Most actors will eventually try their hand at singing during some point in their career, and the vast majority will fail spectacularly. However, occasionally a mediocre actor will dazzle us with their incredible musical prowess and discover that they were actually in the wrong job all along. The following actors all have an incredible set of lungs that caught Hollywood by surprise.
1. Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow never quite managed to set Hollywood on fire with her incredible acting abilities. She received harsh criticism from those in the movie industry after her Oscar win for Shakespeare in Love as many felt it was completely undeserved. She then stumbled from one bad movie to the next eventually taking time off to focus on her family life.
Gwyneth first unveiled her singing voice in the movie Duets with the song Cruisin’ by Smokey Robinson. The song went to number one in Australia. Gwyneth has also sung with fellow actor Ewan McGregor and rapper Jay Z.
2. Gerard Butler
Scottish actor Gerard Butler has managed to put in a few memorable performances over the years in movies such as 300 and Machine Gun Preacher, but fans have never forgiven him for The Bounty Hunter and P.S. I Love You. The hunky actor does, however, possesses an incredible singing voice that impressed Andrew Lloyd Webber so much he cast him in his film adaptation of Phantom of the Opera.
Gerard also sang in P.S. I Love You and was reportedly working on an album during filming of Playing For Keeps. Rumours that Gerard was receiving rock star lessons from Johnny Depp and Marilyn Mason were unfortunately not true.
3. Val Kilmer
Val Kilmer is guilty of almost destroying the Batman franchise along with the help of director Joel Schumacher. He has also starred in a number of other flops including The Saint, Red Planet, Alexander and Spartan. However, he stunned both Hollywood and the music industry with his incredible portrayal of troubled rock star Jim Morrison in The Doors.
Val immersed himself in the role for almost a year before filming began by dressing like Jim and even frequenting his former hang outs. After the film’s release, even Jim’s former bandmates couldn’t tell that it was Val singing in the movie and not Jim himself.
4. Keanu Reeves
Despite striking box office gold with The Matrix franchise, Keanu has often been criticised for his wooden acting style. Most film critics claim that he can only play two types of character which consist of either a dark, brooding hero such as Neo or a stoner like Ted from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.
Keanu managed to earn the respect of his musical peers back in the 90s as the bass player of rock band Dogstar. Keanu also provided backing vocals, and the band enjoyed a moderate level of success. Dogstar played at Glastonbury in 1999 and managed to release two albums during their career.
5. Anne Hathaway
Anne Hathaway has enjoyed a somewhat successful Hollywood career starring in films such as The Devil Wears Prada and The Princess Diaries. Anne’s popularity took a nosedive midway through her career and she quickly became one of the most hated actresses in Hollywood.
Despite there being no real reason for the world’s dislike of the beautiful actress, Anne soon found herself on the receiving end of a lot of harsh words and criticism. Anne silenced her critics after making her singing debut in the film adaptation of Les Miserables. Anne is actually a classically trained soprano singer and has performed in several stage musicals.
6. Catherine Zeta-Jones
Despite being one of Hollywood’s most recognisable stars, Catherine Zeta-Jones was once a small-town girl from Wales who dreamed of becoming an actress. She received praise for her role in the movie Traffic released in 1999, but has failed to repeat that success with a similar project.
She has, however, found success in a number of musical roles such as Velma in the hit film adaptation of Chicago, Desiree Armfeldt in the play A Little Night Music and as Patricia Whitmore in the musical Rock of Ages starring Tom Cruise. Catherine even received a Tony Award for her performance in A Little Night Music.
7. Taylor Momsen
Taylor Momsen began her acting career at just three-years-old after appearing in a national commercial for Shake ‘N Bake. She then went on the land roles in movies such as Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams. After a three year hiatus, Taylor burst back onto our screens as Jenny in the hit TV show Gossip Girl.
However Taylor’s biggest success has come as the lead singer of her rock band The Pretty Reckless. The group has released two studio albums and opened for Evanescence during their 2011 tour.
8. Jada Pinkett Smith
Will Smith is generally considered as the musical talent in his family followed closely by his daughter Willow. However, wife Jada Pinkett Smith shocked everybody after forming the heavy metal band Wicked Wisdom. Jada provided lead vocals for the band which performed on the second stage at Ozzfest in 2005.
Sharon Osbourne was apparently blown away by Jada’s vocals after seeing the band play at a LA nightclub. Fans of heavy metal music were apparently upset by the thought of a Hollywood celebrity taking the stage at such a prestigious music festival, but Wicked Wisdom managed to win the crowd over with their energetic performance.
9. Katy Sagal
Despite a varied acting career, Katy Sagal will forever be remembered as the sex-starved, sarcastic housewife Peg Bundy in the hit show Married With Children. The popular series ran for 11 years and made Katy into a household name. She has also appeared on Sons of Anarchy, Eight Simple Rules and provided the voice of Leela in the animated show Futurama.
Katy’s first venture into show business was as a backing vocalist for Bob Dylan. In 1978, she was a member of girl group The Harlettes that was fronted by Bette Midler. Katy has also released two albums entitled Well… and Room.
10. Nicole Kidman
Despite being a critically acclaimed actress with two Oscars under her belt, Nicole has so far failed to connect with movie fans. Many blame her cool, standoffish demeanour for making her seem inaccessible to most women as most prefer the slightly goofy, humble personalities of actresses such as Cameron Diaz.
Despite not being the most popular movie actress in Hollywood, Nicole does have a voice to die for, and her duet of Come What May with actor Ewan McGregor made it to number 27 in the UK Singles Chart. She also managed to score a number one hit in the UK with Somethin’ Stupid, a cover that she sang with Robbie Williams.
11. Juliette Lewis
Juliette Lewis shot to fame in the Martin Scorsese remake of Cape Fear alongside Robert De Niro. She also won acclaim for her roles in Natural Born Killers and From Dusk Till Dawn. Despite early success, Juliette has not been able to find decent movie roles since and has had to content herself with guest appearances on TV shows and video game soundtracks.
Luckily, Juliette has another job as a world famous rock star. Juliette formed the band Juliet and the Licks which took her on several tours and helped her carve out a name for herself in the music industry. After the band broke up in 2009, she has continued with a solo career and released her own album Terra Incognita.
12. Toni Collette
Toni Collette is an Australian actress who has appeared in a variety of films including Sixth Sense, Muriel’s Wedding and Little Miss Sunshine. She is also the lead singer of Toni Collette and the Finish, an Australian rock band featuring her husband Dave Galafassi on drums.
In 2006, the band played a live performance at the Sydney Opera House for Foxtel music stations MAX Sessions. The performance was one of the most popular in the show’s history and instantly elevated Toni to the status of professional singer. The band also enjoyed a sold-out tour of Australia in 2006.