CATEGORIES Hot TopicWhile I certainly won't deny that many (if not most) pop stars should stick to singing and leave the acting to people who can, um, act, you must admit that there are a few examples of singers who really are double threats. My colleague Kevin Polowy looked at the flip side in his post '5 Reasons Pop Stars Shouldn't Make Movies,' and now I want to give the topic a positive spin -- because that's just the kind of gal I am. While I certainly won't deny that many (if not most) pop stars should stick to singing and leave the acting to people who can, um, act, you must admit that there are a few examples of singers who really are double threats. My colleague Kevin Polowy looked at the flip side in his post '5 Reasons Pop Stars Shouldn't Make Movies,' and now I want to give the topic a positive spin -- because that's just the kind of gal I am.
Bubblegum singers have been turning up in movies and TV shows since Elvis Presley churned out films at an alarming rate in his early career. And if you look back, you'll see some mega-popular musicians who were also accomplished actors, like crooner Frank Sinatra, who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance in the classic 'From Here to Eternity,' and the eternally youthful Cher, who also won an Oscar, for her performance in the not-as-classic 'Moonstruck.' (If only we could turn back time, we'd try to stop her from having all that plastic surgery and convince her to keep acting.)
Here, then, is my list of five reasons why pop stars should act.
1. Mariah Carey in 'Precious' (2009): The songstress with a multi-octave range may just have some range as an actress too. She's near unrecognizable in the gritty indie originally titled 'Push,' that was, hands down, the best reviewed flick out of last year's Sundance Film Festival. Maybe she's repenting for the godawful 'Glitter' or getting acting tips from her young hubby, the surprisingly versatile Nick Cannon. In any case, keep it up, Mimi.
2. Justin Timberlake in 'Alpha Dog' (2006), 'Black Snake Moan' (2006), 'Open Road' (2009): Who'da thunk a former Mickey Mouse Clubber-turned-boy bander would have such impressive acting chops? He's yet to find a part in a money-making movie (save for voice work in the 'Shrek' franchise), but JT is slowly and effectively building up his cinematic resume while making splashier turns hosting and guesting on 'SNL' and continuing to bring the sexy back to dance clubs across the nation.
3. Mandy Moore in 'Saved' (2004), 'American Dreamz' (2006): The former tween bubblegum pop star's all grown up; she's even married now (to quirky alt-popster Ryan Adams). But on screen, we enjoy Mandy as a vacuous -- or, as the case may be, vicious -- teen. In 'Saved' and 'American Dreamz,' both underrated and under-seen biting comedies, Moore proves she can rise to the level of her material. That goes the other way too, i.e., she underwhelms in less-than-stellar projects (we're looking at you, 'License to Wed').
4. Mark Wahlberg in 'Boogie Nights' (1997), 'The Departed' (2006): The artist formerly known as Marky Mark got his big break (emphasis on "big") in Paul Thomas Anderson's ensemble porn epic 'Boogie Nights.' From there Donnie's little bro has built a career that's seen its ups ('The Italian Job') and downs ('The Happening'). The highlight so far has to be Martin Scorsese's scorching thriller 'The Departed,' in which Wahlberg -- conveniently -- got to deploy his native Boston accent.
5. Jennifer Hudson in 'Dreamgirls' (2006): The 'Idol' also-ran proved that 'AI' voters got it wrong when she was nominated for -- and then won! -- a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her very first acting role, as Effie in the big-screen adaptation of the popular Broadway musical. Co-star and fellow diva-turned-thespian Beyonce could barely keep her well-manicured nails sheathed as the buzz for Hudson's awe-inspiring performance surpassed the publicity for B's own work. Maybe that's when Sasha Fierce started.