50 Cent on Netflix + the best and worst musicians turned actors
We’re very excited about both seasons of POWER – the hit US series produced by and starring Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson – coming to Netflix this April. Created by Courtney Kemp Agboh (The Good Wife), the series follows a nightclub owner who uses his swanky venue as a front for a narcotics empire serving only the rich and influential. The show has now been renewed for a third season, so it’s time to catch up on the episodes so far if you haven’t already.
POWER got us thinking about those multi-talented stars who’ve successfully made the crossover from our speakers from our screens, along with those musicians who should’ve stuck to their day jobs and left the world of acting alone. Of course there are also those who went the other way, attempting to have hit albums after making a name for themselves in movies and TV, but let’s save those for another day, shall we?
The undisputed king of crossover, Will Smith has too many good movies to list. He’s hilarious in comedies (The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Hitch), riveting as an action lead (Bad Boys, Men in Black, Independence Day, I Am Legend…), and supremely moving in dramas (The Pursuit of Happyness, Seven Pounds, Ali). There’s no denying that the man is hugely talented in whichever field he turns his hand to. Next up, Smith’s starring as Deadshot in David Ayer’s much anticipated DC team-up Suicide Squad, plus it was just announced he’ll be working with Ayer again on Bright: the new Netflix original rumoured to cost US$90 million. We can’t wait.
Mark Wahlberg would probably like for you to forget he started out in ‘Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch’, but we’re not letting it go any time soon. Blasting onto the ’90s hip hop scene with number 1 hit “Good Vibrations”, the music group’s first album “Music for the People” went platinum. Their success even launched the video game “Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch: Make My Video“. WTF? Anyway, what we’re trying to say is that Wahlberg was no small fish in the music game, but today his hugely successful acting career overshadows that time in his life. Sure he’s been in some crappy comedies and Transformers, but with films like Boogie Nights, The Fighter, Lone Survivor and Prisoners under his belt, plus some major producing contributions to TV (Boardwalk Empire, Entourage), there’s no doubting the triumph of Marky’s reinvention.
Ice Cube is our straight up hero. After revolutionising the rap game forever with N.W.A, O’Shea Jackson proved there’s nothing he can’t do, absolutely killing it in acclaimed dramas Boyz n the Hood, Trespass (alongside fellow rap star and similarly named Ice-T), The Glass Shield and Higher Learning, before moving into more comedic roles in films like Friday, and more recently, the Barbershop*, 21 Jump Street, and Ride Along franchises. Plus it seems he’s passed both the acting and music genes onto his son O’Shea Jackson Jr., who played his daddy to a tee in last year’s Straight Outta Compton.
*While we’re talking about Barbershop, can we just give a shoutout to Queen Latifah, Eve, Common, Nicki Minaj, and all the other awesome musicians-turned-actors in that franchise?
We knew Jennifer Hudson would be a star as soon as she opened her mouth on American Idol way back in 2004; but we must admit, we never would’ve imagined back then that she’d become a movie star. Following her breakout role in Dreamgirls, the talented lady charmed our socks off as Carrie’s assistant in the Sex and the City movie, before taking on more serious films such as The Secret Life of Bees and The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete. Next up she’s appearing in political drama Confirmation alongside Kerry Washington and Greg Kinnear (who plays Joe Biden!).
Before he melted our hearts as selfless video shopkeeper Mike in Michel Gondry’s Be Kind Rewind, hip-hop legend Yasiin Bey (A.K.A Mos Def) gave a scene-stealing performance in the Oscar-winning Monster’s Ball, appeared alongside Robert de Niro and Eddie Murphy in Showtime, regularly took on different characters on Chappelle’s Show, starred in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Woodsman, The Italian Job… And was damn awesome in all of them. You’d think he’s already contributed enough to the world through his music, but Def’s just the gift that keeps on giving.
Other than that HILARIOUS cameo in The Interview, Eminem hasn’t taken on a major acting role since 2002’s semi-autobiographical 8 Mile. He was initially attached to star in last year’s boxing drama Southpaw, in the role eventually taken on by Jake Gyllenhaal, and apparently he also turned down Elysium, which was offered to him before Matt Damon. Perhaps it’s a good thing he’s been so discerning though, as both of those films were awful. He may or may not have another starring movie role up his sleeve, but either way, Em will go down in history for his unforgettable work in 8 Mile.
One of the greatest songwriters of all time, Tom Waits also has 32 acting credits to his name, including scene stealing roles in Jim Jarmusch’s Down by Law, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and Sylvester Stallone’s directoral debut, Paradise Alley. More recently, Waits made iconic appearances in Wristcutters: A Love Story and Seven Psychopaths. While his roles may be small, it’s always a joy to see him pop up on screen.
