Lionsgate via Everett Collection
Performing is performing. ‘Nuff said. But there are different skills for singing and acting. You wouldn’t want a dance track by Patrick Stewart featuring Ian McKellan (okay, bad example, that sounds awesome). You also wouldn’t watch The English Patient with Justin Bieber. Or Apollo 13 with the boys from 98 Degrees. Or Crossroads with Britney Spears. But music artists like Mark Wahlberg, Queen Latifah, and Mandy Moore have all found great success by answering the call of the silver screen. Acting and singing are two different skills but some singers have managed to give some really amazing performances. Here are a few of our favorites.
Alecia Moore (Pink) in Thanks for Sharing
This heartfelt dramedy about sex addicts slipped under the radar. However, Pink’s performance shows that she’s more than just a singer... and acrobat. Her choice to use her real name to distinguish her acting from her music shows she’s serious. She plays a no-nonsense girl, which is pretty true to form, but she captures the humanity of the burden of sex addiction.
Mariah Carey in Precious
It’s hard to imagine the insanely high maintenance Carey without makeup. However, for her role in Precious, Carey abandoned her diva image in favor of playing a stern social worker. Carey’s acting abilities have incorrectly tied to the ill-fated flop Glitter. However, Carey is able to embody roles that are way more folksy and real than her media persona. Carey also deserves an honorable mention for her role in the film WiseGirls. The film is forgettable but her performance as a smart-mouthed waitress is impressive.
Cyndi Lauper in Vibes
Lauper rarely gets her due as an actress. She is an amazing performer and is only an Oscar away from EGOT-ing. Her thick New York accent puts her in that Joe Pesci category of actors who must play New Yorkers or Italian Americans. All the same, in the 1980s Lauper had top billing in a comedy about psychics starring Jeff Goldblum. The film did not do well box office wise but Lauper proves herself to be both compelling and funny.
Whitney Houston in Waiting to Exhale
It’s sad that Houston’s amazing talent is often eclipsed by her personal issues. Not only was she an amazing singer, she was a very gifted actress. Her role in this drama, based on the popular Terry McMillan novel, showcased not only her solid acting chops but also her ability to draw an audience. She was able to hold her own against the likes of Angela Bassett and Loretta Devine.
Diana Ross in Mahogany
Ross is an icon. Her songs are timeless. Her performance in this film is legendary. She plays a young girl who gets transformed into a supermodel with tons of booze and poor choices along the way. Plus, her love interests are Norman Bates and Lando Calrissian. Pop reference overload.
David Bowie in Labyrinth
Bowie’s performance in this bizarre children’s movie shaped a generation. They were either scared by goblins, engrossed in the music, or titillated by Bowie’s royal jewels visible in his tights. Bowie does deserve some credit for the acting challenge of performing exclusively with Muppets. Jennifer Connelly is one quarter Muppet, right?
Jennifer Hudson in Dreamgirls
Hudson earned an Oscar for her role in the film version of this popular musical. She has the pipes to sing the popular song “I Am Telling You.” She also has the ability to shine as the breakout star of this blockbuster. She is scrappy yet vulnerable, and proved to be the surprising highlight of this star-studded film.
Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur in Poetic Justice
Both Jackson and Shakur acting experience before Poetic Justice. Jackson did a lot of television shows like Fame and Diff’rent Strokes, which was an extension her squeaky clean pop star image. Shakur also kept his gangsta rap image for his role in Juice. Both actors stepped out of their comfort zones in this 1990s classic. Jackson opted for a harder exterior and a rougher neck. Shakur showed his softer side. Check out this clip that has enough F-bombs to rival Wolf of Wall Street.
Some girls have all the luck. Only four months after music giant EMI Group PLC paid Mariah Carey almost $30 million to end her contract, the pop songstress has landed a new deal.
Universal Music Group announced Wednesday that Carey will be starting her own record label, which will be distributed through its Island/Def Jam label group.
According to MTV.com, Carey is very happy about the deal, calling it a "tremendous and unprecedented opportunity." She is currently working on the yet-to-be-named label, but there is no word on when the LP will be released.
