. 10 Awesome Acting Performances By Famous Music Stars |

Sep 29 2008

10 Awesome Acting Performances By Famous Music Stars

Published by at 5:13 am under Movies

Singer Actors

Just the other day I watched the movie Slingblade.  First of all, it was a fantastic movie.  Second of all, do you realize how good Dwight Yoakam was in that?  I mean think about how you much you absolutely must have hated that character.  Well if you’re a normal person you did.  And that hatred tells me how good his performance was.

And that got me thinking. What other famous music stars did great acting jobs in movies? And I’m not talking bit parts here.  I’m talking real deal acting.

Here are 10 performances that I thought were worthy of a mention.

Cher in Moonstruck

Singer Actors

This is the obvious choice as Cher won an Oscar for playing Loretta Castorini in this great romantic comedy.  Who could forget the most memorable line of the movie “Snap out of it!”  She was also great in Mask.

Dwight Yoakam in Slingblade

Singer Actors

I’ve never hated a character more than Dwight Yoakam’s drunk, pathetic, evil character Doyle in Slingblade.  I personally think this is one of, if not best performances of a first time actor.  He was truly awesome as a prick boyfriend/potential stepdad.

Justin Timberlake in Alpha Dog

Singer Actors

You gotta hand it to the multi-talented Timberlake for his skills.  Not only can the guy sing, dance, and have his own clothing line.  The guy can definitely act.  His skills were on display in Alpha Dog as Frankie Ballenbacher.  The scene where they are about to shoot the kid?  He was awesome.

Puff Daddy in Monster’s Ball

Singer Actors

Oh excuse me, Sean Combs.  I personally thought his portayal as convicted murderer Lawrence Hargrove was excellent.  He wasn’t in the movie for that many minutes but you definitely felt his fear as he is facing execution.

Ice Cube in Boyz in the Hood

Singer Actors

“Either they don’t know, don’t show, or don’t care about what’s going on in the hood.”  Enough said.  Ice Cube was the man in this classic.

Mos Def in Something the Lord Made

Singer Actors

I think Mos Def could easily just be an actor instead of rapper/musician and have an extremely successful career.  If anyone ever saw the made for HBO movie Something the Lord Made they’ll know what I’m talking about.  His portrayal as medical technician Vivien Thomas was spot on.

Tim McGraw in Friday Night Lights

Singer Actors

McGraw nailed his role as the abusive drunk father Charles Billingsley who clinged to his football past in Friday Night Lights.  Man that scene when he walked in on his kid messing around with his girlfriend?  Crazy when he puts the tape on him.  Great stuff.   You barely know it’s Tim McGraw.

Eminem in 8 Mile

Singer Actors

You have to admit, 8 Mile was definitely a good movie.  I loved Kim Basinger as the mom and who can forget the sex scene in the factory? But in all honesty I think that for what the movie was, Eminem made the most of that role.  Job well done.

Ludacris in Hustle and Flow or Crash

Singer Actors

Interesting in that both movies he’s with Terrence Howard.  Obviously they must work pretty well together.   I particularly liked him as rapper Skinny Black in Hustle and Flow.  He played the drunk part to a T.

David Bowie in The Prestige

Singer Actors

It actually took me some time to realize that Bowie was the guy playing electronic genius Tesla in The Prestige.  He had a great accent and you definitely caught his eerie vibe.   You could also vote for his performance in Labyrinth.  He was a solid villain.  Overall I think Bowie is a very good actor.

Honorable Mention:

Meatloaf in Fight Club - nothing amazing but definitely worth a mention.

Mark Wahlberg in Fear – put it this way, he was still Marky Mark at this time.  Fear put him on the map as an actor.

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111 responses so far

  • Babar

    Sting in Dune.

  • http://yepyep.gibbs12.com gibbs12

    mcgraw was terrible in friday night lights

  • bryan

    bowie was better in labyrinth

  • different bryan

    Gavin Rossdale in Constantine

  • Nicole

    How about David Bowie in The Man Who Fell To Earth?

  • Rita

    8 Mile sucked and Eminem sucked in it. Horrible movie, horrible acting.

  • daniel

    2nd Sting in Dune… awe-some.