Having made it big with country songs like “Me and Bobby McGee”,”For the Good Times”, and “Help Me Make It Through the Night”, Kris Kristofferson has gone on to be in so many films and television series that it’s hard to measure which career he’s most famous for. In the mid 1970s, Kristofferson took on starring roles in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore and A Star Is Born, the latter for which he won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor. Since then he’s been a total badass in the Blade trilogy and Watchmen, and also cropped up as Jennifer Aniston’s dad in He’s Just Not That In To You. Amazing.
Madonna’s 32-year flirtation with films has always divided opinion (except her depiction of Argentine heroine Eva Perón in 1996’s Evita. It may have won her a Golden Globe, but everyone knew deep in their hearts that she was awful). Swept Away, the 2002 romantic comedy directed by her then-husband Guy Ritchie, was a commercial flop and universally ridiculed. 2008’s Filth and Wisdom, Madonna’s directional debut based on the lives of three flatmates struggling to survive in London (because she’s totally British, didn’t you know?), was also panned, along with most of her forays into the film industry. Except for cult ’80s classic Desperately Seeking Susan, where she pretty much just plays herself. That’s why Madonna is the Queen of Razzies, where she’s been nominated a staggering sixteen times, taking home nine different Golden Raspberry Awards including five Worst Actress trophies and the grand title of ‘Worst Actress of the Century’. Their words, not ours.
Beyoncé Knowles is the queen of (almost) everything, but let’s admit it; she’s never gonna be a great actress, okay? Queen B first tried to crossover into acting when she appeared in Carmen: A Hip Hopera in 2001, and since then has appeared in eight other films, ranging from comedy to drama to thriller (Austin Powers, Dreamgirls, Obsessed…). She’s not the worst on this list, however we’re always 100% aware we’re watching Beyoncé on the screen and not whichever character she’s trying to play. Please don’t hate us for it.
People say glitter is the herpes of the fashion world, and Mariah Carey’s abominable movie Glitter is widely considered one of the worst things to happen to the world of film, so we’ll leave that to speak for itself. In 2009 Carey tried her hand at ‘serious acting’ by playing a dowdy social worker in Precious, and in 2013 played a field slave in The Butler, but neither of those performances won any fans for Mariah Carey ‘the actress’, so lately she’s been starring in such Hallmark Christmas movies A Christmas Melody and Mariah Carey’s Merriest Christmas. Oh dear.
We won’t pretend we don’t have incredibly fond memories of Crossroads – you’d have to have no heart to say you didn’t. Did you realise it was written by Shonda Rhimes and co-stars Zoe Saldana, btw? Honestly though, what were Britney and her people thinking? Spears is no Streep, bless her. Britney’s pretty much just been given little guest appearances here and there since that starring role, and none of them have been any improvement. Her cameo as a desperate woman duped into dating Barney on How I Met Your Mother was painfully awkward, for example. The only one we kind of liked was her stint in Glee, where she was being worshipped like the queen she is. But honestly we’d rather she retires from the screen entirely and leaves us to remember her pop princess golden years. We’ll mention Jessica Simpson and Mandy Moore in the same breath and be done with it.
We couldn’t go for Britney and not Justin. That wouldn’t be fair. Yes, the former Mickey Mouse Club sweethearts have proven they’re equally inadequate in the acting department, even if Timberlake’s been given more of a chance with more meaty roles in big titles such as Friends With Benefits, In Time and The Social Network. His comedy roles are entertaining purely because they’re so laughable (remember Bad Teacher or The Love Guru? Anyone?), but ultimately J.T. should leave the action man stuff to his pal Ryan Gosling. Oh, p.s: Runner Runner. Lol.
The less said about Iglesias in general, the better. We’ll just leave you with this still of him from Robert Rodriguez’s over-the-top western, Once Upon a Time in Mexico. We believe it tells the whole story.
The fact that Bowie was so terrible at acting only makes us love him more. It didn’t stand in the way of the master of reinvention trying his hand in a number of roles, from an unforgettable cameo as Nikola Tesla in The Prestige, to voicing a lipstick-wearing royal in the 2007 Nickelodeon TV movie SpongeBob’s Atlantis SquarePantis. His I’ll-just-be-myself-with-some-random-dodgy-accent approach to acting was far from awards worthy, but utterly charming nonetheless.
POWER Seasons 1 and 2 are available to watch on Netflix from tomorrow, April 1st.