Carrie UnderwoodJennifer Hudson set the bar very high for American Idol contestants. Hudson may not have won the competition, but she earned a singing career and then won an Academy Award for Dreamgirls, her big screen acting debut. Carrie Underwood won American Idol in 2005 and promptly blazed a trail to country music stardom. Now she wants to make movies too.

Instead of appearing in a splashy, big-budget musical, however, Underwood will take on a supporting role in the indie drama Soul Surfer, reports Variety. Based on the true story of teen surfing champion Bethany Hamilton, who had one of her arms bitten off by a shark, Soul Surfer stars Anna Sophia Robb (Race to Witch Mountain) as Hamilton, with Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt as her surfing parents. Filming has begun in Hawaii under the direction of Sean McNamara (3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain, Bratz).

Hamilton's religious faith is clearly very important to her -- she even has a "Daily Devotional" on the front page of her web site -- so Underwood's supporting role as a church youth leader is likely to be an important one. Underwood's a gifted musical performer, and while that doesn't ensure commensurate acting talent, this sounds like a good role for her to get her feet wet. Maybe she'll sing a song or two. And, hey, it's gotta be better than From Justin to Kelly, right?