Beyonce has a key role in 'Carmen: A Hip Hopera'...

These are the pictures of DESTINY’S CHILD singer BEYONCE KNOWLES in the lead role of ‘CARMEN: A HIP HOPERA’, with co-star MEKHI PHIFER.

The film, shown recently on MTV in the USA and set for broadcast in the UK later this year, also stars Rah Digga as Carmen’s friend Rasheeda, Wyclef Jean as a fortune teller and Da Brat as the narrator, and is set in present-day Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

Knowles plays Carmen Brown in the 21st century hip-hop adaptation of French composer Georges Bizet’s famous opera ‘Carmen’, a tale of passion, murder and corruption set in 19th century Spain.

Mos Def said of his role: “He’s very, very naughty in the way that some police can be corrupt. He’s funny, charming, vain, cruel. Kind of diabolical.” There are now plans to make a hip hopera version of ‘Porgy & Bess’.

It is part of a spate of current music stars turning to movies. Catatonia frontwoman Cerys Matthews makes her big-screen debut in the movie ‘Very Annie Mary’, which opens in the UK this week. Cerys has a fleeting cameo role, joining a gang of fast-drinking girls in a karaoke bar in a Garw Valley mining town.

On the movie’s soundtrack, Cerys also sings a traditional Welsh folk song, ‘Bugeilio Gwenith Gwyn’, and Ivor Novello’s ‘We’ll Gather Lilacs’.

The film stars Welsh actors Ioan Gruffydd and Matthew Rhys as a pair of camp cafe owners, and was shot in Pontycymmer by writer-director Sara Sugerman, who said: “It was fantastic to work with her. I hope to work with her again. I love the subversiveness of Cerys Matthews singing Ivor Novello’s ‘We’ll Gather Lilacs’ – and the subversiveness of Cerys Matthews singing any Ivor Novello song.”

See this week’s NME, on sale throughout the UK now, for our feature on hip hop in the movies, and more in news on Cerys’ movie debut.