10 Disastrous Acting Performances By Rock Stars

The soundtrack to Confession of a Child of the Century has just been released, and like the film you wonder why they bothered. Pete Doherty’s converse Midas Touch, where everything he comes into contact with turns to excrement, continues unabated. Critics can get it wrong though, huh?


Charlotte Gainsbourg gamely tries to coax a performance out of co-star Doherty, but to no avail. He wobbles around set, gurning and mumbling his lines, looking not unlike an anemic jellyfish in a top hat. There he is, hiding behind shrubbery waiting to benignly stalk Gainsbourg, or putting a gun to his own head and then failing to top himself. You’re twenty minutes in and you begin to wonder how this stinker could have ever been released. Barely halfway through and you want to fling your body violently at the box office and admonish the cashier for duping you into buying such a toxic ticket.

“Have you been loved?” he says to Lily Cole with all the seductive charm of Nick Griffin in his pants. Confession d’un enfant du siècle was switched from French to English at the last minute when Doherty came onboard, and with the Frenchness taken out, it’s toe-curlingly corny. But where he’s gifted with the gallic grace of Baudelaire and Apollinaire all rolled into one, the problem for Pete sadly is that he can’t act. If there’s a silver lining then the former Libertine can take comfort in the fact he is part of a long lineage of musicians who decided to tread the boards in a fit of hubris only to discover it wasn’t as easy as it looked.

Damon Albarn in Face
Damon Albarn has proven to be one of the most versatile and forward-thinking musicians of his generation, and yet, when he turned his hand to acting in the 1997 British gangster flick Face, he was less believable than one of his cartoon Gorillaz. Ubiquitous 90s leading man Robert Carlyle admitted working with Damon was ‘a nightmare’ and when pressed further, said: “popstars shouldn’t act, just like actors shouldn’t sing.” Ouch. Thankfully Damon’s character gets gunned down not long after his abysmal cameo.

Snoop Dogg in Bones

Smoking weed is supposed to stifle creativity, and yet when he’s not getting arrested in airports, performing with holograms or changing his name, Snoop Dogg has managed to make a staggering 38 movies (not including the pornographic ones) and over 30 guest appearances on TV shows like ‘The L Word’ and ‘South Park’. Most movies you’re unlikely to have seen as they are, ahem, doggerel, and Bones may just be the worst of the lot. Be my guest and plough through his entire filmography to confirm whether this is true or not.


Henry Rollins in The Devil’s Tomb

Cuba Gooding Jr: three words that elicit another three more words: “Straight to video”. What Henry Rollins is doing in the 2009 horror b-movie The Devil’s Tomb is anyone’s guess, but whatever the motive, the former Black Flag man sucks hard. Having just won plaudits playing a nazi in the TV series Sons of Anarchy, the thick-necked body fascist fell headlong into this part, proving hysteria isn’t a ‘motivation’ he should try again.

Tom Waits in ‘Domino’

Tom Waits is never short of movie offers, and having played himself brilliantly in Coffee and Cigarettes and a character not unlike Tom Waits in Down By Law (also brilliant), it’s easy to see why those parts keep rolling in. Erring away from being Tom Waits in Dracula proved wobbly, but it’s in Domino where you really question what on earth he’s up to. A silly film anyway (Keira Knightley is cast as a bounty hunter), Waits’ cameo sees him muttering unintelligibly as either a mystic, a shaman or just Tom Waits phoning it in for an inflated paycheck. My mistake, it’s definitely the third of those.


Anthony Kiedis in Point Break

What can you say about Anthony Kiedis’ performance in cool dude surfer flick Point Break? You can say “it’s rubbish” if you like. The Red Hot Chili Peppers singer gets one line to shine and hams it up, gesticulating with his shirt off like he’s in one of his own boneheaded videos.

Tricky in The Fifth Element

Because of Tricky’s cool, otherworldly appearance, he seemed perfectly cast in the chic Luc Besson sci-fi adventure The Fifth Element, and yet so bad is he that the following YouTube clip had to be translated into Russian to detract from his rotten performance. It doesn’t.

David Bowie in Fire Walk With Me

Given the collective relief and unbridled joy that greeted the return of David Bowie this week (quite right too) it seems somehow churlish to bring up one of David’s lesser celebrated movie roles. Some blame must go to David Lynch, director of 1992’s Fire Walk With Me, a screen adaptation of the small screen cult smash Twin Peaks that we can file under ‘rare miss’. And yet what is that accent? What on earth is going on here? And why do Slipknot appear half way through Kyle Maclachlan’s dream sequence?

Bryan Ferry in Breakfast On Pluto

Neil Jordan’s Breakfast On Pluto brought a stunning performance out of Cillian Murphy as Kitten, a transgender teen growing up in an unforgiving ‘70s Belfast. Jordan didn’t quite get the same from Bryan Ferry, though it wasn’t too much of a stretch to imagine the old smoothy as a creepy sexual deviant garroting passing trade in a Cortina. Stick to the crooning, Ferry!

50 Cent in Get Rich or Die Tryin’

Having worked with celebrated method actor Daniel Day Lewis on a number of epics, director Jim Sheridan had his work cut out on Get Rich or Die Tryin. The former crack-dealer 50 Cent says no to drugs – let’s be clear – though a few toots of something could have pepped up his somnolent turn as Marcus, a character based on himself. Fiddy demonstrated how being yourself is harder than it looks, with child actor Marc John Jefferies running rings around him as the young Fiddy.


Madonna in Body Of Evidence

Whole forests continue to be torn down so critics can heap yet more ludicrous invective on Madonna‘s acting abilities, and yet in spite of this she has continued with an almost admirable tenacity. None of her films have been quite as bad as Body Of Evidence though, memorable mostly for the scene where Her Madge pours candle wax all over a naked Willem Dafoe, but also for its risible conclusion. Watch it here and save yourself from the other 98 minutes.