  • skeener

    i think meatloaf in fight club should be elevated. not to mention he was in freaking rocky horror.

  • Danny

    Let me throw this one out there…

    Prince or Morris Day in Purple Rain?

    Is it me or did Bowie look like Pierce Brosnan in that movie…

  • Martin

    How about Frank Sinatra? I don’t know to much about old black and whites but he was in a ton of them and I believe he might have one an oscar.

  • Daniel Almada

    oh, c’mon…

    Nobody mentions Bjork in “dancing in the dark”….? That’s an awesome performance…

  • Adam

    ummm what about Tom Waits in Bram Stoker’s Dracula?

    i was shocked that wasn’t on here. and Ludacris in crash? seriously?

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  • http://www.airhammersite.co.uk/new-album/ New Album: AirHammer

    I was really impressed with Jack White in “Cold Mountain”

    I have have always been a big fan of the White Stripes and it was amazing to me that a guy from such a strange cult band could make it into main stream cinema! (But i guess they are massive now.)

    From what I can guess they chose him for the part because he could bring a lot of integrity and knowledge to the music. He has a library in his mind when it come to recording techniques and old music.

    He acting was also quite good.

    Although I was not happy with the movie; taking me through three hours of war only to end in tragedy!



  • http://www.tonystreet.com tony

    uh..jered leto in requiem for a dream?

  • http://julianarey.blogspot.com Sigfa

    Hey! How about David Bowie in Labyrinth?!?!?!?!?!

  • Jing Po

    I would vote for Roger Daltry in Tommy. Amazing performance

  • Jason

    I can’t believe I didn’t notice that it was David Bowie. I see it now, but, it just never occurred to me while watching o.o I wasnt a fan of 8 Mile either, and Eminem was essentially playing himself in every way….so no real showmanship of his acting chops. But that’s me, it just wasn’t my kind of film. And as for Jared Leto in Requiem, I preferred him in American Psycho =]

    “Hey Paul!”

  • jay

    Madonna in DickTracey :D

  • Matt

    What about David Bowie in The Last Temptation of Christ where he played Pontious Pilot?

  • Matt

    …. or Pontius Pilate when I spell properly.

  • chieena

    How about Courtney Love in ‘The People Vs Larry Flynt’. I also agree with Daniel’s post about Bjork in ‘Dancer in the Dark’.

  • David

    What about will smith? he was a rapper to begin with after all, and still does some music…

  • PinheadX

    Jared Leto isn’t a musician who acts, he’s an actor who does music. BIG difference.

    He started out acting. His musical career only started after the movies you guys are mentioning. Definitely after “My So Called Life”.

    and he wasn’t good in those movies… RFAD sucked (most depressing ending for a depressing movie ever), and Fight Club he was hardly in and barely spoke.

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  • Poison3k

    I am sorry, but Timberlake was awful in Alpha Dog, he just ruined the movie saying ‘dawg’ all the time, he just looked uncomoftable the whole time.

    A bit like Christian Bale in street kings, even though he is one of my favorite actors, that role just didn’t suit him and he couldn’t pull off when he had to be ‘one of the dawgs’ and all that crap.

  • Akrid

    That was David Bowie? no waaaay

  • Meg

    How about Mark Walburg (sp?) AKA “Marky Mark” (sp,again)

  • TalG

    Let’s not forget Tina Turner in “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome”. She definitely helped make that movie. (I don’t count her performance in Tommy, as that was intentionally a rock film to start.)

  • D

    How about Harry Connick Jr in Copycat? I thought he had a great performance

  • sricks

    What about Keith Richards in Pirates 3? Sure it was a corny movie, and he didn’t have a lot of lines, but I think Keef would make a great pirate even without makeup and costumes.

  • Jawesome

    Good list….You could have made a lot more friends if you would have made this a top 20…. :-) Mos Def was awesome in Something the Lord Made, excellent call maybe a top 3 performance (for the list).
    I agree that Tom Waits should be on here….
    What about David Johansen (aka Buster Poindexter) in Scrooged? Or Screamin’ Jay Hawkins in Mystery Train?

  • kingston

    Man Who Fell to Earth.
    Man Who Fell to Earth.
    Man Who Fell to Earth.
    Man Who Fell to Earth.
    Man Who Fell to Earth.

