Justin Timberlake has had a complete shift in his career over the last 6 years since his last album FutureSex/LoveSounds was released. Besides featuring on a few singles over the years, Timberlake’s primary focus has been his film career. A few dodgy roles led to him gaining a part in the Oscar nominated film The Social Network, which finally saw Timberlake praised for his work.
This year alone he has starred in Bad Teacher, Friends with Benefits, and In Time, which is proof that unlike his other The Mickey Mouse Club Alumni (including Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera) who tried acting, it is indeed possible for a one time teen pop star to be a credible actor.
As a successful stand-up comedian, Jamie Foxx had the odd acting role here and there, but it wasn’t until his role in the 2004 biopic Ray, where he portrayed the singer Ray Charles, that Hollywood started to take notice. Foxx also starred in films likeJarhead, Miami Vice and Dreamgirls, which helped shed his ‘funny man’ image.
At the same time, Foxx was also establishing a music career which was introduced to the mainstream by his collaboration with Kanye West on the track Gold Digger and then led to the release of his own album Unpredictable in 2005. With films and albums being released simultaneously, it is clear that the stereotype which says men cannot multi-task should be reconsidered when referring to this man.
This Top 5 is not only for those who sing and act, but rappers too. Ice Cube, LL Cool J and Mos Def, are all examples of rappers leaving the world of Hip Hop for an acting career. Will Smith is the most successful rapper to make the transition and after years of selling records, Smith became the star of his own show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. When the show ended Smith began to star in a string of blockbusters including Bad Boys, Independence Day and Men in Black. The last film he starred in was Hancock three years ago, but he is currently filming Men in Black 3, which will surely see this film star back on top where he belongs.
Her talents have been questioned, but there is no mistaking the success and longevity Jennifer Lopez has had in her music career. Now known for romantic comedies such as The Wedding Planner, Maid in Manhattan, and The Back-Up Plan, it is her earlier work in Out of Sight, U-Turn and The Cell that showed her diversity and ability as an actor. But being typecast is not always a bad thing, even though a lot of generic romantic comedies can have Lopez, Aniston or Garner slot into the position. I suppose it’s good to know that you will always be considered for a particular type of film.
Cher may have a few years on the other people on this list but she is still seen by many as someone who has had equal success in both careers. I was tempted to choose Barbara Streisand instead, because when it comes to awards and album sales she is probably the most successful actor/singer, but I’m not a fan (even though I enjoyed Yentl quite a lot!). Silkwood, Moonstruck and The Witches of Eastwick are all classic films of the 80s where Cher was at the height of both of her careers. What makes her great is that you can watch her performances and never feel like you are watching a singer trying to act.
Images courtesy of Chicago, Justin Timberlake, Jamie Foxx, Will Smith, Jennifer Lopez and Cher