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  • Courtesy 20th Century Fox

    Warren Beatty

    No easing in for Warren Beatty. The actor came out of near retirement (one movie in 18 years) to write, coproduce, direct and star in the 2016 movie Rules Don’t Apply. The one-time Hollywood playboy, now married to Annette Bening and father of four children, explained to AARP why it took him so long to bring the film about eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes to the screen: “Because,” he said, “I'm slow at everything I do.”

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  • Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

    Carol Burnett

    Tug on your ear and cross your fingers: Comedian-actress Carol Burnett, 83, is one step closer to returning to a weekly sitcom gig. The funnywoman has a role in the ABC TV pilot Household Name, about a family that gets to buy its dream house, with one catch: They need to live with the current owner — an eccentric actress (Burnett) — until her death. The show is executive produced by fellow writer/comedian (and Burnett admirer) Amy Poehler.

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  • Peter Morgan/AP

    Jasmine Guy

    It’s A Different World for Jasmine Guy. The actress/dancer/singer, best known for her role as coed Whitley Gilbert in the late ’80s The Cosby Show spin-off, is back in college starring in the BET drama The Quad. This time, Guy is leading the class as the new president of Georgia A&M.

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  • Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/Getty Images

    Ann-Margret

    Look for Hollywood legend Ann-Margret, 75, to steal your heart in the Zach Braff bank-heist remake, Going in Style. In her first big-screen appearance since 2011’s independent film Lucky, Margret plays Alan Arkin’s love interest in the movie about three buddies who plan to rob the bank that nabbed their pensions.

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  • Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/Getty Images

    Chris Rock

    After an eight-year absence from stand-up, Chris Rock, 52, is bringing back the funny, with two upcoming comedy specials for Netflix.  The movie star and sometime Oscar host also embarked mid-February on the American leg of his Total Blackout world tour, his first time on the road making jokes in nine years.

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  • Maurizio Gambarini/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

    Kristin Scott Thomas

    In 2014 Kristin Scott Thomas, 56, told The Guardian newspaper that she was bored and done with movies. But never say never. The English Patient actress, who has made over 65 English and French films, just signed on to make her directorial debut in The Sea Change, a romantic drama about a marriage in crisis. “Sidney Pollack told me that actors are naturally good filmmakers, and I want to make a film to continue my trajectory as a storyteller,” Scott Thomas said.

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  • John Paul Filo/CBS via Getty Images

    Oprah Winfrey

    Oprah Winfrey, 63, has come full circle. The award-winning talk show host, who started her career as a reporter, returns to her journalistic roots this fall as a special contributor to 60 Minutes. “At a time when people are so divided, my intention is to bring relevant insight and perspective, to look at what separates us, and help facilitate real conversations between people from different backgrounds,” Winfrey said.

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  • Michael Lavine/Courtesy FOX

    Helen Hunt

    Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe winner Helen Hunt, 53, makes her TV comeback in Shots Fired, a story that follows the aftermath of a racially charged shooting in a small town. The 10-part drama, which airs on Fox starting in March, marks Hunt’s biggest presence on the little screen since her starring role in the popular ’90s sitcom Mad About You.

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  • Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic/Getty Images

    Raquel Welch

    Raquel Welch, 76, will heat up the screen in the ensemble comedy How to Be a Latin Lover. The 1960s sex symbol has also been tapped for a recurring role on the UP TV show Date My Dad, premiering in June.

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