    Bowie was good in that too…

  • Chris

    How about Steve Vai as Jack Butler in Crossroads?? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CAJtu2nHLw&feature=related

  • JoBob

    Wow terrible performance by almost all. Not sure what you consider good acting but most of this was terrible. Terrible list, pretty much the musicians this douche listens to.

  • Adel

    Dave Matthews in House.

  • boozinf

    Sinatra in the original Manchurian Candidate is hard to beat.

    Also, Bowie does a pretty great Andy Warhol in Basquiat.

    Ed Kowalczyk has a great cameo as a waiter in Fight Club.

  • Doug

    Ringo in “The Magic Christian”.

  • gfahey

    How about music performances by acting stars?

    Val Kilmer in The Doors. Fantastic IMO.

    Back on subject:

    Gregg Allman in “Rush” (not exactly awesome but, cool to see him anyways)

    Mick Jagger in “Performance”

    Courtney Love in “People VS Larry Flynt”

  • Mister_niles

    Come on now. The guys from Spandau Ballet in The Crays. Now that was great.

  • JJ

    Duh…Bette Midler in “The Rose”…INCREDIBLE performance!!

  • Jamison

    Im amazed at how many people bring up Jared Leto. Look up My So Called Life. Great series from 1994, Jared Leto was an actor way before being a crappy musician.

  • http://video.yahoo.com Kent

    For my money? Tom Waits in ‘Down By Law.’

  • Phil

    Ronee Blakley in ‘Nashville’ ….awesome.

  • U forgot

    J Lo…… In Selena, Money Train, The one with clooney and hes a prison escape and that last boring one with robert redford

  • Christopher Johnson

    DUDE! I love the idea of this list, but really you missed the best performance of a musician in any movie hands down:

    Dexter Gordon in ‘Round Midnight.

    I also agree that Tom Waits and Bjork are glaring omissions.

  • andy

    tom petty in costner’s “The Postman”

  • MikeW

    No, I DON’T have to admit 8 Mile was an awesome movie – because it was only “okay” at best. Better word choice needed there.

  • http://www.warclimb.com Javi-S

    Oooor…. Sting on Lock and Stock and two Smoking Barrels

  • Mark

    Art Garfunkel in “Bad Timing”

    David Bowie in “The Man Who Fell to Earth”

    Mick Jagger in “Performance”

    Incidentally, they’re all Nic Roeg films.

  • wu tang

    yo the rza in american gangster, hes fuckin sick in it

  • Chuck

    Roger Daltrey in McVicar
    Mick Jager in Ned Kelly
    Both brilliant, and I will not mention the Phil Collins in Buster cause that hurts to much to recall

  • Paul

    This list should have had multiple appearances by Mos Def rather than any appearances by Eminem and Ice Cube.

  • nutterbutter

    I played Pontius Pilate in the seventh grade in the Passion Play. There weren’t enough boys in the class for all the male roles and Mr. Meyer said he thought I was mature and talented enough to handle the responsibility of the part.

    I wash my hands.

  • jon

    jack white in cold mountain.

  • Anon

    Don’t forget Tupac Shakur in “Juiced” alongside Omar Epps.

  • Glenn

    Huh? what happend to DMX in Exit wounds ?
    That should be way up, no doubt that Will smith is so good,
    people forget he can sing.

  • http://www.seattleinnovativdesign.com Lowell Henderson

    Diana Ross in Lady Sings the Blues

  • Stewart

    My Top five:

    Bowie in “Labyrinth”
    Bon Jovi in “Pay it Forward”
    Tom Waits in “Mystery Men”
    Snoop Dogg in “Soul Plane”
    Vanilla Ice in “Cool as Ice”

  • Robert

    As horrible as it was, Mos Def was better in “Hitchhikers Guide” and what about him with Bruce Willis in “16 Blocks”?

  • Byron Barnes

    Is there anybody out there over twenty.What about the old greats like Sinatra in From here to Eternity and Von Ryans Express and Sachmo and Crosby in High Society.

