There was once a time when only the most talented musicians — people like Frank Sinatra, Diana Ross and Elvis — would dare to make the jump to movies. But with music videos giving birth to a generation of camera-friendly musicians, however, it isn’t just Madonna, Eminem and Justin Timberlake playing the actor/singer game, but also everybody from Ashlee Simpson to Diddy to Macy Gray.
The tide has shifted so much, in fact, that it’s sometimes more conspicuous these days when a musician chooses not to make movies. With that in mind, we’ve compiled this list of the top musical acts that have avoided the silver screen so far — and, based on what we know about them, whether their acting debuts would yield a “Godfather” or a “Glitter.”
My Chemical Romance: For several years now, these guys have been challenging the Gorillaz for the title of most animated musical group. In the video for “Welcome to the Black Parade” clip, Gerard Way and the boys created a unique hybrid of “Metropolis,” “Johnny Got His Gun” and Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Then there’s the video for “Trapped in the Closet.” Sure, Kelly’s tangled web of cheating lovers, stuttering pimps, well-endowed male strippers and fainting midgets was good for a few laughs, but comedies work best when the audience is laughing with — not at — the leading man. While we doubt that even Sir Ben Kingsley would be brave enough to dub in the voice of a Southern housewife, Kelly’s rendition wasn’t good enough to make us do anything other than start creeping — straight toward the door. For the foreseeable future, the embattled singer might want to concentrate on a future of CD singles and subpoenas — because if there’s one “Trapped” actor that deserves an Oscar, it’s Rosie the nosy neighbor, for keeping a straight face while watching Kelly emote.
Feist: “Mushaboom,” the silk-skinned songstress manages to grab hold of the camera lens and delight the senses with a completely solitary moment — a throwback to the days of the silent actress. If director Michel Gondry would cast her in a movie like “The Science of Sleep,” we’re sure that Leslie would give a feisty performance.
Kanye West: Producer, artist, activist, designer … actor? We think not. Although West can always be counted on to throw temper tantrums, his flair for drama ends there. For better or worse, Kanye is too self-absorbed to play anyone but himself — and in a recent “Entourage” episode, the “Promiscuous,” and we think she’s shown all the right moves to make a jump into film. First of all, she’s bilingual — a major asset in today’s border-breaking flicks like “Babel” and “Eastern Promises.” Secondly, she has already graced the small screen — late last year, she played the daughter of immigrant parents on the Portuguese soap “Floribella.” And thirdly, she’s got the kind of body that puts plastic surgeons out of business — a sure sign she’d make a credible action star. We’d definitely let out a “Whoa, Nelly!” if the songstress snagged a Lara Croft-like franchise that took her around the world in hip-hugging leather pants, or maybe something like Carrie-Anne Moss’ butt-kicking role in “The Matrix.” Because honestly, if she can save her dog’s life in the “Crazy” duo could find a buddy script like “The Blues Brothers” and let their considerable imaginations run wild.
Christina Aguilera: She’s a Grammy winner blessed with what might be the best voice in pop, but when it comes to a movie career, we’re not quite sure what sort of note Xtina would hit. In videos like “Ain’t No Other Man” (a nightclub singer), Aguilera shows some serious versatility — and we could easily see her taking those chaps from “Lady Marmalade” posse.
Will.I.Am: Whether he’s goofing around in his trademark street gear, dressed up in Prohibition-era duds or disappearing into an afro and missing teeth (for the “Can U Believe” and Movies on MTV.com for more from Hollywood, including news, reviews, interviews and more.
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