The Worst Musicians Turned Actors


In honor of the recent announcement that multi-platinum rapper Andre 3000 will be starring as Jimi Hendrix in a new biopic about the deceased rock star, we here at PAL would like to take some time to remember a few other musicians who chose to go where few have successfully gone before. Sure, Andre is no stranger to television or the big screen as the rapper has had his share of starring roles, but he’s no Will Smith as far as box office draw is concerned. All in all though, he’s not half bad, but for every Andre 3000 there are a dozen or so 50 Cents, in other words, people who should really keep their day jobs. Rather than naming some of the most successful musician to actor transitions, we will be bringing you some of the most memorably bad performances from artists that prove that success doesn’t always follow you everywhere you go. Read on and check out some of music’s worst tries at the not so kind world of acting. Although they’re pretty bad, rest assured that it’s not nearly as terrifying as the list of actors turned musicians. Anyone here remember “Respect Yourself” by Bruce Willis? Enough said.



Lance Bass in On the Line (2001)

Does anyone even remember the name of the movie this guy starred in (if it wasn’t already up there by his name)? Does anyone remember where this guy is from?? It might be because of his forgetful performances in both ‘N Sync and On the Line. Outshined by his former “bandmate” Justin Timberlake both on and off the screen, there was still a time when this guy actually commanded the hearts of several young ladies, although it wasn’t enough to make the movie On the Line a commercial hit, making only 4.2 million from the 10 million it cost Miramax Films to make, not to mention it pretty much bombed with the critics, scoring a paltry 19 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. More of a plug for the boy band than an actual try at making a good movie, but don’t take it from me; this is a small taste of what Roger Ebert had to say: “Just when you think a dating movie can't conceivably involve more impossible coincidences and idiot plot situations, along comes another movie to prove you wrong.”






50 Cent in Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2005)

Anything you can do, I can do better… right? Not so when you’re talking about formerly super-buff rapper Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson in relation to his boss and fellow MC turned actor (for one movie at least) Marshall “Eminem” Mathers. While Em’s foray into the big screen was by all means a success (garnering the Detroit native the No.1 movie, album AND single in the country at the same time), 50 Cent was not nearly as lucky or even as good of an actor. Compared to 8 Mile’s certified fresh score of 76 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, Get Rich or Die Tryin' didn’t even come close, with only 17 percent of critics finding the movie passable. Following the basic formula Mathers used for his film’s success, Get Rich or Die Tryin' is loosely based on the rappers life, albeit with plenty of artistic leeway, but unlike 8 Mile which was widely praised for its gritty realism and Em’s believable vulnerability, 50 Cent’s acting debut is marred by a flat performance and a story with no true coherent point or purpose.




Prince in Purple Rain (1984)

If there is anyone that can prove that you don’t need a great actor – or even a good one – in order to have an iconic and highly praised movie, it’s Prince. It might just be the time of the movie’s release or the fantastically ‘80s soundtrack, or even the well known tale of a young man trying to make it while trying to gain the respect of both society and family (in this case, his father), but one thing’s for sure, overall, Purple Rain was a pretty good movie – except for Prince’s acting. No, it wasn’t overtly bad or even terrible, but it was definitely flat compared to his actual-actor co-stars. Prince pretty much plays himself in the movie, and much like his onstage larger than life persona, his character in the film is just as mysterious and impersonal. Ultimately, the movie had everything where it counted; an overall great ‘80s cast bolstered by songs that are far more long-lasting than the film itself. Not so bad when you look at the other artists on this list, but compared to his skills on the big stage, he comes up short on the big screen.





Mick Jagger in Freejack (1992)

There is plenty you can say about the Rolling Stones’ front man; musical mastermind, lover of the ladies and all around proverbial rock and roller… but there is one thing you can’t say…and that’s that the guy’s a great actor. Those who were lucky enough to have seen Freejack will definitely know that he is assuredly not. The film is set in a futuristic 2009 where Jagger’s bounty hunter character Vacendak must capture the body of Emilio Estevez who plays a race car driver from the present (1991) so that his boss Anthony Hopkins can become immortal. Got all that? Yeah, you can imagine how all that went down. Not even performances from Rene Russo and Hopkins was enough to save this time traveling movie going straight to the bargain bin. The usually animated Jagger is stiff and awkward as the “bone-jacker” antagonist to Estevez’s hero, although it must be said that compared to Emilio, Jagger had his moments, although no one was screaming for Mick to get an Oscar for his performance. Hel Hinson of the Washington Post sums it up well: “You know you're in trouble when the cars in a science fiction movie look like those golf carts with football helmets on them. That's if the presence of Emilio Estevez wasn't already enough of a tip-off.”



Dishonorable Mentions

Britney Spears in Crossroads (2002)

Mariah Carey in Glitter (2001)

Rob Van “Vanilla Ice” Winkle in Cool as Ice (1991)

Sting in The Bride (1985)

John Lennon and Paul McCartney in A Hard Day’s Night (1964)

Elvis Presley in any of his 31 movies (seriously, take a look at any)

Jessica Simpson in The Dukes of Hazard (2005)

Dee Snider in Strangeland (1998)

Alanis Morissette in Dogma (1999)


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