10 pop stars turned film stars: From Joe Jonas and Harry Styles to Taylor Swift and Mariah Carey

As Joe Jonas signs up to make his movie debut, we look at the singers who swapped the stage for the big screen

Joe Jonas joins the likes of Janelle Monae and Harry Styles, both of whom have carved out successful film careers after starting out in music. Courtesy of Chanel, Instagram, Getty Images
Powered by automated translation

The latest pop star to swap the stage for the screen is none other than Joe Jonas, who this week was revealed to have joined the cast of Korean War drama, Devotion.

Set to play a member of US Navy VF-32 squadron during the War, who gets caught up in the drama when one of the members is shot down behind enemy lines, the casting marks what is now the fourth act of a career that started when he was 16 when he and his siblings, Nick and Kevin, signed a record deal as The Jonas Brothers.

Disney star, boy band member, pop singer with his band DNCE and now actor, Joe Jonas is emerging as a budding Hollywood Renaissance man. Instagram
Disney star, boy band member, pop singer with his band DNCE and now actor, Joe Jonas is emerging as a budding Hollywood Renaissance man. Instagram

And Jonas, 31, is just the latest in a long line of pop stars who’ve swapped their mic for movies. Here are nine more pop stars who’ve proved singers can also sometimes make great movie stars…

Harry Styles

The former One Direction star, 26, has not only conquered the pop world to become one of the biggest male solo stars, but his acting debut in Christopher Nolan's Oscar-winning Dunkirk earned him critical acclaim. Praised by Rolling Stone for his "subtle grace" in the role, the singer has parlayed his skills into a viable second career, and is currently filming Don't Worry Darling, alongside new girlfriend, Olivia Wilde.

Taylor Swift

Part of an all-star cast that included Julia Roberts, Bradley Cooper, Anne Hathaway and Jessica Alba, Swift showed her comedy chops in the 2010 movie Valentine's Day, starring as airhead cheerleader, Felicia, who loved nothing more than oversized stuffed animals and cheering on her man.


Having started out rapping at the age of 13, the New York native has made her transition to the big screen appear effortless. With two studio albums under her belt, 2014's Yellow Ranger and 2018 EP, In Fina We Trust, Awkwafina, 32, has also racked up an impressive movie resumé, with roles in Ocean's Eight, Crazy Rich Asians and The Farewell.

Justin Timberlake

From boy band to global pop star to actor in three easy steps, Timberlake, 39, is one of Hollywood's go-to triple threats. With his latest film, Palmer, out on Apple TV+ on January 29, Timberlake also boasts starring roles in Runner Runner opposite Ben Affleck and 2013 indie flick, Inside Llewyn Davis. However, it was his turn as Sean Parker in 2010's The Social Network that set the bar for his acting skills to date.


Although he's had cameo roles in occasional movies since, it was one and done for Detroit rapper, Eminem, as far as being a leading man was concerned. He starred in 2002's 8 Mile, the biopic loosely based on his life story. And Marshall Mathers (his real name), 48, took home the Best Original Song Oscar for Lose Yourself, which he wrote for the film.

Lady Gaga

The multi-Grammy winner, 34, was handpicked by director Bradley Cooper to appear in his 2018 remake of A Star is Born. "Lady Gaga is just kind of a revelation," said Cooper of her acting abilities. And she was nominated for two Oscars – Best Actress and Best Original Song – going on to scoop the latter for Shallow.

Whitney Houston

The late pop star helped pave the way for many entertainers to cross over into movies with her role in The Bodyguard. The film didn't go down well with critics, but fans loved it and it went on to become the second highest grossing film of 1992. Plus, Houston's version of Dolly Parton's I Will Always Love You for the soundtrack became the singer's longest-running number one, spending 14 weeks at the top of the US Billboard Hot 100.

Janelle Monae

Singer-songwriter and rapper, Monae, 35, has carved a career that straddles stage and screen. Having come to prominence after being featured on the 2006 Outkast album, Idlewild, which led to P Diddy signing her to his record label, the artist has so far released three albums. As far as her film career goes, 2016 was a huge year for the Kansas native, with the release of Moonlight and Hidden Figures, both of which were Oscar-nominated. Since then she has enjoyed starring roles in Welcome to Marwen, Harriet and Homecoming.

Mariah Carey

Although her first foray into film in 2001's Glitter was widely derided, the celebrated diva raised more than just the eyebrows she wasn't allowed to pluck when she appeared as dowdy social worker Mrs Weiss in 2009's Oscar-winning Precious. "She understood this woman and I knew that without the make-up she'd work," director Lee Daniels told Variety of why he cast her.


Read more: