Here Are 13 Celebrities Who Produced Major Movies That They Didn't Appear In

    Did everyone else already know that Bradley Cooper was a producer on Joker?

    Last month, Emma Stone achieved a significant feat with her Oscar win for Poor Things. She's now a two-time Academy Award winner, first taking home Best Actress in 2017 for La La Land. But this is far from the only major success she's had lately.

    Olivia in elegant strapless gown with statement necklace, smiling at the camera

    Behind the scenes, Emma has built an impressive career as a film producer. She also garnered a Best Picture nomination this year as a producer for Poor Things. Emma even runs a production company, Fruit Tree, alongside her husband, Dave McCary. And though the company didn't produce Poor Things, they've hit the ground running with some notable film releases since launching in 2020.

    Emma Stone in a beaded dress holds an Oscar, standing next to Dave McCary in a tuxedo

    Their recent films include When You Finish Saving the World and Problemista, while they've got I Saw the TV Glow and A Real Pain coming later this year.

    Two characters in a scene, woman in green blazer with pink hair, man in brown shirt with backpack

    Emma is far from the first celeb to make a name for themselves producing movies. So here are 13 stars, including a former president, who've also proved themselves to be savvy film producers:

    1. Margot Robbie: Saltburn (2023)

    Margot in a black corset top and suede waistcoat at an event

    The star is an Oscar-nominated producer through her production company, LuckyChap, which she founded alongside Josey McNamara and her husband, Tom Ackerley. In addition to working on some of Margot's films, like I, Tonya, Terminal, and Barbie, the company was also behind the TV series Dollface and the miniseries Maid. They also produced director Emerald Fennell's films Promising Young Woman and Saltburn.

    Barry Keogh in burgundy robe overlooking a park with people and scattered objects in Saltburn

    2. Will Ferrell: May December (2023)

    Will in gray suit and red tie standing against a backdrop with Netflix logo

    Will and Adam McKay produced numerous films and TV shows together through their production company, Gary Sanchez Productions. This includes hits like Step Brothers, Vice, The Menu, and Succession. Following the end of Gary Sanchez Productions, Will shifted his producing efforts in recent years to women-centered content alongside producer Jessica Elbaum through sister label Gloria Sanchez Productions. The company is behind films like Booksmart, Hustlers, and May December.

    Julianne Moore and Natalie Portman in a dressing room, Natalie holding a notepad, Julianne with makeup, in May December

    3. Barack Obama: Leave the World Behind (2023)

    Barack Obama speaking at an event, wearing a suit without a tie, gesturing with his right hand

    Through their production company Higher Ground, Barack and Michelle Obama worked on the film about a dystopian future amid a blackout. The movie is based on Rumaan Alam's 2020 novel of the same name. "He had a lot [of] notes about the characters and the empathy we would have for them," the film's director and writer, Sam Esmail, told Vanity Fair last year of the former president's involvement. "I have to say he is a big movie lover, and he wasn't just giving notes about things that were from his background. He was giving notes as a fan of the book, and he wanted to see a really good film."

    Four actors, including Mahershala Ali and Julia Roberts, stand together with serious expressions

    4. Maria Bello: The Woman King (2022)

    Maria smiling at a media event wearing a suit and tie

    "The Woman King was definitely born of my love of the continent in general," Maria told the Hollywood Reporter in 2022, referring to Africa. "It's based on women's history, a story I found many years ago about this army of women in the 17th century. I was watching Braveheart and I was like, 'Why isn't there a woman's movie like this?'"

    Viola Davis in traditional warrior attire stands confidently in a bustling village setting at night

    5. Reese Witherspoon: Where the Crawdads Sing (2022)

    Reese Witherspoon smiling, wearing a strapless red gown at the SAG Awards

    Where the Crawdads Sing is based on Delia Owens's 2018 novel of the same name. Reese's involvement with the book turned movie came after she selected the novel that year as a book for her book club. Then Reese's production company, Hello Sunshine, produced the adaptation.

