10 Pop Stars Who Attempted Movie Careers
Pop stars adding hyphens to their lists of talents — as in, singer-dancer-actor — are pretty common. What’s not so common? Being successful at it. Carrying a tune doesn’t always cross over into the ability to carry a movie, and pop stars have had mixed success in their marquee endeavors.
Check out these 10 pop stars who attempted big screen stardom … and see who made it and who bombed.
Madonna actually made her first movie in 1979 before she even got signed to a record label — but the low budget flick, ‘A Certain Sacrifice,’ was shelved until 1985 when she hit it big with her debut album (and she tried to prevent its release, which tells you something). Since then, Madonna’s film career has been a bit of a critical roller coaster ride.
In 1985, she starred in the critically and commercially successful ‘Desperately Seeking Susan.’ Next came ‘Shanghai Surprise’ with now ex-husband Sean Penn, which was a critical and commercial flop, as were ‘Who’s That Girl’ and ‘Bloodhounds of Broadway.’
In 1990, Madonna got rave reviews for her performance as Breathless Mahoney in Warren Beatty’s film adaptation of ‘Dick Tracy,’ then more good marks for her role in ‘A League of Their Own’ in 1992.
Following the backlash of her controversial ‘Sex’ book in 1993, her erotic thriller ‘Body of Evidence’ failed to impress critics or crowds. It wasn’t until 1996 that Madonna was back in critics’ and audiences’ good graces with ‘Evita,’ for which she nabbed a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy and Academy Award for Best Song for ‘You Must Love Me’ — and for which she’d trained vocally and theatrically.
Unfortunately, the glow faded pretty quickly, and Madge’s next roles in ‘The Next Best Thing’ and ‘Swept Away’ were panned. As she always does, however, we bet Madonna will rise up again and wow us soon enough.
Justin Timberlake‘s foray into film has been more successful than that of many of his peers. He started as Jason in the TV movie ‘Model Behavior’ and had bit parts and cameos before making his big screen debut in 2005’s ‘Edison,’ playing a reporter named Josh Pollock alongside A-listers like John Cusack and Morgan Freeman. He followed up in 2006 with ‘Alpha Dog,’ playing a minder to a drug dealer’s hostage, then joined the ensemble cast of ‘Southland Tales.’ Later that year, he held his own against Christina Ricci and Samuel L. Jackson in ‘Black Snake Moan,’ playing an abusive boyfriend. His material was decidedly lighter following that role, taking on a voiceover for Artie in ‘Shrek the Third’ and the lead of Jacques in the Mike Myers’ vehicle ‘The Love Guru.’
When the latter bombed and Timberlake’s next film, ‘The Open Road,’ received a limited release, his box office clout was called into question. He nipped naysayers in the bud by playing Napster founder Sean Parker in 2010’s smash ‘The Social Network,’ Boo Boo in ‘Yogi Bear,’ and nabbing lead roles in 2011’s ‘Bad Teacher,’ ‘Friends With Benefits’ and ‘In Time.’ He even held his own against Clint Eastwood in ‘Trouble With the Curve!’
Soon, Timberlake will star alongside Ben Affleck in ‘Runner Runner’ and Carey Mulligan in ‘Inside Llewyn Davis.’
Christina Aguilera only has two feature films under her belt. After a bit role playing herself in ‘Get Him to the Greek,’ she starred alongside none other than Cher in ‘Burlesque.’ The film wasn’t a box office powerhouse, but her powerhouse pipes and sexy dance moves helped make it a cult hit.
After an uncredited cameo in Snoop and Dr. Dre’s ‘The Wash’ in 2001, Eminem went on to star in the critically and audience acclaimed ‘8 Mile,’ a semi-autobiographical look at his life. The movie, released in 2002, takes place in 1995. His character, Jimmy ‘B-Rabbit’ Smith was based on himself in his 20s, chronicling his humble beginnings in Detroit and early struggles in the rap game. Oh, and it also produced the smash hit ‘Lose Yourself.’ You may have heard that song once. Or like, a million times.
Remember ‘Crossroads?’ We bet Britney Spears wishes you didn’t … but when given the options of that movie or, say, her 2007 MTV Video Music Awards performance of ‘Gimme More,’ we bet this is a pretty fond memory for her.
Queen Bey got her first starring role in the 2001 MTV hip-hop adaptation of ‘Carmen,’ then went on to star as the truly foxy Foxxy Cleopatra in ‘Austin Powers in Goldmember’ with Mike Myers and an iconic afro in 2002. In 2003, she followed up as Lilly in ‘The Fighting Temptations,’ a role that also showed off her bey-utiful voice.
She took time off of movies until 2006, when she starred as Xania in ‘The Pink Panther,’ then famously as Deena Jones in ‘Dreamgirls’ alongside Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy. In 2008, Beyonce starred as Etta James in ‘Cadillac Records,’ a portrayal which James herself alternately praised and panned.
In 2009, Beyonce got truly (Sasha) fierce for her lead role as Sharon in ‘Obsessed,’ where she kicks the crap out of Ali Larter. She channeled her softer side in the 2013 animated epic ‘Epic,’ in which she voiced Queen Tara … but we love her the most as Sharon.
Riding her Black Eyed Peas and solo success, Fergie starred in 2006’s ‘Poseidon’ as a lounge singer on a sinking ship. She followed up with a role in ‘Planet Terror’ in ‘Grindhouse’ in 2007, then voiced a hippo in 2008’s ‘Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa’ and Jezebel in 2010’s ‘Marmaduke.’ Her most memorable role, however, was as an Italian hooker in 2009’s ‘Nine.’
Chris Brown had a breakout role in 2007’s ‘Stomp the Yard’ as Duron, then starred as Michael ‘Baby’ Whitfield in the holiday drama ‘This Christmas’ the same year. His next two movies, ‘Into the Woods’ and ‘Blood Rogues,’ went straight to video. He came back in the 2010 heist drama ‘Takers,’ then in 2012’s Steve Harvey-based romcom ‘Think Like a Man.’
His next movie, ‘Battle of the Year,’ focuses on a dance competition — a role we bet he’ll nail.
Mother Monster is making her movie debut as La Chameleon in ‘Machete Kills.’ She impressed Robert Rodriguez so much that he offered her yet another role in his new flick, a sequel to ‘Sin City.’
The most successful of the list, Jennifer Hudson lost on ‘American Idol‘ but became a household name in 2006 with her star turn as Effie White in ‘Dreamgirls.’ Not only did she nab an Oscar for the role, but she stole the show from Beyonce and beat out 782 other actresses (including ‘Idol’ winner Fantasia Barrino) for the part. That ain’t easy!
J-Hud went on to a bit part in 2008’s ‘Sex and the City’ film, followed by a role alongside Alicia Keys in ‘The Secret Life of Bees.’ She nabbed the title role of Winnie Mandela in 2011’s ‘Winnie,’ then lightened things up in 2012’s ‘The Three Stooges’ as Sister Rosemary. She’s got three more movies lined up: ‘The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete,’ ‘Lullaby’ and ‘Black Nativity.’