Musicians Make the Worst Actors

Ed Sheeran is jumping into 'Game of Thrones,' but those who excel on stage don't often succeed on screen

Singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran will be the latest musician to make the plunge into acting. At South by Southwest, “Game of Thrones” creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss revealed that Sheeran would be making a cameo in the seventh season of their hit HBO series — which debuts July 16.

Sheeran technically already made his acting debut on the small screen, with a supporting role in the quickly cancelled FX series, “The Bastard Executioner” in 2015 — but his role on “Thrones” will be his biggest dive into the acting world yet.

Though it’s unknown how big or small Sheeran’s part will be in “Thrones,” his move into the world of acting brings cringe-worthy memories of other musicians who have attempted to become successful actors.

Like many actors who jump in front of a microphone and release albums, the notion of “musicians who act” seems to have more to do with ego than talent. They’ve tackled one craft, so they assume they’ll be able to do the other.

Related: 11 Great ‘Game of Thrones’ Filming Locations

There are exceptions, of course. Eminem won praises for his semi-autobiographical “8 Mile” performance in 2002, and country star Tim McGraw has had success in front of the camera, with performances in movies like “Friday Night Lights,” “The Blind Side,” and “The Shack.” Other musicians such as Jennifer Hudson and Ice Cube have even moved into successful film careers, but the bad musician actors far outweigh the good.

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It remains to be seen if Sheeran will buck the trend of egotistical and robotic musicians playing actors or whether his acting chops are as impressive as his popular music. Here’s a look at some performances from musicians that Sheeran may want to study — because they prove musicians can make the worst actors.

Madonna played a well-to-do, stuck-up rich woman stranded on a beach with a communist sailor.

Taylor Swift. She may be a beloved singer/songwriter, but her acting leaves something to be desired. The musician has at least been smart enough to mostly stay away from the big screen.

After a debut in the ensemble comedy “Valentine’s Day,” she did some voice work for the family film “The Lorax,” and scored a role in “The Giver.” Don’t worry if you haven’t seen any of these movies or don’t remember her from them; you’re not missing out on much. Swift should probably stick to her guitar and music videos for the time being.

Madonna. The Material Girl’s acting career has never come close to matching that of her music career, and for good reason. After some supporting roles in movies like “Dick Tracy” and “A League of Their Own,” Madonna’s biggest release came with 2002’s “Swept Away,” directed by her then-husband Guy Ritchie.

The film was a black mark for both her and her husband’s careers. Madonna played a well-to-do, stuck-up rich woman stranded on a beach with a communist sailor. The two fall in love, but no one seemed to care. The movie flopped and Madonna “won” the Worst Actress Award from the Razzies — the opposite of the Oscars. To make matters worse, she was even nominated by the Razzies for Worst Actress of the Decade. Her cinematic efforts never seemed like more than a vanity project and the shallowness and laziness of “Swept Away” helped prove that.

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Mick Jagger. The lead singer of The Rolling Stones is a one-of-a-kind leading man when it comes to rock ‘n’ roll. However, as far as acting goes, Jagger should have never branched out beyond music videos.

His biggest role came in 1992 with the terrible science fiction movie “Freejack.” The film was about a race car driver played by Emilio Estevez, who was being hunted in the “future” by Jagger’s character. The only thing worse than the film was the acting of the rock star. Movie website Screen Rant called the performance “laughable” and said Jagger was “delivering lines like he’s reading them from cue cards behind the camera.” Luckily, Jagger hasn’t acted much since then. A few more forced roles may have seriously damaged his reputation and legacy as one of rock’s best frontmen.

Vanilla Ice. The star’s acting job in “Cool as Ice” came across as the definition of pure ego. Riding on the wave of success from his catchy hit, “Ice Ice Baby,” the rapper made a film that seemed to have no plot and no point (other than giving him a starring role).

Ice played the leader of some sort of rapping motorcycle gang. When they get stranded in a small town in middle America, Ice fell for an honor student and stareds throwing out lines like, “Drop the zero and get with the hero.” It was often hard to tell if the movie was meant to be a comedy. Ice’s performance in the flop of a film was the beginning of the end for his ’90s centric career.

Luckily, Ice has found ways to poke more fun at himself and his wooden acting in recent Adam Sandler comedies like “That’s My Boy” and “The Ridiculous Six.”

Related: What Will HBO Do After ‘Game of Thrones’?

Mariah Carey. Like Ice’s “Cool as Ice,” Mariah Carey’s “Glitter” was little more than an ego trip. It’s now known as one of the prime examples of why musicians should steer clear of movie sets.

The movie followed a young singer (Carey) who rose to stardom after being discovered by a DJ. She fell for the DJ and faced all the negatives that can come with fame. Meant to revitalize Carey’s career, the role instead was another example of a clueless performance from a singer who was merely attempting to be an actor. Carey was nominated for Worst Actress by the Razzies for her performance — and “Glitter” remains one of the worst debacles she’s been involved with professionally.

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