  • ¿que?

    keith richards for pirates
    tom waits in general definitely for ‘down by law’
    jack black for high fidelity in particular (though he could be considered actor turned musician)
    sinatra for manchurian canidate

  • donald

    Didn’t Mos Def go to school for acting before dropping out to rap? So he was planning on being an actor before someone told him he was dope and he focused on music.

  • http://url.ie/h1b?976303084 web

    Good list but they missed Mark Wahlberg’s performances in either Departed or Boogie Nights.

  • keiko

    Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar for her first movie performance ever after losing in American Idol. Why is she not the first name on people’s lips?

  • Mel Max

    Pierce Brosnan wishes he was as hot as Bowie.

  • Al

    Mos Def was an actor who went into rapping. He was in a few movies and shoes before he starting professionally making music. He was on the Cosby Mysteries, a hilariously horrible show.

  • Val

    Jon Bon Jovi(i know)


    You know you loved it…

  • Cyrious Garnetski

    And how about Dean Martin in Toys in the Attic? Or Bing Crosby in Bells of Saint Mary? Where is the mention of Mario Lanza? Or Elvis even! Then too there’s Frankie.


  • David

    Courtney Love in “People v. Larry Flynt”

    That would be my #1. She was amaaaazing, almost too perfect.

  • nick

    Justin Timberlake is one of the worst actors of all time. Black Snake Moan would have been one of the best films ever produced if he didn’t ruin it. The fact that you have him in Alpha Dog on this list removes all credibility. No more lists from you. The only think I remember about that movie is when they talk about who took a shit in the iddle of the floor for 15 minutes. It is a terrible movie that was perfect for timberlake’s terrible acting. i simply cannot believe you have him on this list. you must be girl or something. maybe gay.

  • Pete

    It’s only one scene, but Donnie Wahlberg was downright chilling in the Sixth Sense.

  • sysuphus

    willie nelson…red-headed stranger…honeysuckle rose?

  • Amon

    Marc Anthony in Man on Fire.

  • http://www.benspictureoftheday.com Ben

    I forgot all about DJ Marky Mark! I don’t really like him much, although he was good in the departed.

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  • Phil

    Both James Taylor and Dennis Wilson in ‘Two Lane Blacktop’!

  • David

    marc antony in bringing out the dead.

  • Meg

    Has anyone mentioned Whitney Houston in “The Body Guard” ?

  • SirLowKey

    Joan Jett in Light of Day!

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  • nt

    thumbs down for timberlake being on the list

  • Daniel

    Tupac was good in quite a few movies, but none as good as him and Tim Roth in Gridlock’d. They play 2 heroin junkies, trying to kick but they can’t get into rehab because of the medical and insurance red tape and beuracracy that goes with it. VERY good flick.

  • talon

    did you just imdb a bunch of “Famous Music Stars” have a monkey watch the movies for you. Or do you just like bad movies enough to blog about it while masturbating

  • Natty

    All of the above Talon. You’re a real badass.

  • Viktor

    you all are fuckers!!! iggy was the best in the “dead man”

  • Kendra



    (PS: good lord I am kidding.)

  • a

    timberlake blows

  • n/a

    christian bale is def not in street kings

  • Jovan

    2pac in Juice
    Jill Scott in Why did I get married?
    Janet Jackson in Poetic Justice
    Will Smith in The Pursuit of Happyness
    Ice T in New Jack City
    LL Cool J in In Too Deep
    Aaliyah in Romeo Must Die
    Bow Wow in Roll Bounce
    Dr. Dre/ Macy Gray in Training Day

  • http://www.swamilee.com Lee

    What about Vanilla Ice in COOL AS ICE? He played a white rapper with street knowledge. “You Kat, word to the wise, drop the zero and get wit’ the hero!”

  • Bob

    Well, good thing you’re not a critic. I don’t think any of the actors you listed was even nominated for an Oscar.

  • CinnamonSPider

    Marilyn Manson in Party Monster, Lost Highway and Jawbreaker

  • Alice

    Mos Def also played Ford Prefect in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy movie. He was AWESOME.
    and i know of 2 movies where Ice Cube was terrible. Disney’s “Are We There Yet?” and “Are We Done Yet?”

