Film acting is a bizarre beast. On the one hand, it is a demanding profession that takes years to master. However, there is something to be said for intangible natural talent, the kind of talent that lies dormant within persons in entirely separate fields until they are given the opportunity to transition. Tyler Perry has always been an actor, so his, shall we say, “Cross”over this weekend doesn’t seem an enormous stretch. But Perry is far better known as a director and he’s never before shouldered a leading role, an action hero no less, of the magnitude of Alex Cross. This got us thinking about some of the other, even more unconventional places from which film stars have transitioned:
From Rapper to Actor: Mos Def
Music is an essential component to any film; the soundtrack and score often providing the pulse of the movie. With this inextricable link between the two mediums, it’s not surprising that so many musicians have made the transition to acting. What is interesting to note is the variance of genres of music from which these actors hail. Yasiin Bey, better known to the world as Mos Def, is one of the most influential voices in hip-hop, and yet his film catalogue is not without its fair share of success as well. He’s appeared in films like Monster’s Ball, Be Kind Rewind, and crowd-pleasers like The Italian Job. He was also absolutely brilliant as Ford Prefect in the film adaptation of Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
From Folk Singer to Actor: Tom Waits
There are in fact so many musicians who have made the leap to film that it impossible to construct this list and only feature one. Though Tom Waits’ style of music could not be more different from that of Mos Def, like the rapper, Waits is constantly experimenting and redefining his sound. That creative flexibility may lend itself to his innate screen presence. Though he just delivered an outstanding turn in Martin McDonagh’s Seven Psychopaths, and has become a favorite performer of indie director Jim Jarmusch, the role that represents the crown jewel of his film career is Renfield in Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula. He perfectly inhabits the role with an unsettling mastery of measured madness.
From Convict to Actor: Danny Trejo
Danny Trejo has made name for himself throughout his career playing primarily bad dudes. This inclination toward characters that reside comfortably outside the boundaries of the law is actually not much of a mystery. For much of his life, Trejo dealt with a drug addiction and was in and out of prison, even earning the title of Pennsylvania state prison boxing champ while serving an eleven-year sentence. He started his film career accidentally, playing background heavies and henchmen before Robert Rodriguez’s Desperado earned him national attention. Sometimes naturalism and life experience can overwhelmingly supersede occupational experience.
From Football Player to Actor: Fred “The Hammer” Williamson
Fred Williamson became an icon of blaxploitatoin in the 1970s, and one of its brightest stars. But before he was putting the hurt on bad guys in films like Boss, Black Caesar, and Bucktown, he earned his hard-hitting nickname playing in the NFL. The Hammer proved to have just as much charisma on the screen as he had aptitude on the gridiron. Hammer became such a mainstay of the subgenre that he was able to demand a strict set of rules for the characters he played. He was to win all of his fights, always get the girl, and he absolutely could not be killed. Quentin Tarantino was such a fan that he wrote him into the script for From Dusk Til Dawn.
From War Hero to Actor: Audie Murphy
On the flipside of the method movie star track is Audie Murphy. Murphy became a cinematic icon for playing war heroes; seemed to have an instinctive knack for it. Turns out, before becoming an actor, Murphy was in fact a highly decorated World War II veteran. The reports of his deeds during the various campaigns read like the greatest of Hollywood screenplays. He apparently leapt onto a burning tank, which could have exploded at any time, in order to use the tank-mounted machine gun to save his battalion from advancing Germans. It’s not often you see movie stars who are legitimate action heroes before they are ever in front of a camera.
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[Photo Credit: Summit Entertainment]
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There are a lot of mysteries revolving around the upcoming Marvel/Disney superhero blockbuster The Avengers. Who are the villains? Why are they invading our planet? How does Iron Man's assistant feel about the whole matter?
If that last question has been plaguing you since the marketing for the star-studded affair began, worry no more: Gwyneth Paltrow's redheaded Pepper Potts has finally been revealed, thanks to an action-packed new trailer imported from Japan. There isn't a ton of new footage; a few more shots of the faceless otherworldly beings who have beef with New York City, our costumed heroes warding off the attacks, Samuel L. Jackson acting like a badass (redundant) and a money shot of The Avengers' Hellicarrier rising out of the ocean. Pretty cool, but for fans of characters and the talent that brings them to life, seeing Paltrow back as her snappy Potts, looking terrified of the incoming invasion, adds to the excitement.
