Baz Luhrmann, George Miller, Robert Luketic, Alex Proyas and Phillip Noyce have carved out impressive careers in Hollywood over the past three decades. A second wave of directors are also now carving out impressive US careers – and flying under the radar in their homeland.

Richard Gray recently finished filming The Lookalike – a US thriller/crime comedy starring Justin Long and Luis Guzman – which was filmed in New Orleans and the Bahamas. The filmmaker has made four feature films (two shot in the US) since Australian romance Summer Coda in 2010 and is currently promoting his Australian Rules drama Blinder, which will be seen on more than 100 screens from March 7.

“I'm such a fortunate guy,” Gray said by email. “I have a tremendous team and we've basically worked seven days a week for last five years to get us into a position where we can do what we love regularly. It's all about protecting your investors and making their money back quickly – doing more for less.”

Peter Cornwell made a strong impression in Australia with short animated film Ward 13 in 2003, but his US debut feature, The Haunting in Connecticut, went relatively unnoticed in Australia despite grossing more than $US77.5 million at the global box office. Almost four years later he is now shooting Mercy, based on a story by horror writer Stephen King. The film stars Chandler Riggs, Joel Courtney, Dylan McDermott, Frances O'Connor, Chris Browning and Shirley Knight.

Meanwhile, director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell are currently shooting the follow-up to their low-budget horror film Insidious, which grossed more than $US97 million at the global box office. Insidious: Chapter 2 stars Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye and Ty Simpkins and is set for an August 30 release in the US.

Wan also recently directed The Conjuring, which will be released in UK cinemas from July 19 (no Australian release date set).

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