In 2000, Joe completed production on his feature film directorial debut, Lakeboat, written for the screen by David Mamet from his original play. His last venture production project was an original family feature called The King and Me.
In the 1998 The Rat Pack he was nominated for both another Emmy and a Golden Globe Award for his performance as singer Dean Martin (ironically, David Rossi is a Rat Pack fan).
His third Emmy Award nomination was for his role in the 2007 miniseries The Starter Wife.
But the great achievement for Mantegna was his work in David Mamet's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Glengarry Glen Ross, which earned him in 1984 a Tony Award and a Joseph Jefferson Award as Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Play for his acclaimed performance as cynical real-estate agent Richard Roma. Mantegna turned producer in 1998 with the crime comedy Jerry and Tom.
In addition, Joe directed a critically acclaimed stage production of Lakeboat in a successful Los Angeles theatrical run. Since then he has served as executive producer for various movies and TV movies, such as Corduroy (1984), Hoods (1998), and Lakeboat (2000).
Always the baseball fan, Joe conceived and co-wrote the Off-Broadway play Bleacher Bums, inspired by countless afternoons watching the Chicago Cubs play, that become an award-winning play; the Los Angeles production of Bums ran over five years.