Double Threat: 5 Blockbuster Actors Who Also Play in Bands
Acting in major motion pictures is a very time-consuming career. From memorizing scripts and rehearing scenes to attending premieres, it's a wonder Hollywood actors ever have the time to pick up a hobby. While squeezing in a fishing trip in between the Oscars and a shoot sounds reasonable, playing in a band on the regular seems crazy. There are, however, the chosen few who are so committed to both acting and music, they find a way to make it work. And it's not always the typecast leading man who plays a rock star in the movies that has a rock band in real life. (Although sometimes it is him.) We rounded up five of these talented stars who can claim both movie and album credits. Click through the gallery above to find out which of your favorite actors have the music bug too.
1. Aziz Ansari
Aziz Ansari was so inspired by his character in Judd Apatow’s Funny People that he decided to bring his hip-hop alias “Raaaaaaaandy” out of the movie and into real life. The Parks & Rec star proved his comedic range by partnering up with David Sitek of TV on the Radio to release an actual rap mixtape. One of the first tracks that dropped was titled “Aaaaaaaangry” and went after all the rappers who refused to deliver on verses for the mixtape, including Eminem, Jay-Z, Dr. Dre, and Kanye. Get a good laaaaaaaaugh here.
2. Scarlett Johansson
When David Sitek partnered up with Ansari to pursue a very serious rapping career, it wasn’t his first brush with actor/musicians. He had also produced Anywhere I Lay My Head, Johansson’s first album, in 2008. The album, composed of one original song and 10 covers of Tom Waits songs (check out the title track here). It received mixed reviews from critics, but enjoyed enough commercial success that Johansson might come back for seconds in the future.
In the meantime, she kept dabbling in the music industry with projects like the collaborative album Break Up that she recorded with singer/songwriter Peter Yorn. Johansson also appears on the soundtrack of He’s Just Not That Into You, and, in 2012, the documentary Chasing Ice featured a song that she added vocals to and it ended up nabbing an Oscar nomination for “Best Original Song.”
3. Ryan Gosling
The Notebook cemented Gosling’s future as a globally recognized actor, but his music career still flies under the radar. Gosling is one half of the alternative rock duo Dead Man’s Bones, and it’s where he can really let his indie side out. The first Dead Man’s Bones album, released in 2009, was a months-long collaboration with a children’s choir. You can check it out here.
4. Zooey Deschanel
In between filming New Girl and being the face of nerd chic everywhere, Zooey Deschanel will be going on tour this summer as the vocals behind indie band, She & Him. And, as if that’s not enough, Deschanel wrote most of the songs off their latest album, Volume 3, herself. The new album will be promoted around the US for the next couple of months, and you check out Deschanel and bandmate M. Ward's performance on The Tonight Show here.
5. Johnny Depp
Long before he got behind the cameras, Depp experienced minor success from his lesser known career as a guitarist. He dropped out of high school to pursue his music ambitions, and when his first band “The Kids” broke up, he went on to strum for the band Oasis and appeared in a music video for Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. Occasionally, he meshed his actor/musician worlds by getting to play guitar in a few scenes from Chocolat, as well as performing numerous musical numbers in the macabre hit, Sweeney Todd. Watch Johnny Depp performing with The Kids in Pompano Beach, FL in 2007 on YouTube.