Monday, April 13, 2009

Musicians and the Acting Bug

The A.V. Club has an interesting piece up on musicians who aced acting roles. Lot of good choices inside including Björk (Dancer in the Dark), Tom Waits (Bram Stoker's Dracula... how odd that we just barely spoke about that) and Frank Sinatra (The Manchurian Candidate) but it's obvious that their listmakers tried to steer away from... the obvious. "How you make a list like that and don't include Cher, I'll never know," he said whilst rolling his tongue and tossing hair back.



I think Dolly Parton was also aces onscreen. Sure, she was playing variations of Dolly every time but what giant movie star (outside of the small chameleon circle) doesn't do that exact same thing?

Why did Sting quit acting? He was doing it pretty regularly for awhile and his performances were fairly well received. Why do you suppose Gwen Stefani never tried again after that bizarre SAG nomination for The Aviator? Cyndi Lauper keeps dipping her toes in. She's already won an Emmy and she has a lead role in an indie called Here and There (pictured left) which is about New Yorkers marrying Serbian immigrants for the ole cash/citizenship papers deal. It's currently working the festival circuit.

What do you make of Justin Timberlake's screen career? What kind of role could they ever find for Lady GaGa? Amy Winehouse? [editor's note: I'm trying really hard not to mention Beyoncé in that Obsessed movie. The trailer is practically BEGGING for Razzie votes.] Wouldn't you like to see Sufjan Stevens in a movie (blue or otherwise)? What do you think P.J. Harvey thinks of Juliette Lewis's impersonation of her in Strange Days? Which musician are you fond of onscreen?

Why do I have so many questions today?!? It's like I'm ready to dance and there's no music playing.
*

43 comments:

Benji said...

Oh Nathaniel, your new picture looks so cute and sad at the same time, I just want to give you a big hug!

Ben said...

Personally I'd go for Glen Hansard in Once.

Despite not really being a fan of his music or his pretty boy looks, I quite enjoy Justin Timberlake on screen. I've rewatched the part in Southland Tales where he mimes to The Killers countless times.

NATHANIEL R said...

Yeah, I think Timberlake is pretty decent as actors go. I suppose that Christina Ricci blew him off the screen in Black Snake Moan was no surprise but it still fit their characters relationship so all was well.

Benji. thanks. tough month. hugs are good ;)

Sally Belle said...

David Bowie!

Justin Timberlake has star quality. He is certainly a better actor then Hilary Duff is a singer!

pomme said...

Madonna!
David Bowie!
Jennifer Lopez!(i don't remember she was a singer at first)
Bono!(more cameo)
Lou Reed( in a Jarmush moie)

Chris said...

I don't think she's necessarily the best actress but I would love for Madonna to make another film. In everything thing she's been in I have noticed breif moments where I feel like she could make a decent film someday.

As for potential new singers moving to film. I love to see GaGa is a real edgy dirty meth addict in something like a Gus Van Sant film.

I also won't like I want to see Christina Aguilera on the big screen more then maybe anything.

RobUK said...

When I think of Madonna in Evita and Desperately Seeking Susan and Dangerous Game, I think of a pretty decent actress. I also think she was onto something in Who's That Girl that didn't quite hit the mark but wasn't a million miles away from being exactly what the role called for.

I initially had high expectations for Jon Bon Jovi, who appeared to coast by onscreen with effortless easy charm (not easy to achieve), but by Ally McBeal it had started to annoy.

But I think Cher is my favourite musician/actor by some considerable margin.

Tell you who I think could be a great actress: Leona Lewis. She has a personality and edginess that would threaten to burst the screen wide open.

Kidding.

P_T_D said...

Speaking of Jarmusch, how about Coffee and Cigarettes:

-Iggy Pop and Tom Waits
-The White Stripes and a Tesla Coil (incidentally, Tesla was played by another musician, David Bowie, in The Prestige ... welcome to One Degree of Nikola Tesla)
-GZA and RZA (of Wu-Tang Clan) with Bill Murray

Personal favorite: Virtuoso drummer Neil Peart as (an animated version of) himself in Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters.

(P.S. Does Billy Bob Thornton count as a musician?)

Brodie said...

Um duh, Deb Harry. how can you ignore her masterful turns in Hairspray and Videodrome? And even though I haven't seen it yet, Courtney Love in THe People vs Larry Flynt!

JA said...

"Wouldn't you like to see Sufjan Stevens in a movie (blue or otherwise)?"

AAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

You just broke my brain, Nathaniel.

Moose said...

I was blown away recently by David Bowie in "The Man Who Fell to Earth." What a time capsule that movie is. Has it ever made this site? He was also good as Pilate in "Last Temptation of Christ" and as just another weirdo in "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me."

