While researching the musicians who appear in the TV show Game of Thrones for a previous blog piece, we stumbled down an internet black hole. Turns out (somewhat unsurprisingly) there is a plethora of performers in Hollywood with bona-fide musical credentials. The list was exhaustive, so we've chosen to highlight the stars with (we feel) the most unexpected musical styles. Read on to discover our top picks of on-screen performers who have moonlighted as heavy-metal entertainers, and Hollywood heavyweights with a penchant for killer tunes.
“Adorkable” American actress Zooey Deschanel originally planned on pursuing a career in musical theatre. However, she first got a taste of the professional music world in 1998, starring in The Offspring’s hit music video, “She’s Got Issues” – albeit for a non-singing role. A few years later she teamed up with singer Samantha Shelton, to form the cabaret act If All the Stars Were Pretty Babies.
The multi-talented star (who can play the piano, banjo, and ukulele) then became one half of the act She & Him, alongside American singer-songwriter Michael M Ward. The pair have released a number of indie-pop/folk albums, as well as three well-received Christmas albums. (Unsurprisingly, since we’ve all heard Zooey crooning in the festive-fav, Elf) Notably, you can hear She & Him perform their song So Long in the 2011 cinema hit Winnie The Pooh, which earned them a Grammy nomination.
Canadian actor Ryan Gosling and his musical skills need little introduction - just check out his stellar vocal and piano performance in the 2016 Hollywood hit La La Land - that was all him. He only had 3 months to learn jazz piano! Gosling's passion for music goes far beyond the silver screen; through a shared love of all things spooky (maybe thanks to his stint on Are You Afraid of the Dark?), Ryan and producer Zach Shields formed the band Dead Man’s Bones in 2009. The project – which featured songs like Dead Hearts and My Body’s a Zombie - was originally intended to be an eerie stage show of the same name, but eventually became the duo’s first record. Playing all the instruments on the album and with the help from The Silverlake Conservatory Children’s Choir, Dead Man’s Bones’ debut album was unnervingly catchy.
Legendary British actor, Christopher Lee, has played just about every character - from Count Dracula and Sherlock Holmes, to God and even Death (not to mention his major role as Middle Earth villain Saruman in The Lord of The Rings Trilogy). But did you know he was also a heavy-metal musician? While the actor’s bass-heavy vocals have appeared on several movie soundtracks, including 1973’s The Wicker Man, his focus has been metal music. He recorded four full-length albums, and even received the coveted Metal Hammer Golden God “Spirit of Hammer” award in 2010. Christopher released his final album Charlemagne: The Omens of Death at the cracking age of 90 (just days before his birthday), making the actor the oldest musician ever in the Metal genre.
With so many actors crossing over into the world of music, an onscreen performance may be more authentic than you first imagined. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a playlist of some of the best tracks written and performed by a few of our favourite thespians.
Click on the link below to have a listen: