It's worked for some. Eminem was nominated for a slew of awards for his performance in 8 Mile. Hell, Jennifer Hudson even won an Oscar for Dreamgirls. The more you look at it though, the more it seems that successful transitions from music to the silver screen are few and far between and nelow are ten of the worst such examples.
Words: John Balfe
Jennifer Lopez - 'Gigli'
The J-Lo and Ben Affleck flick Gigli was filmed while the couple were arguably the most photographed pair of human beings on planet earth, where even a trip to their local shop would earn a couple of column inches in publications across the globe. It seemed like a no-brainer for director Martin Brest to cast the two of them in his gangster movie 'Gigli' - one was a bankable Hollywood star, the other was *cough* J-Lo. What resulted, however, is often lauded as one of the downright worst films ever to have been vomited up by the film industry and Lopez's atrocious performance was at the root of it all.
Britney Spears - 'Crossroads'
Back in the early 2000's pre-meltdown Britney Spears was arguably the biggest pop star on the face of the earth. She had already conquered the pop charts quite significantly, her bank balance was the equivalent of the GDP of a small country and all that was left was to embark on a career in the silver screen and the Oscars would surely follow. That was the plan, anyway. Brit's film career was dead in the water from the get-go, as evidenced by the steaming lump of sh*te that was 'Crossroads'. The film aimed to capitalise on her family-friendly image, showing the pop princess 'find herself' on a cross country jaunt across the United States. All she ended up finding was that whatever talent she has for the music industry could not easily be transferred to the movie biz.
Vanilla Ice - 'Cool As Ice'
The thing about 'Cool As Ice' is that, at numerous points throughout its production, a large set of people thought that this would be a good idea. The film had a screenwriter and a director, and a whole other team of people whose actual jobs it was to be able to make decent, coherent movies. Somewhere along the line though, something went wrong. Thinking about it now, it was probably the moment when some guy with more money than sense said, "let's get that Vanilla Ice guy into a movie" and then proceeded to make phone calls and write cheques. These days Ice does voiceovers for commercials and hangs out with Jedward, so it's probably fair to say that his film career didn't work out like he had hoped.
Elvis Presley - 'Harum Scarum'
Elvis Presley actually made some pretty decent movies in his day but Harum Scarum certainly wasn't one of them. The King plays Johnny Tyrone, a movie star who heads to the Middle East on a promotional trip and ends up marrying the King's daughter (as you do), stabilising a corrupt government and brings the Princess and a bunch of her mates back to Vegas where they get married and have a big ol' dance party. That's literally the plot to this movie.
50 Cent - 'Get Rich or Die Tryin''
We imagine that the extent of the pre-production meetings for 50 Cent's semi-autobiographical flick basically consisted of people saying different variations of "hey, this worked for Eminem " to each other over and over but clearly failed to consider the fact that a) Fiddy can't really act and b) Fiddy doesn't have fantastic diction, so his dialogue all ends up like him sounding he's leaving a very deliberate message on his grandmother's answering machine.
All of the Spice Girls - 'Spice World'
Spice World was intended to be a light-hearted romp in the same vein as The Beatles' A Hard Day's Night but the producers clearly made the criminal error of pre-supposing that the public fervour for the Spice Girls was in any way akin to that of Beatlemania. The fact that the flick featured a range of cameos from British celebrities who went on to be publically vilified for a range of different reasons like Michael Barrymore and Gary Glitter further displays the bad omens associated with this best forgotten cinematic disaster.
Bob Dylan - 'Masked & Anonymous'
Bob Dylan is a lot of things; singer, musician, poet, songwriter but an actor he is not. Dylan has appeared in a range of films throughout his career so far, perhaps as a nod to the film stars of the early 60's who were his heroes when he was finding his feet in New York City. Dylan co-wrote Masked & Anonymous alongside 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' scribe Larry Charles, who successfully managed to pen a script without an ounce of the charm that he bestowed upon 'Curb'. Dylan eventually did win an Oscar for Best Song down the line but it's safe to say that he'll never be nominated among the acting categories.
Madonna - 'Swept Away'
Madonna is a curious entrant to this list because she's actually made some decent movies, namely 'Evita' and a 'A League of Her Own' but even those above average performances don't diminish the memories of her appearance in stinkers 'Body of Evidence' and, particularly, 'Swept Away'. The latter seemed to be on relatively solid ground, given that it was directed by Madge's then-husband Guy Ritchie who was coming off the critically acclaimed 'Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrells' and 'Snatch'. Oh how wrong we were. The story centred around Madonna being a stuck-up arsehole who gets washed up on a desert island and we have to watch her flounder about for two hours before she learns something, anything, about herself.
Mariah Carey - 'Glitter'
'Glitter' has the dubious honour of being remembered as one of the absolute worst films ever made. The flick, which follows Mariah Carey's Billie Frank in her attempt to hit the pop charts, follows pretty much every saccharine movie cliché imaginable, all to the soundtrack of Mariah Carey's impossibly annoying falsetto whine. In fact, we could have spent this entire article listing off in great details the myriad ways in which 'Glitter' failed miserably in its attempt to even resemble a coherent movie, leaning heavily on the non-existent acting talents of Mariah Carey to anchor it. There really isn't much you can say in the film's favour but at least it ends at some point, that's a plus we suppose.
Rihanna - 'Battleship'
Let's be honest here, Rihanna's acting debut in Peter Berg's 'Battleship' won't sit very highly on her CV when all is said and done mostly because the flick was, well, brutal. Rihanna plays a marine who is tasked with destroying some vengeful aliens who decide attack earth for some reason. Big mistake, aliens. Rihanna basically chews bubble gum and shoots guns and blurts out deep, intense dialogue like "If you did, it was only in reference to the fact that you both project great physical intensity, sir" and "Fire control's offline. I need three minutes." It's practically Shakespearean...