In April 2001, EMI signed a multimillion-dollar contract with Carey and agreed to give the singer a $20 million advance per album, a $6 million music-video production fund and about $1.5 million to promote four singles.
But in January, Carey received $28 million to walk away from her deal with EMI following the commercial flop of Glitter, which doubled as a soundtrack to her feature film debut. She also got to keep the $21 million advance she received when she signed the contract.
Although no monetary terms of her deal with Island/Def Jam have been disclosed, sources familiar with the pact told Reuters it is far below the estimated $80 million to $100 million that EMI's Virgin Records had originally agreed to pay Carey.
Carey, who was discovered by her former husband, Sony Music Entertainment chief Tommy Mottola, when she was 18 years old, is set to star in the upcoming film Wisegirls alongside Mira Sorvino.
Mira Sorvino is the beautiful Princess Leonide who falls in love with Agis (Jay Rodan) her sworn enemy. The story goes something like this: the Princess' family killed Agis' parents many years ago and appropriated his throne which the Princess inherited. Worried for Agis' safety the philosopher Hermocrates (Ben Kingsley) and his spinster sister Leontine (Fiona Shaw) took the tyke in and raised him in obscurity. Hermocrates has taught Agis to despise women--the Princess in particular (the handsome Agis even practices his archery skills on a wooden cutout of her). One day the Princess sees Agis romping around naked in the woods which apparently is enough to make her fall in love with him. Off she goes to his estate dressed up like a man and posing as a student of philosophy interested in Hermocrates' work in hopes of getting invited for a sojourn at their estate. But in order to get close to Agis she must first get into his surrogate family's good graces. What transpires is a hilarious comedy of errors as the Princess (and her new identity as Phocion) gets engaged to both Hermocrates and Leontine while she is hot on Agis' trail.
At first glance I thought Mira Sorvino (Wisegirls) was not entirely well cast as Princess Leonide because of her clumsy image but by the end of the film she had grown on me in this regal part. She is able to play both sexes quite convincingly thanks in large part to how 18th century men dressed: frilly shirts leggings hose and periwigs. Jay Rodan (The Caveman's Valentine) plays the sheltered Prince Agis and although he did a reasonable job it isn't memorable. Perhaps it's the lack of chemistry between Rodan and Sorvino but it seems as though any actor could have filled those princely shoes. As Leontine Fiona Shaw (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) is a little over-the-top with the old maid routine but still well suited for the role of the mad scientist type. The most impressive cast member is Ben Kingsley (Sexy Beast) in the role of Hermocrates. He encompasses the role of wise savant with a certain goofiness that makes his character secretly warm and charming.
The Triumph of Love is an adaptation of Pierre Marivaux's 1732 comedy by the same name. Because of the physical comedy needed to pull off this genre the film often walks a fine line between being expressive and cartoonish: the way Sorvino bows for example or how Shaw reacts to a declaration of love. However the story which starts off as flighty scheme that could actually never work takes an almost dark turn when Princess Leonide's plan begins to unravel bringing the film to a both tragic and comical ending. Director Clare Peploe adds the right artful touch with impressive costumes and authentic sets but spends a little too much time building the story and not enough on the film's outcome. There is also an interesting bit at the end when the characters hold hands take a bow and break out into song serving as a clever reminder that the film was originally set for the stage.
Elijah Wood (Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring), Franka Potente (Run Lola Run) and Mandy Moore (A Walk to Remember) are set to star in the romantic comedy Try Seventeen. According to Variety, the film centers on a young man who sets off for college but ends up learning more about life from the eccentric inhabitants of his apartment building. The project will be helmed by Jeffrey Porter and should begin shooting in March.
Kung fu film master Jackie Chan suffered a minor injury while performing a stunt during the shooting of a movie outside Bangkok, but was back on the set Tuesday. The Hong Kong actor bruised his face during the incident Monday, and was kept in a hospital for four hours, the Associated Press reports.
Sigourney Weaver has been cast in director Andrew Davis' (Collateral Damage) next film, Variety reports. Holes, about a young boy falsely accused of stealing a pair of sneakers and sent to a wayward camp for kids, is based on Louis Sachar's 1999 Newbery Award-winning kids' book. Weaver is set play a juvenile detention facility warden.