Check out the trailer below, rewind with a slew of Avengers posters and trailers, and get pumped for the movie's release, on May 4, 2012.
Contact Matt Patches directly on Twitter @misterpatches and remember to follow @Hollywood_com!
Top Story: Paltrow and Martin Apply for Marriage License
Looks like wedding bells may soon ring for Coldplay front man Chris Martin and actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who is expecting the couple's first child this summer, The Associated Press reports. The couple applied for a marriage license in Santa Barbara County, Entertainment Tonight reported Friday, while Mary Rose Bryson, a supervisor in the county recorder division, told AP the couple hadn't requested a public marriage license; however, she did say some licenses are granted confidentially and must be used in Santa Barbara County within 90 days. Paltrow has been dating the British singer for a year and both have been reticent about publicly discussing their relationship.
Affiliates Refused To Show Sharpton's SNL Stint
Several NBC affiliates did not carry last weekend's Saturday Night Live hosted by Democratic presidential candidate Al Sharpton for fear it would fall under the federal "equal time" provision and compel them to offer airtime to the eight other Democrats running for president, AP reports. NBC told AP 23 of its 230 affiliated stations had said they were considering not running SNL. The network did not have a final count Sunday on how many stations did not air it.
Jackson Considering Hobbit
At the European premiere in Berlin of his third and final installment The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, director Peter Jackson said he'd like to direct The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien's prequel to the Rings trilogy set 50 years earlier, Reuters reports. If he could resolve the complex rights issues, Jackson told reporters, "I'd be interested in doing it because I think it would give continuity to the overall chapter." While many of the lead Rings characters do not appear in The Hobbit story, the wizard Gandalf, played by Ian McKellen, and Gollum, the cave dweller corrupted by the powerful ring, do and should, Jackson said.
"Godfather of Soul" Honored
The Kennedy Center Honors paid tribute to R&B icon James Brown Sunday, AP reports, where rapper LL Cool J said Brown "broke down mental and social barriers and made it possible for me, a black kid from Queens, to stand in front of presidents and say, 'Say it loud, I'm black and I'm proud.'" The Kennedy Center also honored country singer Loretta Lynn, violinist Itzhak Perlman, comedian Carol Burnett and director Mike Nichols.
Winfrey and Late Show Don't Mix
Oprah Winfrey won't be making an appearance on the Late Show With David Letterman any time soon. AP reports for its Dec. 15 issue, Winfrey told Time magazine, "Both times I was sort of like the butt of his jokes. I felt completely uncomfortable sitting in that chair, and I vowed I would not ever put myself in that position again." Letterman has made several references to Winfrey on his show, especially in his desire to be a guest on her daytime program.
Bachelorette No More
Trista Rehn, star of ABC's reality program The Bachelorette, finally wed her man Ryan Sutter Saturday in a million-dollar wedding near Palm Springs, Calif., Reuters reports. The couple exchanged vows in front of television cameras and 300 guests, including some of the bride's former suitors from The Bachelorette. ABC will air the two-hour wedding special on Dec. 10.
Ozzy Blames Pills for Being Spaced Out
Rock star and MTV icon Ozzy Osbourne says he was "wiped out" on prescription medications during his dazed performances on his MTV reality show and in public. Osbourne told the Los Angeles Times he took as many as 42 pills a day, including Valium, while being treated by a Beverly Hills doctor. "I was wiped out on pills," Osbourne told the newspaper. "I couldn't talk. I couldn't walk. I could barely stand up. I was lumbering about like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. It got to the point where I was scared to close my eyes at night afraid I might not wake up." Osbourne and wife Sharon said they fired the doctor in August after paying $650,000 in medical bills since June 2002, Reuters reports.
Movie Piracy Becomes Law
You'll be officially breaking the law in California if you sneak a camcorder into a movie theater. AP reports the new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, will allow moviegoers to make a citizen's arrest if they see someone in a theater with a recording device. Signs will also be posted at all Los Angeles County theaters notifying patrons of the new law. People convicted under the law could be subject to a maximum one year in jail and a fine of $2,500, AP reports.
Role Call: Sandler Clicks on Next Comedy
Adam Sandler has signed on to do Click, a comedy for Columbia Pictures/Revolution Studios. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film centers on a workaholic architect who finds a universal remote that allows him to fast-forward and rewind to different parts of his life. Complications arise when the remote starts to make the decisions for him.