Paul Outlaw said...

My favorite (this morning) musician performances in films are Hoagy Carmichael in Young Man With a Horn (co-starring Lauren Bacall as a "lesbian" and Doris Day as the "nice girl"); Diana Ross in the parts of Lady Sings The Blues where she's not crying (see main page banner photo for an example of Diana's basic idea of Oscar-worthy emoting); David Johansen on Oz; and André Benjamin and Macy Gray in anything.

I would love to see what Jake Shears would bring to the right project.

CrazyCris said...

I'll second that Glen Hansard vote!

and David Bowie and Madonna definitely come to mind when I think of singers dipping their toes into acting.

As for Frank Sinatra, I'd put him in the category of people who are more than adept at both (along with many others from the 30s-40s-50s)!

James Hansen said...

Does Obsessed look THAT bad? I'm blinded by Stringer Bell...err...Idris Elba being in it so I kind of want to see it.

Glendon said...

Nice banner. May I suggest Tobey Maguire balling his eyes out in Spider-man 3?

As for the post at hand, I'd include David Bowie, as well as Jennifer Lopez for Out Of Sight.

Karen said...

I did a blog post about 5 Actor/Singers who don't suck a while back...

http://reelartsy.blogspot.com/2009/03/5-actorsingers-that-dont-suck.html

Wayne B. said...

I think Aaliyah had an interesting screen prescence. Was excited for her to put out more movies. I find it sad that she didn't get to challenge herself with material better than "Romeo Must Die" or "Queen Of The Damned". My movie fantasy back then was that she would play Minnie Riperton in a bio-pic, love both their voices.

Nathaniel, I luv it when you use any post to mention "Strange Days"!
If I were PJ Harvey, I would be flattered by Juliette Lewis' covers. She is too cool for words, would like to see her perform live with her band. The "Rid Of Me" cover is on my 25 MOST PLAYED ipod list, not hard considering it's less than a minute long.

Rick said...

James Taylor (with long hair!) in Two Lane Black Top, (which I enjoy for reasons I cannot explain). And early Elvis.

NATHANIEL R said...

wayne b -- strange days won't leave my head!!!!

Rodrigo the Hated One said...

Off-Topic I know, but do anyone here thinks that this could be a potential Best Actress candidate?

I know I do

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Iq_KE61Gio

What do you guys think?

18 Year Old Blogger said...

Since noone has mentioned Jennifer Hudson, does that mean you guys now consider her to be an actress fist and musicial second, or is she just about equal?

mrripley said...

how can u not mention the awfulness of madonna

my fave musiciam acting courtney love the people vs larry flynt never nommed her due to the category confusion.

NATHANIEL R said...

18 year old wouldn't saying it's equalimply that she's as good at acting as she is at singing. Which...

I curse Dreamgirls for robbing her of her true destiny focus (i'm mostly kidding. But still)

Dame James Henry said...

Mark my words: if Victoria Beckham ever gets the right role and works with the right director, she will be a major success. The girl has an amazing dry British humor (go Youtube Victoria Beckham: Coming to America for proof) that could be utilized and exploited for full comedic effect in any number of ways.

Justin Timberlake, also, has great comedic timing and just needs the right role to bring it to a new level. First of all, however, he needs to stop doing these heavy-handed dramatic films (not his strength) and work in a silly, crowd-pleasing Apatow-esque comedy.

Cristhian said...

I don't know about you guys, but I think that Avril Lavigne has SQ (star quality).
How did the Norah Jones/Wong Kar Wai team go unnoticed?

Roberta Lipp said...

I know you didn't ask, but after seeing Billy Joel on Inside the Actors Studio, I've thought he could have done well onscreen. Figure a down and out PI or something.

Alex in Movieland said...

so OT.

did you see the new trailer for MOON????

looks very interesting. could Sam Rockwell get a Best Actor nom?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LW81qu2OclU&feature=related

Eric Arvin said...

I'd like to see Neko Case in something. Perhaps Lynchian. And Aimee Mann, just because I'm a massive fan.

Drew said...

Wasn't PJ Harvey in a film once? Something about Jesus coming back to Earth in the year 2000 with his trusty sidekick Magdalene by his side...

Alex said...

I can only assume we're counting the amazing Barbra Streisand in the acting category. Even so, her music career has become a much bigger part of her life than her film career. Does fact that she's made that decision make her a singer who can act? I'm just curious.

Mr. Movie Geek said...

"Wouldn't you like to see Sufjan Stevens in a movie (blue or otherwise)?"

Best.
Idea.
Ever.

Kamikaze Camel said...

