5 Musicians Who Rock As Actors


People who are primarily musicians sometimes show up in movies as actors.

I was reminded of this when I was just listening to Seven Nation Army, and it occurred to me that Jack White was in Cold Mountain, which, if I remember correctly, I think I liked. He and Meg were, of course, also in Coffee and Cigarettes.

Here are some of my favorites.

1. Tom Waits Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Francis Ford Coppola)

When I think of musicians who rock as actors, the first thing that comes to my mind is Tom Waits as Renfield.

“Oh, yes, A KITTEN!!!!!!”

Tom Waits absolutely rules this scene with gripping groveling drama and hilarity.

2. Iggy Pop Dead Man (Jim Jarmusch)

I think Johnny Depp and Billy Bob are the funniest in this scene, but Iggy Pop makes a hell of a pot of beans, dressed up real perdy in a dress and bonnet.

3. Cher Mermaids (Richard Benjamin)

This is one of my favorite movies. I love it because I love coming-of-age stories of all kinds, and this one dives into the complex dynamics of mother-daughter relationships and unconventional lifestyles. Why have I never read the book?????

Well, I will.

This is definitely a two-way street: Winona Ryder is dynamite here too.

Another of my favorite movies is Moonstruck with Cher. This scene from Moonstruck has nothing to do with musicians, but it’s a hell of a performance.

(BTW, if you think Nicolas Cage is a piece of shit blockbuster hack with blinding white caps, you need to see Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. Hooooooooooly shit is that a good fucking movie.)

4. Bob Dylan Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (Sam Peckinpah)

This isn’t a Cher-level performance or anything, but it’s a helluva musician and a helluva director.

5. Jim James & Calexico I’m Not There (Todd Haynes)

Speaking of Bob Dylan, this isn’t acting, exactly. It’s a cameo. But this performance in the Dylan biopic is one of the most beautiful scenes in the entire film. Which is 135 minutes of beautiful scenes.

1 + 2 = Bonus: Pop and Waits Coffee and Cigarettes (Jim Jarmusch)

I love this scene because it’s so hard to stay quit. I’ve said this all: “Since I quit, I feel awesome” and “I feel sorry for those fools who still smoke” and “Now that I’ve quit, I can have one.” And what Iggy says at 4:22….

I’m both forgetting and unaware of a ton. What else? Please share your favorites in the comments.

Top image by Judy van der Velden


About Erin Harris

I'm a copywriter by day and a fiction writer by night. I also write about food, travel, music, film, and much more.
This entry was posted in Movies, Music and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to 5 Musicians Who Rock As Actors

  1. No Love for Bowie???

    Or perhaps he’s too obvious.

    Tom Petty gave a surprising cameo in “Made in Heaven.” Stole no scenes, chewed no scenery. Amusing but not great.
    Flea from the Chili Peppers appeared in “Suburbia” (as Mike B., the Flea) and was fucking hi-larious in “Back to the Future II & III”
    Jennifer Hudson parlayed a moderately successful singing career into a decent film career.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: The Dinner [Movie Review] | Erin Harris

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