WHEN MUSICIANS GO TO THE MOVIES
Oh, Mr Popstar… why you so horrible? We don't know why it is that popstars - nay, celebrities in general - think they can do anything, be it save the world from starvation, or landmines, or drug problems, or become artists, or authors, or pilots… Actually, we do know. It's because singers - and it's always the singers - are horrible, insecure monsters, who fill the hollow yearning in their souls with "worthy causes" and substance abuse. And, by Christ, we worship them for it. But that's neither here nor there.
The porpoise of the feature is to coincide with the release of Honest, the new British gangster flick directed by Eurythmics oddball Dave Stewart, and starring three of the All Saints - the two bolshy American ones who sleep with lots of men, and the pretty one who got pregnant. A veritable pop star ego-trip, reviews of Honest have been mixed. Some cry "Shite" others cry "Nnngyyaght". Whatever the case, there's no denying that Nicole Appleton gets her tits out. Talking of which, here are some more "pop tits" who've tried their hand at acting…
Rubbery of lip, and wrinkled of face, the ageing - nay, aged - lothario has screen credits dating back to the 1700s. From a handful of roles in which he appeared as himself alongside his Rolling Stones band mates, Jagger's first screen appearance as someone other than Jagger was a small role in 1966 Brit flick, Charlie Is My Darling. Following a misguided starring role in a biopic about Australian outlaw Ned Kelly, Jagger won plaudits in 1970 sauce-fest Performance. It was downhill from there, though none of his performances matched the deadpan, charisma-free non-presence of Victor Vacendak, the futuristic bounty hunter in the 1992 sci-fi flop Freejack. Wisely, following the critical drubbing he received, Jagger has remained behind the camera ever since, and he's currently producing forthcoming World War II code-breaking flick, Enigma.
The quality of Bowie's acting performances have veered so sharply from "dire" to "stunning", it's a miracle the thin-faced puke hasn't suffered from the thespian bends. Though always insisting he's a "performer", rather than "rock star", Bowie nevertheless is daubed with the legend "rock star who occasionally acts".
His screen debut in 1976 sci-fi curio The Man Who Fell To Earth won rave reviews, though his portrayal of a spaced-out alien may have had as much to do with his legendary mid-70s consumption of narcotics, as any inherent acting ability. Bowie also got the thumbs up for his portrayal as the lead role in a stage presentation of The Elephant Man. The near-anorexic Bowie required no make-up for the role, instead contorting his body to portray the hideously deformed homo-pachyderm. He was also the only good thing about misguided 1986 musical Absolute Beginners, stole the show in both 1983 Japanese POW drama Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, and 1988's controversial The Last Temptation Of Christ, in which he appeared in a cameo as Pontius Pilate.
Alas, Bowie fared less well critically in 1979's Just A Gigolo, godawful early-80s vampire flick The Hunger, and the George Lucas-produced, Terry Jones-scripted, Muppet-populated fantasy, Labyrinth. Bowie's role as the goblin king Jareth, replete with pointed ears and Kajagoogoo haircut, was universally laughed at.
Bowie's more recent screen performances have been a little more low-key, and generally received a thumbs-up. He played agent Philip Jeffries in the Twin Peaks movie, and his old chum Andy Warhol in 1996's Basquiat. Less memorably, he starred last year as a sort of futuristic version of his younger self in PC adventure game, Omikron. With… A BLUE FACE.
We always think it would've been funnier if he'd called himself "String", but we suppose that's not the point. The man who was Gordon Matthew Sumner, has appeared in more than 20 films, but other than his occasionally insipid music, he'll always be best remembered for his role as mod king Ace Face in Quadrophenia, and the rubber-clad flying guy in Dune. And as the dad in the Sting-funded Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels, possibly. Perhaps less memorably, he was "Heroic Officer" in Terry Gilliam's budget-busting flop The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen, and - playing to type - helped save the Earth from ecological collapse, by voicing enviro-hero Zarm in early-90s cartoon series, Captain Planet And The
Practically since she could walk, Madonna Ciccone wanted to be a star. Whether that meant picking up a microphone, prancing before a camera, or flashing her flange in dirty magazines, she was nothing if not determined. A Certain Sacrifice was her first screen appearance. Made in her pre-pop star days, the softcore porn flick was originally shelved, but released on the back of her global stardom (where, many say, is where she found her fame; on her back). Madonna's attempts at acting read like a rollcall of screen badness: Desperately Seeking Susan, Shanghai Surprise, Who's That Girl?, Dick Tracy, and - whipping out her baps and flaps once again - Body Of Evidence. The turnaround came with Evita. But, alas, she was too badly infected with her previously dire performances, and cruelly missed out on an Oscar.
JON BON JOVI
Like "troubled" Whitney Houston, poor Jon Bon Jovi is struggling hard to knock down the gates of Hollywood. Generally speaking, the hirsute rocker has won on acclaim for his limited screen roles to date. Unfortunately for him, what would've been his mainstream breakthrough performance, in upcoming WW2 submarine thriller U-571, has been left on the cutting room floor. Apparently, a scene in which Bon Jovi is decapitated was considered to gory for the film-maker's desired rating, and so - rather than simply have the actor's character disappear mid-film - they've all but removed every trace of him.
AND THE REST…
The list hardly ends there. Courtney Love, and Mark Wahlberg are omitted from our round-up for being, frankly, too good. Likewise the Ice brothers, Cube and T, and John Lennon's highly-regarded, one-off appearance as Gripweed in 1967 movie, How I Won The War. We could've mentioned Adam Ant, or The Who's Roger Daltrey, but both are so bad, so profilic, but so low-profile, that it hardly seemed worth it. We could've mentioned former Marillion vocalist Fish, who got the thumbs-up for his role as a Scottish barbarian in Chasing The Deer, but induced sniggering when the six-and-a-half-feet tall, 16 stone, notoriously heterosexual singer sneered: "This is because I'm gay, isn't it?" in TV's The Bill. We could've mentioned Phil "Buster" Collins, who was turned down for a speaking part in Disney's Tarzan (but was allowed to write the songs), and who used the word "wanker" on an episode Miami Vice that was repeated at 2pm on BBC1, both "wanker" and wanker intact. We could've mentioned band movies, like the endearingly awful Spice World, or any of The Beatles' collective big-screen outings. We could've mentioned Will Smith or Elvis, but as both only ever portray themselves, it was barely relevant. We could've mentioned Geri Halliwell, who'll be appearing next year in British comedy Therapy, but we don't yet know how bad she'll be…
And so, at the end of all this, there can be only one conclusion: celebrities, whether pop stars, actors, or magicians, shall always be crying out for attention, whether it's for better, or for worse. But mostly it's for worse. Give them all a smack. The pigs.