10 Surprising Rock Star Acting Gigs

by on February 27th, 2011
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Which came first-the rock star or the actor?

For Justin Timberlake, he was a Disney kid who parlayed into a boy band stint who brought the sexy back with a solo career before going hard core into acting. Timberlake’s recent roles in movies “The Social Network,” “Friends With Benefits” and the new thriller “In Time” are proof that he’s taking the acting biz seriously.

But Timberlake isn’t alone when it comes to juggling a music and an acting career. Check out these famous guys (and a gal!) who were bit by the acting bug after they were already established rock stars.

Jon Bon Jovi

The 80’s hair band hunk may have been “Livin’ On a Prayer” back in the day, but today he’s successful in two careers. From movie parts in flicks like “Pay It Forward” and”U751,” to his recurring role on the TV series “Ally McBeal” and a surprise stint on “Sex and the City,” Jon Bon has shown that he can be both a lead singer and a leading man. While in 2009 the rocker hinted that his acting days were done, he did sign on for the upcoming big screen flick, ‘New Years Eve.” Maybe it’s because he gets to play Halle Berry’s love interest!


The Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist had just finished recording the band’s pivotal album, “Mother’s Milk,” when he appeared in the movie “Back to the Future Part II” in 1989. Flea has appeared in several other films, including the Keanu Reeves movie, “My Own Private Idaho.” (Incidentally, his Chili Peppers band mate, Anthony Keidis, had a small role in another Reeves flick, “Point Break” ). Fans may be surprised that Flea went kid-vid, too: he voiced the character of Donnie on the Nickelodeon series, “The Wild Thornberry’s.” Check out Flea as he plays Marty McFly’s nemesis here.


There was already major buzz about his band, The Police, by the time Sting appeared in films like “Dune” and “The Bride” in the early 1980s. But his most notorious movie role may be his stint as Ace Face in the 1979 Who movie, “Quadrophenia.” Let’s just say white men can’t dance. Check out Sting’s moves here.

Debbie Harry

In the late 1970’s, punk icon Debbie Harry was churning out hits like “One Way or Another” and “Heart of Glass” with her band Blondie, but by 1983 she was on Broadway in the play “Teaneck Tanzi.” The glam rocker later took on movie and TV roles, even starring as a deranged housewife in the 1990 horror movie “Tales from the Darkside.” Check out Harry in the 1988 John Waters flick, “Hairspray” here.

Eddie Vedder

The grunge movement was taking over the country when Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder (along with band mates Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard) appeared in the 1992 Matt Dillon movie, “Singles.” While Vedder’s brief role in the film wasn’t much of a stretch-he played a drummer in a rock band-his movie band, Citizen Dick, was bigger in Belgium than it was in Seattle. Check out Vedder’s classic scene here.

Gavin Rossdale

He may be best known as the front man for the rock band Bush (and for being the hubby of Gwen Stefani), but Gavin Rossdale has some acting chops as well. Following Bush’s commercial success with the release of 1994’s “Sixteen Stone,” he appeared in movies like “Constantine” and “Little Black Book.” He also starred as a rockin’ vampire in a 2009 “Criminal Minds” episode. Check out Rossdale playing barista in “Little Black Book” here.

Tom Petty

While his discography is miles longer than his filmography, singer Tom Petty has hit the big screen in the past! In 1997 he had a small role in the Kevin Costner flick, “The Postman.” Check out Petty’s scene with Costner here.


Will the real Slim Shady please stand up? In 2002, the cutthroat rapper received praise (even from film critic Roger Ebert– and that don’t come easy!) for his performance in the gritty drama, “8 Mile.” The double-dipping Eminem also won an Academy Award for his original song in the flick, “Lose Yourself.”

Mick Jagger

By 1968, The Rolling Stones front man already had ten hit albums under his belt, but he still found time to appear in films like “Performance” and “Ned Kelly.” Jagger later turned up in the 1992 sci-fi thriller, “Freejack.” Check out Mick’s “Ned Kelly” toast here.

Billy Ray Cyrus

His 1992 hit song “Achy Breaky Heart” may have put him on the map, but six albums later Billy Ray Cyrus was cast in the lead role in the TV series “Doc.” In 2006 he went on to tween idoldom when he starred in the Disney Channel series, “Hannah Montana,” with daughter Miley. Check out Dr. Cyrus here.

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