Lists

Rihanna, Mariah and the Worst Pop Stars Turned Actors

We know it's treason to criticize our queen, but Rihanna is not a good actress.
We know it's treason to criticize our queen, but Rihanna is not a good actress. Rich Fury/Getty
It’s been a long time since we’ve had a celebrity gossip story as good as Don’t Worry Darling. If you’ve somehow managed to ignore the scandal so far, here’s what you need to know: Olivia Wilde took on a second movie as a director after the success of her teen comedy Booksmart. She decided to adapt a hit spec script that explores an idyllic 1950s-style community, and she cast Florence Pugh, Chris Pine and Shia LaBeouf in the leading roles.

Things got complicated when LaBeouf was let go from the film following allegations of sexual misconduct. Wilde replaced him with Harry Styles, who had recently appeared in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk. Although Wilde says she replaced LaBeouf because of the allegations against him, he has subsequently claimed that he chose to leave the project because he didn’t have enough time to rehearse (and included phone evidence to back it up). It’s also worth noting that this is when Wilde divorced her husband, Jason Sudeikis, and began dating Styles.

Amid Wilde’s personal drama, rumors of on-set feuds with Florence Pugh, awkward press conferences and revelations that people of color were cut from the film, it appears that more people have been looking into the behind-the-scenes drama than have been seeing the movie. With dismal reviews and a disappointing box office performance, it seems like Don’t Worry Darling wasn’t worth all the controversy anyway.

Ironically, the most interesting element of the story seems to be buried: Harry Styles is acting now! While Don’t Worry Darling may not have been the Hollywood breakout that the One Direction star was looking for, he gives a much better performance in the queer romance film My Policeman, which debuts on Amazon Prime in November.

The film industry has a history of turning musicians into great actors, such as Mark Wahlberg, Frank Sinatra, Lady Gaga, Ice Cube, Cher, David Bowie and Eminem. But we decided to take a look at a few pop icons that should stick to their music.

Rihanna, Battleship
If Rihanna were trying to take herself seriously as an actress, she wouldn’t have chosen to star in a movie based on a board game. Remember playing Battleship when it was raining during recess? This tin-eared sci-fi snoozer doesn’t exactly give her much to work with, but considering that Liam Neeson is having fun with the campy material, we can’t give Rihanna any credit.

Ed Sheeran, Game of Thrones
A lot of embarrassing things happened in the last two seasons of Game of Thrones, but remember when Arya ran into Ed Sheeran? In a surreal moment that exemplified the lack of care put into the final chapters of the Game of Thrones story, Ed Sheeran pops up as a Lannister soldier singing in the woods. Sheeran’s voice is great, but his flat performance sticks out like a sore thumb.

Kelly Clarkson, From Justin To Kelly
Fresh off her win on the very first season of American Idol, Kelly Clarkson and her runner-up Justin Guarini attempted to make their version of A Star Is Born. This offensive, cheeky college sex comedy was so bad that Clarkson even apologized for her role in it. She has said that while she knew the script was terrible, she agreed to play the starring role due to a contractual obligation.

Vanilla Ice, Cool As Ice
You know a movie is going to be bad when the best scene is the opening sequence with the title song. Look, we don’t have a lot of sympathy for the Dallas rapper who has blatantly ignored health precautions at his concerts, and Cool As Ice is nothing more than an extended ego trip.

Mariah Carey, Glitter
Similar to Kelly Clarkson’s botched attempt at stardom with From Justin To Kelly, Glitter saw Mariah Carey in a role for which she would seemingly be perfect. Who better to play a nightclub performer who turns into a megastar? Glitter’s soundtrack may have been more memorable than the film itself, but neither is going to be listed among Carey’s crowning achievements.

Gene Simmons, Extract
We’re not going to hold Gene Simmons up to the flames for his admittedly enjoyable role in the 1978 camp classic KISS Meets the Phantom and the Park. However, we are going to call him out for his unusually strange performance in filmmaker Mike Judge’s 2009 comedy Extract. When you think of Simmons, do you think of a lawyer?

Jessica Simpson, Dukes of Hazzard

Was there ever a reason to make a Dukes of Hazzard movie? Jessica Simpson's overtly wacky performance is probably the least offensive thing about this sexist piece of trash, but that’s not exactly saying much.

Justin Bieber, Zoolander 2

How bad do you have to be to screw up a cameo as yourself? Zoolander 2 has a ton of celebrity cameos, but we’ll give credit to Sting, Billy Zane, Don Lemon and Ariana Grande for at least getting in on the joke. Bieber looks like he’s actually trying to give a serious, grounded performance. In a Zoolander movie.

Madonna, Swept Away
In a film that embarrassed both Madonna and her then-husband Guy Ritchie, Swept Away is like Lost if the only two stars were the most unlikeable spoiled brats on the planet. This is actually the most embarrassing thing she did in 2002 (the same year her god-awful theme song for Die Another Day dropped).

Mick Jagger, Ned Kelly

Look, Mick Jagger is one of the greatest performers of all time. Rolling Stones music has enriched some of the greatest films ever made. That said, Jagger isn’t much of a thespian. He awkwardly tries to do an Australian accent in this dull 1970 flick.

Taylor Swift, Cats

Look, there’s no one who comes out of Cats with their dignity intact. You’ve got great actors like Idris Elba and Judi Dench making fools of themselves, so a novice screen performer like Taylor Swift didn't stand much of a chance. Maybe we can give her credit for all the memes that Cats spawned.

Elvis Presley, Every Damn Elvis Movie

Maybe you watched this summer’s blockbuster Elvis and decided to check out some of The King’s star turns. Expect to be bored out of your mind. As much as we love the soundtracks to Blue Hawaii, Viva Las Vegas and Jailhouse Rock, anything that doesn’t involve Elvis singing and dancing is unlikely to leave you all shook up.
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Liam Gaughan has been covering film and television since before he had a driver's license, and in addition to the Observer has been published in About.com, Schmoes Know, Taste of Cinema and The Dallas Morning News. He enjoys checking classic films off of his watchlist and working on spec scripts.

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