Famous Singers And Musicians That Got Into Acting
Been thinking of a change in career recently? Well here are 3 famous singers and musicians that switched things up and moved into the acting industry instead.
As a child, Styles would sing cover songs on a karaoke machine given by his grandfather, and while at secondary school was the lead singer for a band called White Eskimo, which won a local Battle of the Bands competition. Following a suggestion from his mother, on the 11th of April 2010 Styles auditioned as a solo contestant for the British television show ‘The X Factor’ and proceeded to the boot camp, but failed to progress any further. Four others who were also eliminated were put together to form a band to compete as a group, mentored by Simon Cowell. While on the show, the band ‘One Direction’ that the boys had formed proceeded to gather popularity and ended up reaching the finals of X Factor, but finished in third place.
Once finished with The X Factor, in 2011, the group signed with Simon Cowell’s label and produced their debut album, which would be followed by another four albums, one each year, until 2016, which is when the group went on an indefinite hiatus. The group would sell nearly 70 million records worldwide and were awarded seven Brit Awards, seven American Music Awards, six Billboard Awards and four MTV Video Music Awards.
After going solo in 2016, Harry Styles recorded and released his own album, which would share a similar success to that of the music released by One Direction. After the success of his album, Styles made his film debut in Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’ in July 2017, playing a British soldier named Alex, who is trying to evacuate the beaches of Dunkirk and get back to Britain. Critics praised Styles for his natural and dedicated performance. The film itself would go on to receive multiple awards.
After his film debut, Styles went back to making musical hits, but in 2019, he would cameo in the movie ‘Eternals’ as Eros/Starfox (the brother of Thanos) during the mid-credits scene.
In 2022, Styles auditioned for the role of Elvis Presley in the musical biopic ‘Elvis’. However, Baz Luhrmann, the film’s director, stated “The real issue with Harry is, he’s Harry Styles. He’s already an Icon.”. After failing to obtain the Elvis role, Styles instead starred alongside Florence Pugh in the psychological thriller film ‘Don’t Worry Darling’, a movie inspired by the likes of ‘The Matrix’, ‘Inception’ and ‘The Truman Show’, however, the movie would receive mixed reviews. Later in 2022, Styles starred as Tom Burgess, a secretly homosexual policeman who has a secret relationship with his lover, alongside Emma Corrin in ‘My Policeman’.
Gaga is one of the world’s best-selling music artists with an estimated sale of 170 million records as of 2018. Gaga’s debut album, ‘The Fame’ was released in 2008 and topped the charts in numerous countries. The album was then reissued as ‘The Fame Monster’ in 2009, its lead single ‘Bad Romance’ would be an international hit and reached number one in twelve countries. The album was then remixed in 2010 and released in the ‘The Remix’ album. Gaga’s second album was released in 2011 and would hit number one in twenty-one countries. Before releasing another album, ‘Artpop’, in 2013, Gaga first played as supporting character ‘La Chameleon’ in the movie ‘Machete Kills’, but the movie, as well as Gaga’s character and performance, were poorly received.
In 2014, Gaga released a collaborative album with Tony Bennett, called ‘Cheek to Cheek’, which once again topped the charts. In 2014 Gaga also cameoed in ‘Muppets Most Wanted’, appearing as herself, and cameoed in ‘Sin City: A Dame to Kill For’ as Bertha. Following that, Gaga played Elizabeth Johnson/The Countess in season 5 of ‘American Horror Story’ from 2015-2016, and reappeared for season 6, playing as Scathach. In 2016 Gaga also released her fifth album, ‘Joanne’, which continued her streak of chart-topping albums and singles.
In early 2017, Lady Gaga took the Super Bowl LI Halftime show. With 117.5 million live viewers, it was one of the most-watched Super Bowl Halftime shows and had a higher average viewership than the game itself. Following this momentous occasion, Gaga released a documentary of herself, ‘Gaga: Five Foot Two’ which went into detail on the behind-the-scenes of the production of her album ‘Joanne’, her home life, her filming on American Horror Story and special detail on the Super Bowl LI halftime show, detailing its creation and execution.
A year later, in 2018 Gaga starred as Ally Maine, one of the leading roles in ‘A Star Is Born’ a romantic drama film that follows an alcoholic musician (Bradley Cooper) who discovers and falls in love with a younger singer (Gaga). By the end of the movie, Gaga’s character marries Jack Maine, however, when Ally leaves to perform a concert that Jack promises to attend, he instead hangs himself, leaving Ally grief-stricken and inconsolable. Gaga also released some singles along with the release of the movie, which would quickly become international hits.
After ‘A Star Is Born’, it wouldn’t be until 2020 when Gaga released her sixth album ‘Chromatica’, which saw similar success to its predecessors, and then in 2021, Gaga played Patrizia Reggiani in ‘House of Gucci’, another lead role position, in which Gaga’s character aggressively pursues Maurizio Gucci, an heir to the Gucci fashion house, and uses her influence on him to manipulate the business in an attempt to make herself rich. By the end of the movie, Maurizio is murdered, Patrizia is in jail for the murder, and an investment corporation has fully acquired the Gucci company, managing it into the present day.
Born December 26th 1971, Jared Leto grew up around the artsy hippie community and began playing music at an early age with his brother, his first instrument was a broken-down piano. As Jared got older he enrolled at the University of Arts in Philadelphia and then developed an interest in filmmaking, so he transferred to the School of Visual Arts in New York City. As a student in NYC, he wrote and starred in his own short film, ‘Crying Joy’.