Well, there are the obvious ones. Cher, Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler. Dolly Parton, as amazing as she can be, got saddled with bad movie choices (although I do have the soundtrack to Rhinestone) and plastic surgery so - much like Cher - she can't really portray real human beings anymore, which is such a shame. Madonna has been good every now and then but she's no great at the acting game like those other three. Debbie Harry, Queen Latifah and Courtney Love have also been great on screen. Love gave one of the finest performances of the '90s (so say I) in Larry Flynt and I really hope she pulls herself out of her current weirdo paranoia phase and gets back to making great music and fires off another stellar performance. Bjork was, obviously, another great performance.

I also wish Mandy Moore would act more. She's the only good thing about American Dreamz and I thought she had a real fine quality in movies like How to Deal, A Walk to Remember and especially Saved!That one clip I've seen from Precious with Mariah Carey shows that she can actually act, which is quite surprising, no?

In terms of males, I really like Tom Waits singing and acting, I've been impressed by David Bowie multiple times and Tupac Shakur was also quite powerful on screen.

I don't think Justin Timberlake has any right to be taking acting roles from anybody. All of his movies have flopped, he's never particularly memorable so why do people keep casting him? And I say that as a big fan of his music (well, not atm since all he's doing is appearing in those damned "featuring" credits and so forth).

Oh, I know somebody here ruined the (apparently) illusion, but I really want Maggie Gyllenhaal to make an album. I could listen to "I Can't Wait" and "How Lucky Am I" all day long, honestly.

One name to look out for is Natalie Imbruglia, who is apparently excellent in Closed for Winter, a new Aussie film out later this month.

In terms of what singers I'd like to see act... I think Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs could have a big spark on screen. Miss Connie of Sneaky Sound System is EPIC DIVA already so I can't see why she wouldn't replicate said EPIC DIVA-DOM in acting, same goes for MIA. Give her a crack whore role in a Spike Lee joint and she'd blow the ceiling off.

It always surprised me that Tina Turner never really kept up acting. She seemed like a natural fit.

Roberta Lipp said...

Meat Loaf. I don't like him (personal slight) but he's certainly been doing movies for a long time. I'd almost forgotten until last night when I finally watched last week's DVR'd House. (And so I came running back here to tell you.)

The guy is good. Or at least, a legitimate onscreen presence.

Chris Na Taraja said...

No one has mentioned Marky Mark, who has done pretty well on screen. And his brother Donnie from New Kids on the Block was that crazy kid in the beginning the Sixth Sense, remember that? That little scene counts as acting that "blew away people" (hee hee)

And Barbara Striesand has made some good films with out singing. Oh but she usually sings the title song, does that count?

Elvis was totally hunky in his films. don't know if you can call it great acting moments though. Check it out!

But my favorite would have to be David Bowie in THE HUNGER.

Wayne B. said...

Kamizake Camel, thanks for bringing up Courteney Love in "The People vs. Larry Flynt". I completely forgot about her amazing performance. Definitely agree with you on TINA TURNER, she's goddess. I think Tina Turner years ago was supposed to do a Merchant-Ivory film about an African rain priestess or soemthing along those lines. It was probably canceled sfter Merchant's death.

Karen said...

What about Shirley Manson from the band Garbage? She's a newcomer but she does a nice job on Terminator: the Sarah Conner Chronicles.

adri said...

I agee with Kamikaze Camel's noting of Bette Midler (love her), Queen Latifah, and Mandy Moore.

I just saw Levon Helm, musician/actor, in another film, "In the Electric Mist" with Tommy Lee Jones, dir. Bertrand Tavernier (love him- although the movie is kind of rambling). Levon Helm is always used for a specific kind of archetypical figure. Here he's a Confederate General ghost. And he always delivers, he's always just right.

Johnny Halliday, the weathered French pop star, has also turned in some excellent performances in French films.

Glenn said...

Chris, Marky Mark was a model first, right? And he hardly had much of a music career.

Dottie said...

Mos Def and Courtney Love and Barbra Steisand The best acting by far of all singers

honduran said...

what do you think about shakira, ill love to see her in a film, she seems to be wise in everything she does..she once turn down role in a film and i saw an interview where she said she was waiting for the right role..

Patrick said...

i agree with bette midler. she's seriously underrated as a dramatic actress - and just plain great as a comedian. also, i thought janet jackson was a pleasant surprise in "poetic justice" (but really only there!).
and i wish kylie minogue would act again. oh, and rufus wainwright, who had too little screen time in both "aviator" and "l'age de tenebres".

Seeing_I said...

If they ever do that remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (and hopefully they won't) then Amy Winehouse would make a kick-ass Magenta.

Joe said...

I have always wondered what PJ Harvey thought of Juliette Lewis in Strange Days. Granted, Lewis is doing more of a To Bring You My Love-era PJ crossed with Iggy Pop than an actual impersonation.