From musicians to actors
Bad is the musician who does not dream of becoming … an actor! For better or worse, many successful artists sooner or later try themselves on the movie screen. For some, this is talented, for others, not too much. 58 years ago, on August 21, 1956, “The King of Rock and Roll” Elvis Presley began acting in his first film, “Love Me Tenderly.” Let’s remember today about him and about other musicians who have successfully mastered the acting path.
Elvis Presley was a real discovery of rock and roll. Producer Sam Phillips believed that a white musician with a “black voice and soul” can convey the soul of new music best of all. That is what he saw in the young Elvis Presley. If not for this singer, perhaps rock and roll would not have become such a popular and popularly beloved genre.
The film producers decided to use the King’s ability to make everything he touches popular, and began to call him to act in films. The calculation was very simple – even if the picture is so-so, people will still come to the cinema to look at Presley.
Presley’s first cinematic experience is a minor role in the musical western Love Me Tenderly. He plays a young man who recaptured a girl from his brother when he was at war. The picture for the hero Presley ends tragically. They say that his mother was so upset because of this that the musician made a decision – he would never die in a movie again.
Presley has starred in more than 30 films. These are mostly musical romantic comedies, although he had dramatic roles. But after ten years, he begins to feel like a hostage to the film industry. He is tired of playing in monotonous films, although it was very profitable for the producers. As a result, he throws a movie to fully return to music.
Another cult singer of the 20th century, Frank Sinatra, successfully combined music and cinema. He received recognition and many prestigious awards both as a musician and as an actor. He has nine Grammy, an Oscar, and two Golden Globes in his piggy bank. At the same time, he had no education: neither music, nor acting.
A talented boy from a poor family loved to sing and wanted to make a living with music, although he did not even know musical notation. His musical career was experiencing dizzying ups and terrifying falls. During one of the take-offs, Sinatra was called to the cinema, hoping at his expense to make the box office. The first pancake was not lumpy – the musician received the main cinematic award for the supporting role in the drama “From Now and Forever Ages”.
On his account a dozen films. Moreover, unlike Presley, Sinatra was trusted not by standard musical comedies, but by serious dramatic roles. He played detectives and criminals, military and special agents, petty crooks and serious robbers. One of his most famous films is Ocean’s 11 Friends. Of course, filmed in 1960, and not in 2001.
But let’s return from the XX century to our time, and recall the figures, perhaps not so significant, but modern. The young hybrid of musician and actor Justin Timberlake, like Sinatra, has already won nine Grammy awards. True, there are no cinematic awards in his piggy bank yet, but perhaps this is a matter of time.
Timberlake’s filmography has a lot of light comedies like the films Friendship Sex, A Very Bad Teacher, and the like. But there are more interesting works: the crime drama “Alpha Dog”, “Social Network”, Clint Eastwood’s sports drama “Twisted Ball”, a fantastic thriller “Time”.
Tom Waits is called a cult musician of our time and a living legend. He always lives on his own wave: he chooses not too popular musical directions, does not consult with anyone and does not listen to anyone. The reputation of a rebel and an alcoholic was firmly entrenched in the musician and, it would seem, the directors should have been afraid to get involved with him. But they were not afraid. Waits acted in films and wrote soundtracks to them.
His first film work was a supporting role in the film “Paradise Alley” by Sylvester Stallone. Waits in the movie is always on the sidelines, but these roles are vivid and memorable. He played with Jim Jarmusch and Francis Ford Coppola. Tom Waits often portrays gloomy madness. In the recent film Seven Psychopaths, he played one of a group of crazy criminals. In “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus,” he is the devil himself in human form. And in the 1992 horror film Dracula, he portrays the crazy Renfield, who lost his mind after talking with a vampire and became his servant.
And which musicians in the acting are you reminded of? Do you think the love of music artists for cinema is good for cinema or, on the contrary, bad?