  • Coronaboy

    George Strait – Pure Country
    John Mellencamp – Falling From Grace
    Henry Rollins – The Chase
    Mandy Moore – A Walk To Remember
    Joan Jett – Light of Day
    James Taylor & Dennis Wilson – Two Lane Blacktop

  • http://cwavrecording.tk Scartx

    Sting was also in a great thriller called – Brimstone and Treacle.

    Check it out!!

  • Rodriguez

    Ice Cube was brilliant in Boyz In Da Hood…Poor article

  • Leboutaine

    I agree with Pinhead. Leto isn’t a musician more than an actor, he’s definitely the latter. The fact is, Leto has been voted the most attractive human being on the planet, been in so many cult films, and has a very successful band. He’s just ridiculously talented.

    And by the way, some truly awful choices and wayward opinions. You should really refine your opinions on what films/actors are decent! Next you’ll be saying Catwoman, Disaster Movie and similar films were just great! You may as well love Gigli for all it’s worth.

    Get a grip.

  • antoinette

    queen latifa (sp?)…. she started out as a singer

  • http://www.allansmusic.com.au/Pianos/Brands-Kawai.aspx kawai

    nice bit of information!! Some of the movies were good other not so much but the musicians did well enough. thumbs up on su!!

  • assface

    Dwight Yoakam ~ ‘Sling Blade’, ‘Banditas’- Could easily have started in movies

    Ice Cube ~ ‘Boyz’, ‘Fridays’, etc.,- What can I say? F’n AWSOME!

    Bowie ~ Anything he touches turns to gold!

    Mark Walberg ~ ‘Basketball Diaries’, ‘Perfect Storm’, ’4 Bro’s', etc.,- Should have gone for acting first. I love this guy!

    SNOOP ~ ‘Training day’- Short part but F’N KILLER!

    Ludacris ~ I think this man could do ANYthing given the chance.

    Timberlake ~ I seriously believed it. Potential

    Tim McGraw ~ ‘Friday Night Lights’- Love to hate this character; T.M. can ACT!

    Tom Petty ~ ‘The Postman’- GREAT!, I’d love to see him in more flix.

    Anthony Kiedes ~ ‘Point Break’- Not the greatest but F’N funny!

    Flea ~ ‘Big Lebowski’- Funny and could be just a good actor.

    Henry Rollins ~ ‘Heat’, (and so many other things), Pretty damn good for such short rolls.

    RZA ~ Derailed’- Kick ass as ‘Winston’

    Zack Wylde ~ ‘Rock Star’- Pretty damn good!

    Heres a bit of a twist for ya; How about an actor singing ~ Tim Curry as ‘Sweet Transvestite’ in ‘TRHPS’- His voice is AMAZING in this!

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  • eiwob

    Bowie in Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence

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  • Steve Dave

    Seriously? Justin Timberlake, Puff Daddy, Tim McGraw, Eminem? Terrible List. I agree with whoever said Bowie was better in Labrinyth. Bowie fucking rocked that movie.

  • drx1

    I think its funny when people try to pick apart bad acting … frequently I think they are 13 year old boys … or have a mind of one. Typically these people lack imagination or experience … sometimes both. Often they just say, ‘the acting sucked’ … or whatever. Well with Eminem, he did pretty much play himself, maybe if he gets another part, not playing himself, he’ll show us his real talent? I wouldn’t call what he did bad, but it does take some talent.

    Requiem for a Dream was good … and probably very realistic, which is why is was kind of depressing at the end, but that does not make it a bad movie in any way. When all movies are happy, that would really be depressing!

    People are not often able to separate the person (actors or musican’s) image from the roll they are playing … which is odd. I would wager if the star (music star, hollywood star… etc…) were unknown to the public, that said rolls may get more praise. And sometimes the roll is about what you don’t say.

    Bowie in The Prestige was killer … though it was a small part, it was well done.

  • itsmeklaus

    Tricky in Fifth Element

  • http://www.bayanbakim.com suna dumankaya

    Sting was also in a great thriller called – Brimstone and Treacle…

  • Bev

    Wasn’t Eminem playing himself in 8 mile? How is that acting?

    And how about Will Smith in pretty much anything he’s done?

  • Your Troll

    Henry Rollins in Johnny Mnemonic.



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