Between the years 1992 and 1999, Leto moved to Los Angeles and found himself staring in a multitude of roles. In 1997, Leto proceeded to make a notable appearance as Steve Prefontaine, an American Olympic long-distance runner, in the movie ‘Prefontaine’. For this role Jared Leto immersed himself in the runner’s life, meeting the runner’s family and friends as well as training for six weeks in order to adopt the athlete’s running style. In the end, Leto received positive reviews for his accurate portrayal of the Athlete, and many consider it his breakthrough role.
Jared then went on to take a lead role in the 1998 drama ‘Basil’, and starred in the horror movie ‘Urban Legend’ before taking a supporting role in the war film ‘The Thin Red Line’, which was a moderate success and won Leto and the rest of the cast the Satellite Award.
Later in 1998, alongside his brother, Leto formed the rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars. Initially, Jared did not use his influence as an actor to bring attention to the band, but nevertheless, their debut album (which had mostly been written by Leto) led to a number of record labels wanting to sign the rock band, who eventually signed up with Immortal Records.
Then in 1999, Leto continued with his acting career, one notable role was his playing of heroin addict Harry Goldfarb in ‘Requiem for a Dream’, a role for which Leto is renowned for spending 2 months living on the streets of New York prior to shooting and losing 28 pounds of weight, in order to realistically portray his character.
After appearing in the film ‘Highway’ in 2000, Leto decided to refocus on his musical career in order to produce 30 Seconds to Mars’ debut album, which was released on August 27th 2002. The debut album reached 107 on the US Billboard 200 and topped the US Top Heatseekers. Over time the album would eventually sell 2 million copies worldwide.
In 2002 Leto also returned to acting and starred in ‘Panic Room’ in the supporting role of Junior, a burglar who terrorises Meg Altman. The movie would perform well financially and was received well by critics. Leto would follow his film up by portraying Hephaestion in the film ‘Alexander’, but the film was poorly received by some of its audiences, although it was still an international success. A year later, Leto took the role of Vitaly in ‘Lord of War’, the brother to Nicholas Cage’s character Yuri Orlov, who was an illegal arms dealer. Thirty Seconds to Mars also released their second album ‘A Beautiful Lie’ in 2005, which was met with critical acclaim and garnered various accolades.
In 2006 Leto appeared in the neo-noir crime drama ‘Lonely Hearts’, although the film received mixed reviews, Leto’s acting was actually widely praised. That same year Leto also directed the music video for ‘The Kill’, a song released by Thirty Seconds to Mars, under the false name of Batholomew Cubbins. The music video was very popular and would win an MTV Video Music Award
In 2007 Leto starred in the biographical film ‘Chapter 27’ in which he portrayed Mark David Chapman, the fanatic fan and murderer of John Lennon. Leto prepared for the role by listening to interviews and audiotapes featuring Chapman and gained 67 pounds in order to approximate the killer’s physique. Due to the sudden increase of weight put on his body, Leto gained gout and required a wheelchair, and after filming Leto quickly went on a liquid diet. But all the struggle was worth it, as although the film itself had divided reviews, Leto’s performance was widely praised and very authentic to the person he was portraying.
Following his success in the music video for “The Kill” in 2008, Leto filmed another for “A Beautiful Lie” and would again win more awards, such as the MTV Europe Music Award for Best Video. The year after, Leto was in another movie called ‘Mr. Nobody’ in which he played Nemo Nobody, for which he was widely praised and gave his character “some real raw emotional power”. Afterwards, Leto went on to film more music videos for Thirty Seconds to Mars for the rest of 2009 and throughout 2010 and would continue to gain awards and praise.
It wasn’t until 2012 that Jared Leto made his directional debut with the documentary film ‘Artifact’ which chronicles the modern music business and the legal dispute between Thirty Seconds to Mars and record label EMI after the band tried to exit its contract over a royalties dispute. The film was received well and would win some awards such as the Audience Award.
In 2013 Thirty Seconds to Mars released their fourth album ‘Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams’ and would reach the top ten in more than fifteen countries, which was followed by multiple music videos directed by Jared Leto. After his 5 year hiatus from filming, Leto returned to act in 2013 for the drama ‘Dallas Buyers Club’. For this film, Leto portrayed Rayon, a drug-addicted transgender woman with AIDS. In order to accurately portray the role, Leto lost 30 pounds and shaved and waxed his eyebrows and entire body, and would meet with transgender people while researching the role. During filming, Leto refused to break character and the film would be a big critical and financial success, resulting in various awards for Leto, such as the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor.
In 2016 Leto played the role of Joker in ‘Suicide Squad’ and received some attention due to his method of acting during production, with fellow cast member Will Smith stating that he had “never actually met Jared Leto”. On more than one occasion, Leto sent horrific gifts such as rats and bullets to fellow cast members and had a henchman who would do his bidding. However, upon release, the film received generally negative reviews.
After ‘Suicide Squad’ Leto went on in 2017 to appear in the film ‘The Outsider’ and as the villain in ’Blade Runner 2049’. After these appearances, Leto went back to making music and touring, with Thirty Seconds to Mars releasing their fifth album ‘America’ in 2018, which was not as universally loved as previous albums made by the band.
Returning once again to acting, in 2021, Leto played suspected serial killer Albert Sparma in ‘The Little Things’ as well as Paolo Gucci in the biographical crime drama ‘House of Gucci’. For both of these films, Leto was nominated for several awards. In 2022 ‘Morbius’ was released, with Jared Leto starring as the lead actor and main character, Dr Michael Morbius. In production, Leto struggled with the role, as it did not require his speciality method acting approach, although he did find the character interesting himself. Unfortunately, ‘Morbius’ was received very poorly by audiences with only a 16% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and became the target of much ridicule in online circles, who would also pirate the movie and share it in order to decrease the number of people paying money to watch the film in cinemas.
Written by Mark Murphy Director