You would be surprised at how many musical artists crossover to acting and vice versa. It is all in the performance, and while it doesn’t always work out (Harry Styles can’t act, guys, sorry), more often than not, it does.
Studios might put singers in their films to draw their fans to the theater or give them a shot that they have always wanted to take. Often, they perform a song during the film or for the credits. Here are the best movies that star a musical artist.
1. A League of Their Own (1992)
A League of Their Own tells a fictionalized account of the real-life story of women needing to play baseball because the men were at war. Madonna plays one of the main characters, Mae Mordabito, who is inspired by Faye Dancer.
She didn’t have much of a track record in the film, but ultimately her fame was considered a big enough asset for the film, so she was added to it. A League of Their Own features Madonna singing This Used To Be My Playground.
2. A Star Is Born (2018)
2018’s A Star Is Born is the third remake of the film, each of which starred a singer: 1954 stars Judy Garland and 1976 stars Barbara Streisand. It follows an alcoholic musician who falls in love with a young singer.
Lady Gaga (also known as Stefani Germanotta) plays the young singer in this version. The film’s soundtrack sold over six million copies worldwide and received four Grammy Awards wins out of seven nominations.
3. Grease (1978)
The film Grease is based on the stage musical of the same name. The studio needed a powerhouse vocalist to take on the role of Sandy. Olivia Newton-John initially turned down the role but eventually decided to take it. Her co-star, John Travolta, has said many times that he knew only one person could play this role, and it was her.
4. The Blind Side (2009)
The Blind Side tells the story of Michael Oher, an American football offensive lineman who overcame an impoverished upbringing to play in the National Football League (NFL) with the help of his adoptive parents, Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy.
Tim McGraw plays Sean. His performance has been widely considered fantastic, and while he wasn’t the movie’s main star, he left an impact on many people.
5. 9 to 5 (1980)
The film 9 to 5 stars Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dolly Parton as three working women who live out their fantasies of getting even with and overthrowing the company’s autocratic, sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot boss, played by Dabney Coleman.
Dolly Parton was already established as a successful singer, musician, and songwriter, but the film permanently launched her into mainstream popular culture. Her song, 9 to 5, garnered an Academy Award nomination and four Grammy Award nominations, winning her the Best Country Song and Best Country Vocal Performance, Female awards.
6. The Social Network (2010)
The Social Network tells the story of the founding of the social networking website Facebook. Justin Timberlake portrays Sean Parker, the first President of Facebook. Jonah Hill was in contention for Timberlake’s role, but director David Fincher passed on him. While the film has a soundtrack, Justin Timberlake does not sing on it.
7. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022)
Glass Onion is a standalone sequel to the 2019 film Knives Out, with Daniel Craig reprising his role as master detective Benoit Blanc as he takes on a new case revolving around tech billionaire Miles Bron. Janelle Monae has two roles in the film.
Many have said she is the reason to watch the movie, as her performance is incredible. She has been nominated for several awards due to this performance, including Critics Choice for Best Supporting Actress.
Labyrinth is a 1986 musical fantasy film in which Sarah embarks on a quest to reach the center of an enormous, otherworldly maze to rescue her infant half-brother Toby, whom she wished away to Jareth. The film stars Jennifer Connelly as 16-year-old Sarah and David Bowie as Jareth, the Goblin King.
One user quotes Bowie, saying, “I’d always wanted to be involved in the music-writing aspect of a movie that would appeal to children of all ages, as well as everyone else, and I must say that Jim gave me a completely free hand with it.”
9. Dreamgirls (2006)
Dreamgirls stars both Beyoncé Knowles and Jennifer Hudson. The story follows the history and evolution of American R&B music during the 1960s and 1970s through the eyes of the Detroit girl group known as “The Dreams” and their manipulative record executive.
10. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
The film is based on the 1973 musical stage production The Rocky Horror Show, with music, book, and lyrics by O’Brien. The production is a tribute to the science fiction and horror B movies of the 1930s through to the early 1960s.
In late 1973, Meat Loaf was cast in the original L.A. Roxy cast of The Rocky Horror Show, playing the parts of Eddie and Dr. Everett Scott. The success of the musical led to the filming of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, in which Meat Loaf played only Eddie, a decision he said made the movie not as good as the musical.
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