Following the lead of many movie and TV productions, NBC has announced that L.A. Law: Return to Justice will be shot north of the border in Vancouver, the L.A. Times reports. Lured by tax breaks and a low Canadian dollar, the L.A. Law reunion project, which brings together the original series cast (minus Jimmy Smits), is the latest Southern California production to be shot in Canada.
The American Red Cross has inducted Jane Seymour, who played a quasi-physician on the long-running series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, into their new Celebrity Cabinet. According to Britain's The Post, Seymour will focus her attention on childhood illnesses, especially measles, which is killing millions of children in Africa.
Proving that she's still "worth it," former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell has signed a $1 million deal to feature in a new international poster and TV campaign for cosmetics giant L'Oreal, reports Sky News. Halliwell joins the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Andie MacDowell, Claudia Schiffer and more recently, Destiny's Child singer Beyonce Knowles.
Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer denied Tuesday that an interview with talk show host Rosie O'Donnell had caused a rift between them, AP reports. In the interview, O'Donnell is expected to talk openly about her homosexuality for the first time. Sawyer landed the interview, which is set to air on ABC's Primetime Thursday on March 14.
Hank Williams, Jr. paid tribute to country icon Waylon Jennings, who died last week, during a sold-out Saturday night Grand Ole Opry performance at the Ryman Auditorium. It was his first appearance on the esteemed radio show in twenty years. In what may be the longest grudge in history, Williams has avoided the Opry not only because of the chilly reception he received the last time he appeared, but because the show fired his father, Hank Williams, Sr., in the 1950s.
Dawson's Creek veterans James Van Der Beek and Kerr Smith are both engaged-and no-not to each other. Van Der Beek, who plays Dawson Leary, proposed to actress Heather McComb, his girlfriend of two years, while Smith asked actress Ali Hillis to marry him. However, according to Ananova, neither of the cuties have immediate plans to wed.
Record labels have tapped into video games--and the latest recruit in this cross-promo trend is none other than pop princess Britney Spears. According to Rolling Stones magazine, interactive entertainment software developer THQ is releasing Britney's Dance Beat, a game where players get to select from a choice of dancers auditioning to be backup dancers on her tour. Get into the groove and you'll score points to move on to more complex tunes.
Oasis will release "The Hindu Times," their first new single in nearly two years on April 15, the band said in a statement posted on their Web site. The group first performed the track at a series of concerts late last year celebrating their 10th anniversary. It's the first song from the band's as yet untitled fifth studio album which scheduled for release in July.
Madonna has been nominated for the Les Paul Horizon Award at the Orville H Gibson Guitar Awards for her guitar playing. The singer is up against John Mayer, Pete Yorn, Michelle Branch and Chris Thomas King. For those of you who didn't know, Madonna actually played the guitar on her Drowned World Tour.
In a blow to small broadcast outfits that fear being squeezed out of the marketplace, the federal appeals court Tuesday threw out the FCC's regulation that prevents broadcast and cable operators from owning each other. The elimination of the TV cap enables companies like AOL Time Warner to acquire a major network like NBC.
Mariah's back for more.
After her favorable reviews in the Sundance Film Festival favorite Wisegirls, pop diva Mariah Carey will reteam with one of the film's producers, Anthony Esposito, for her next acting job in the independent film Sweet Science.
Carey will play an ambitious boxing manager who hooks up with an unknown but talented female boxer to try to make a name for them both.
"I had such a great experience with Mariah Carey on Wisegirls that I wanted to make another film with her," Esposito told Hollywood Reporter. "Her performance in Wisegirls is outstanding, with reviews from Sundance praising her work. I feel (that) given the right role, the depth of Mariah's performance will make everyone take notice of her great acting ability."
In Wisegirls, Carey stars alongside Mira Sorvino and Melora Walters as a streetwise-yet-kind-hearted waitress who works in a restaurant run by the mob. The film has been picked up by Lions Gate Films for U.S. distribution.