Beyonce. Pitbull. Steven Tyler. Ludacris. Rita Ora. The lineup at the Billboard Music Awards? The season finale of American Idol? Nope, these musical superstars all act in two of this weekend’s biggest films, Epic and Fast & Furious 6. With tens of thousands of actors to choose from, why is Hollywood giving so many roles to musicians? Oh, there are reasons. Good ones.
1. Attitude. Rock stars bring a certain swagger to their roles. Vin Diesel says Rita Ora was cast after he met her in a party caravan to Puffy’s house and he realized she had the look and presence that embodies modern London, where much of Fast and Furious 6 takes place. And, is it a leap to think that the voice of a forest queen would be much different than a queen of the music charts? Epic producer Jerry Douglas says Beyonce was chosen to voice Queen Tara because she “has the command and presence of a queen but without the typical formality.”
2. Voice quality. Singing competitions have educated us that it’s not enough to possess a melodious tone, one needs a unique voice to succeed. Steven Tyler is a great example. The rock legend brings the party-hardy forest keeper Nim Galuu to life with his raspy tones. Epic director Chris Wedge says about Steven’s voice, “It has all the necessary texture for Nim, who like Steven is a fun character with lots of energy.”
3. Buzz. Musical artists starring in a movie is unexpected, so it becomes a natural point of discussion. If the filmmakers can get the rockers out on the circuit talking about the movie, it’s the ultimate publicity shazam.
4. Fanbase. Pitbull likes to remind us that while he’s a rapper from Miami, ultimately he’s “Mr. Worldwide.” Filmmakers know they need to pay attention to the global audience and musicians have massive followings in Abu Dhabi and Singapore as much as they do in the United States. Those fans may just buy a ticket to see the object of their obsession perform in a different way.
5. Soundtrack. Beyonce and Steven Tyler’s characters sing in Epic and thus have songs on the soundtrack. Will.i.am voiced a character in Rio and also contributed that movie’s earworm “Hot Wings (I Wanna Party).” Taylor Swift’s first big screen performance was in Valentine’s Day which begat the hit “Today Was a Fairytale.” Queen Latifah and Common performed a duet for 2010’s Just Wright. Will Smith was the king of double dipping and, frankly, I wish he’d still put out a single for every movie mainly because…
6. It’s fun! C’mon, seeing our favorite singers in acting roles is a hoot!
Here are three movies to see with your family this weekend.
Epic. We’ve waited an epically long time for a new movie for younger kids! In fact, 31 percent of Fandango poll respondents say they’re going to see it simply because it’s the only new family film opening this weekend.
Fast & Furious 6. It’s a testosterone utopia as the family of criminals reunite to catch a villain with their cool cars, their bravery, and their fists. (Seriously, there’s a lot of punches thrown in this film).
Star Trek Into Darkness. Learning to make responsible choices sounds like an episode of “Full House,” but lucky parent, your teen can get the same lesson by watching Captain Kirk take on a formidable opponent.
Will your kid like these movies? Find out at www.KidsPickFlicks.com, where all kids are movie critics.