Ranking Musicians’ Memorable Film Roles from Best to Worst


Mick Jagger hasn’t been in a movie since 2001’s The Man from Elysian Fields. Yesterday, Deadline reported that the Rolling Stones frontman may be in line to play a Rupert Murdoch-like character in Tabloid, which is being written by A History of Violence scribe Josh Olson. This got us thinking about other musicians who made the crossover into film. Jagger’s played everyone from Turner in Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg’s excellent Performance , to a “bonejacker” (oof) in Freejack — which currently holds a shameful 15% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. Here are other songbirds that also made the leap from stage to screen, in order from best to worst. Leave us your list in the comments.

Charlotte Gainsbourg in Antichrist

Charlotte Gainsbourg comes from the blue blood of song making thanks to papa Serge Gainsbourg, but has been holding her own since her musical debut with dad on the song “Lemon Incest.” She just released the EP Terrible Angels, her new album Stage Whisper is coming this November — along with the theatrical release of Lars von Trier’s Melancholia in which she plays the distraught Claire. Her award-winning performance in Von Trier’s earlier film Antichrist, however, is our focus due to her breathtaking and terrifying performance. The physical and emotional transformations that take place for her character are striking and deeply felt.

Courtney Love in The People vs. Larry Flynt

Raking in a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in The People vs. Larry Flynt is Courtney Love, who played the porn publisher’s wife. It was a struggle for Love to even get the role, due to her ongoing battle with drugs, but she made nice for the part that eerily mirrored her real-life story.

Debbie Harry in Videodrome

It doesn’t get much cooler than starring in a Cronenberg film, and Blondie’s Debbie Harry made her screen debut in the body horror epic, Videodrome. Harry plays Nicki Brand, the darkly sexy paramour of Max Renn (James Woods). She’s a pop-psychologist by day and masochist by night — eventually transformed into Renn’s ultimate fantasy girl when the “new flesh” takes over.

David Bowie in The Hunger

David Bowie as a vampire and Catherine Deneuve’s undead lover. ‘Nuff said.

Tom Waits in Mystery Men

Where do you even begin with how amazing this role is? Tom Waits in any film adds instant eccentric charm. His role in Mystery Men as an inventor of “non-lethal weapons” is one of the quirkiest and best.

Jack White in Cold Mountain

Jack White combined his music and acting prowess for Anthony Minghella’s Cold Mountain and the role of a mandolin player named Georgia. The film also features songs by The White Stripes. White seems right at home in the mountains.

Iggy Pop in Dead Man

No one else can gender bend the way Iggy Pop did in Jim Jarmusch’s Dead Man. He played Sally Jenko in the 1995 western, alongside Johnny Depp. It’s not a lengthy role, but it’s a memorable one.

Lou Reed in Faraway, So Close!

Wings of Desire director Wim Wenders followed up his lyrical beauty with Faraway, So Close! Lou Reed had a cameo as himself singing, “Why Can’t I be Good?” and encouraging the angel Cassiel with a few kind words.

Henry Rollins in Johnny Mnemonic

Henry Rollins claimed the cool name Spider in the cult fave Johnny Mnemonic, but it’s a shame that vibe didn’t carry over into his performance. The film boasts some pretty terrible acting, but Rollins manages to outshine them all. Even the heroin-addicted cyborg dolphin does a better job.

Roger Daltrey in Buddy’s Song

Roger Daltrey doesn’t have many good acting roles to his credit, and Buddy’s Song isn’t winning him any favors. He plays the father of a pop music hopeful named Buddy (English pop star Chesney Hawkes). Daltrey’s character is also a former Teddy Boy who is aging disgracefully. Bad movie, painful part.

Gene Simmons in Runaway

Gene Simmons took a break from KISS to make the monstrosity otherwise known as Runaway. Everyone’s favorite airport novelist, Michael Crichton, directed the feature, which pits Simmons as the film’s overacting baddie. For some, this one falls into the so bad it’s good category, but Simmons’ psychotic Dr. Luther — who creates killer robot spiders — is the hammiest of roles and our big winner in the worst spot.