    Woman standing in the woods, looking forward, with a tree trunk behind her

    6. Denzel Washington: Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (2020)

    Denzel in a black suit and tie at an event

    "I put my two cents in where I could, but in all seriousness, I really tried to stay out of the way," Denzel told the Guardian in 2020 about producing the film based on August Wilson's play of the same name.

    Viola Davis as Ma Rainey in patterned dress singing with jazz band members playing instruments in vintage room

    7. Bradley Cooper: Joker (2019)

    Bradley Cooper stands smiling in a tailored navy suit with a tie, at a Netflix event for "Maestro"

    "We kept this one pretty close to us," Jeff Groth, the film editor on Joker, told IndieWire in 2020. "We screened it more personally for people and filmmakers. Bradley Cooper definitely came in a couple of times. He was a producer on the movie, but he definitely watched the movie many times and sat with us. We could call him if we got stuck with something and be like, 'Hey, can you come over and take a look at things?'"

    Joaquin Phoenix dressed as the Joker dancing on steps

    8. Eva Longoria: John Wick (2014)

    Eva Longoria poses in a pastel blazer over a neutral top at an event

    In 2019, Eva told GQ of producing the film, "I saved the movie...I really did. It was fun. Keanu was amazing, and it was an amazing movie."

    Keanu Reeves as John Wick walking determinedly in a dimly lit space with damaged cars and debris around

    9. Pharrell Williams: Hidden Figures (2016)

    Pharrell with orange  hair and large glasses, wearing a black suit and ornate brooch on a white shirt

    "Oftentimes, I would have an opinion about things, beyond just the music — they would listen," Pharrell told the New York Times in 2017 of producing Hidden Figures. "I'm appreciative for that wiggle room and to be part of the conversation."

    A group of women, including Octavia Spencer, in work attire walking purposefully through a corridor in a scene from Hidden Figures

    10. Jada Pinkett Smith: The Secret Life of Bees (2008)

    Jada wearing a black outfit with a chain belt and draped sleeves, at an event

    "It was amazing. Because my bonus son's mother called me and said, 'Jada, you have to read this book,' and I fell in love with it. I was tracking the rights to this book for a very, very long time and they became available, so Overbrook [Entertainment] grabbed it and I said, 'You got to get these rights!'" Jada told The Early Show in 2008.

    Two people in beekeeping suits inspect a honeycomb frame outdoors

    11. Tom Hanks (and Rita Wilson): Mamma Mia (2008)

    Tom Hanks wearing a classic black suit standing before a promotional backdrop

    Tom and Rita produced Mamma Mia and the sequel films through Tom's production company, Playtone, which he cofounded with Gary Goetzman. According to Vulture, Tom said on The Graham Norton Show in 2018, "I was a producer of Mamma Mia and I tried out for a role. I wanted to hire myself, but my singing voice would have scared the children."

    Women walking together on a street, with Meryl Streep in front

    12. Rita Wilson (and Tom Hanks): My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

    Rita in elegant black blazer over low-neck top, jewelry, smiling

    Rita and Tom's production work through Playtone also includes the My Big Fat Greek Wedding films. Nia Vardalos, who starred in and wrote all three films in the series, was running a one-woman play in the late '90s. Rita, a fellow Greek actor, attended and subsequently convinced Tom and Playtone to turn the play into the first film, which remains the highest-grossing rom-com to date.

    John Corbett and Nia Vardalos from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" smiling in groom and bride outfits in a car

    13. Finally, Whitney Houston: The Princess Diaries (2001)

    Whitney Houston performing onstage with a microphone, wearing a gold and beige dress

    According to People magazine, the late singer produced both the Princess Diaries and Cheetah Girls films, as well as Brandy's Cinderella and the 2012 Sparkle remake. Whitney starred in the latter two films.

    Julie Andrews and Anne Hathaway from "The Princess Diaries" wearing tiaras, Anne with headphones

    Who did we miss? Let us know in the comments which celeb you were surprised to learn produced a significant film. Your comment may even be featured in a future BuzzFeed article.