In the game of LIFE you don’t usually end up with two careers where you’re a megastar in both, but of course when I play the game of LIFE I also end up with a husband and tell everyone that it’s Johhny Depp, so what do I know? But there are definitely some stars out there that seem to have stacked the deck and embarked on a double career path that has them both acting and leading their own bands.
Here we detail the top five actors and musicians that have gone over to the other side and examine if these star’s second career has any real potential or if they’re just riding the coattails of their own fame, desperate for yet a little more attention.
5. Ryan Gosling and Dead Man’s Bones
Ryan Gosling met fellow band member Zach Shields from Dead Man’s Bones in 2005. Their collaboration has produced a somewhat strange mix of supernatural themes mixed with voices of a children’s choir. With a lo-fi feel, apparently Gosling and Shields had to learn many instruments from scratch and only allowed themselves three takes per track, they show plenty of enthusiasm but the majority of reviews seem to think that Gosling’s foray into music will never outshine his acting fame.
4. Jada Pinkett Smith and Wicked Wisdom
Star of the first season of Gotham and celebrated actress, Jada Pinkett Smith is also a member of Wicked Wisdom a heavy rock/modern metal band. Though she’s married to pop and rap star Will Smith, someone who has successfully breached the gap between the music and acting worlds, she’s into the heavy stuff and the reviews have unfortunately been mixed. While some have appreciated the vocals and riffs of their music others have called her music an embarrassment to Will Smith and both their careers.
3. Jared Leto and Thirty Seconds to Mars
Though most people know Jared Leto as the lead singer and guitar player from Thirty Seconds to Mars that turned to acting it was actually the other way around. He went to school for acting and started out as the hunky Jared across from Claire Danes in My So Called Life in 1994. He didn’t start the band until 1998 and went on from there to both star in blockbusters like The Thin Red Line and Girl, Interrupted, and Panic Room as well as win multiple awards with the band.
2. Jason Schwartzman and Phantom Planet
The band Phantom Planet formed in 1994 and featured Jason Schwartzman on drums. They were perhaps known for their song California from their second album The Guest and it was made the title song of the American television show The O.C. In 2003 Schwartzman announced he was leaving the band to pursue his acting career and it seems to have been a wise decision. He’s been in films like Rushmore, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and The Grand Budapest Hotel.
1. Steve Martin
If you’ve seen Steve Martin’s older act then you’ve probably seen him pull out his banjo and when he did it was always funny. But he didn’t get that good at plucking the strings just for laughs and he’s proven it with his both his own music and his collaboration with the American bluegrass band Steep Canyon Rangers. In 2009 Martin released his first solo album and won the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album. Then in 2011 he worked with the Steep Canyon Rangers and produced an album with a few guests like Paul McCartney and the Dixie Chicks. They were named Entertainers of the Year at the 2011 IBMA Awards and Martin doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
These are only a few of the performers that have crossed the music and movie barrier and it seems that some have actually deserved their newfound careers. Along with these notable stars you can count celebrities like Russell Crowe, Jack Black, Zoey Deschanel, Bruce Willis, and Keanu Reeves, all with varying degrees of success. Showing off some surprising musical chops alongside their acting abilities a few of these stars haven’t disappointed while others are nothing more than an embarrassment.