Some people can sing. Some people can act. Some people, like us, can't do either. But some people – namely, THESE people – can do both. Some of them are pretty good, too.
If Destiny's Child was a competition - which it wasn't, but if it was - then Beyonce won it, and she won it HARD. Aside from producing some of the best pop music in recent memory - especially the oh-okay-I-guess-I'll-have-a-dance-then Crazy In Love - she was in some films, too: Dream Girls, in which she played a singer in a three-person girl band (not a huge leap for Ms Knowles there) and Foxxy Cleopatra in the ill-advised Austin Powers: Goldmember.
Neither of them incredible films, but one thing's clear – Beyonce stands out in any film, deforming it around her like a weight on a rubber sheet. But a sexy weight. On a rubber film. Maybe this analogy doesn't make sense.
#9. Mos Def
Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy remains one of the best things ever written in the English language, and while there were a lot of problems with the 2005 film, there were a lot of good things too. Namely Martin Freeman's trademark unaware bumble and Zooey Deschanel's lovely, lovely face.
But Mos Def as Ford Prefect was inspired; replacing the original hoopy frood hippy character with an rap star made perfect sense if you consider that the original radio show was written in the seventies and the film, well, wasn't. Plus Mos Def is so good at rapping that he makes us feel pretty inferior just listening to him.
#8. Mandy Moore
Starting out as a pop princess right about the time everyone was getting tired of Britney and Christina, Mandy Moore's career wasn't the blistering, meteoric rise to fame that it could have been – but she still did pretty well, considering.
She's been back and forth between music and films for a while, but her most recent (and possibly best) performance was in the surprisingly-funny Tangled, where she did the voice for Princess Rapunzel. Plus she was in Scrubs, back when it was good.
#7. Jennifer Lopez
Having the world's most famous bum must be a bit strange, but J-Lo's carried it off with style and aplomb. She's juggled singing and acting throughout her career, but the two high points have to be Let's Get Loud (a superlative 90's party pop anthem riding high on the crest of the latino craze) and the Oscar-nominated Out of Sight, in which she played kidnapped US Marshall Karen Sisco alongside ruggedly-handsom bank robber George Clooney.
FUN FACT: A spin-off series called Karen Sisco (not starring J-Lo) featured a headstrong US marshal of the same name, but no George Clooney. Actually, that fact wasn't fun at all. Sorry.
#6. The Spice Girls
The Spice Girls forged a music career out of a mysterious glamour where observers couldn't tell if they fancied some, all, or none of them at any one time; and that confusion led to a lot of record sales. Bucketloads. In their role as the new Beatles, they made an appropriate movie – Spice World, their Hard Day's Night, was definitely a film in that it was projected onto cinema screens across the world, and popcorn was served nearby. It was definitely technically a film. Not a good film, though.
But it was indicative of a better time, when Britain ruled the waves – the airwaves that is, on the radio, on account of our music being so popular that you could persuade production companies to make elaborately poor films starring non-actors off the back of it. These days you'd probably have to make do with One Direction in a sub-par crime caper, or some shit like that. It's just not the same.
Rihanna's in Battleship, a film (inexplicably!) about the Hasbro board game Battleship; aliens make planetfall and smash the shit out of a boat using mysteriously peg-like explosive charges, and it's up to her and some lantern-jawed stud with a name like Hunter, or Chase, or Channing to stop them using good old-fashioned minigun-based VIOLENCE.
Is the film going to be any good? We don't know. We'll let you make up your own mind. But if Rihanna's in it, that should – at least – make it definitely watchable.
Pictured: Xzibit (left), some guy who used to rap a bit (right)
You'd think it would be difficult to make Vin Diesel-propelled action flick xXx look good, but then again, you might not be aware that they made a vastly inferior sequel. Starring Ice Cube, a man with the looks, physique and charisma of a concrete breeze block, it none the less marked rapper and car-pimping advocate Xzibit's breakthrough cinema performance.
He played Zeke, owner of a car modding garage, and had the best performance in the whole film – outperforming mainstays such as Samuel L Jackson (who phoned it in so hard AT&T had to install additional fibre optic lines to cope with increased demand) and William Defoe – to pull off an entirely believable portrayal of a man who could not only hijack a tank, buthave fun doing it.
#3. Justin Timberlake
Admit it – you hated Justin Timberlake. Well, if you're a chap, you did; ladies far and wide were drawn in slavering by his sweet singing voice, angelic looks, and the way he left his mouth open a bit in publicity shots that made him look like he was about to kiss the viewer so, so gently on the mouth.1
But then, after discarding the husk of N*SYNC like a butterfly discards a manky old chrysalis, he had a pretty decent solo career. And then started acting, and as it turned out, was pretty good at it – films like The Social Network and In Time cemented his ability as an actor, as well as a warbling dancer. Is there anything that he can't do? Well, he can't fly. Yet.
#2. Will Smith
Remember when Will Smith could legitmately release a rap song about almost every film he was in? He did well out of that – the high point for songs being Men In Black, obviously – and we're kind of sad that he didn't carry on the trend once he got into more serious roles. We'd have liked to hear Sisqo sing all over whatever tune he attached to I Am Legend, for example. Maybe it would have featured dancing vampires.
Will is, of course, one of the best actors in Hollywood, and a fantastic musician. And, by all accounts, quite a nice guy with it.
#1. Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra was in 58 films over the course of his life – the last one being Who Framed Roger Rabbit in 1988. That's a lot of films. Even more impressive is the fact that he released 59 studio albums, too – admittedly, some of them after his death, but that never slowed Tupac down.
Despite the FBI monitoring the prolific singer/actor for 4 decades (thanks to his influence and alleged mafia connections) he volunteered his services to them as an informer in 1950, saying he was willing to “go anywhere the Bureau desires” in order to gather secrets for them. Unsurprisingly, thanks to his lack of formal spy training, his application was refused.
Keith Richards: Keith Richards, legendary Stones musician, was in The Pirates of The Caribbean Series playing Captain Jack's dad; his performance of a rum-soaked lothario and scoundrel is so natural that we're pretty sure he doesn't know he's in a film at all, and the producers have just put him in a silly hat and started the cameras rolling.
Snoop Dogg: Despite some good work as bellbottomed hustler Huggy Bear in the 2004 Starsky and Hutch remake, our favourite Dogg role has to be his performance as an “insane preacher” in 1999's Urban Menace - a film available (but not recommended for purchase!) on DVD.
Only really watchable through a haze of marijuana smoke (which is how we think Snoop would have wanted us to see it), this low-budget train wreck gives the rapper supernatural powers including demonic wings, glowing red eyes, and a magic knife. Also features standout performances from Big Pun and Fat Joe as two mafia bosses who could not be more obviously reading their lines from an Autocue if they traced their fingers slowly along the fucking camera.
1 What? We've been looking at a lot of pictures of him. For research. FOR RESEARCH.