Stanley Kramer was a director best known for dramas regarding social issues (Inherit the Wind, On the Beach, etc.). It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World? Not so much.
David Lynch, known for directing surreal and nightmarish films, made The Straight Story: the simple and heartwarming story of an old man, who takes a cross-country trip on a lawnmower to visit his brother. Up until that point, his most straight-forward film was about the Elephant Man!
Yoshiyuki Tomino is an odd case. Fans who love his darker and more serious works like Zeta Gundam and Space Runaway Ideon (which earned him the nickname "Kill 'em All Tomino") are often shocked or put off by his lighter fare like Gundam ZZ and Xabungle. In this case, Tomino tends to let his current mood affect his writing, and his darker works were done during periods of Creator Breakdown while his lighter shows come during periods where he's doing better. Ever since 1999's ∀ Gundam he seems to have gotten completely over his darker side and acknowledges his flaws, culminating in an Alternate Continuity movie version of Zeta with a happier ending.
Ed Zwick, best known for historical war epics and the like (including Glory, The Last Samurai, and Blood Diamond) made his directorial debut with the romantic comedy About Last Night, and took a break from the Oscar bait with his latest film Love and Other Drugs, a sex comedy about a Viagra salesman.
When Sergio Leone finished The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, he originally wanted to direct against type by making Once Upon a Time in America, but gave into popular demand and made Once Upon a Time in the West, which was the start of a new trilogy that would end with Once Upon a Time in America.
Apparently, Sergio Leone—known for having something of a hard-on for America, or at least American history—had also planned to make a film about the siege of Leningrad during World War II. Sadly, he died before it got very far.
Sam Peckinpah's reputation for making hyperviolent films was established with such movies as The Wild Bunch and Straw Dogs. However, he also made The Ballad Of Cable Hogue and Junior Bonner, two non-violent character studies about people trying to adjust to life in the changing world of the New Old West.
The Coen Brothers did a rewrite of the screenplay for Intolerable Cruelty, and it was originally set to be directed Ron Howard and Jonathen Demme before the studio offered the Coens the option to direct it. They were initially reluctant because they didn't think it fit their sensibilities, which confused the studio since they wrote it.
David Gordon Green was well known for making critically acclaimed dramatic independent films like George Washington, All the Real Girls, Undertow, and Snow Angels. Then, as his father put it, he went "from the Arthouse to the Outhouse" by making raunchy comedies like Pineapple Express, Your Highness, and The Sitter.
Ang Lee, a director best known for dramas and period pieces such as Eat Drink Man Woman, directed the first Hulk film. Unfortunately his style did not lend itself well to the unfamiliar genre, and the sequel "rebooted" it.
Disney is the last company that you would expect to produce and air a remake of the 1971 classic Brians Song. Very serious adult-level tearjerker dramas are not what Disney is known for. There was no Disneyfication. The only thing Disneyesque they did was inject a political correctness that isn't exactly accurate to the period setting (but that's mostly limited to omitting the racist terms that were thrown around in the original and to elevating the role of female characters). They also made the characters Darker and Edgier and left out the humor of the original (specifically, James Caan originally played Brian as a snarky extrovert while in the remake, he is more of a Jerkass). And this was shown on The Wonderful World of Disney.