Movie actors who cracked the charts: From silver screen to chart glory

2018 has seen several movie stars break into the music charts,

Actors playing pop star and vice versa has been common practice for years; but when a proper, bona fide A-list movie star finds themselves in the Top 40, it can feel like the equivalent of spotting a golden eagle in your back garden.

The latest star to add 'Top 40 single' to their CV is the Oscar/BAFTA/Golden Globe-winning Bradley Cooper. Following the success of his A Star Is Born remake, the cast recording - recorded by himself and Lady Gaga - reached Number 1 on the Official Albums Chart, while their rousing duet Shallow has topped the singles chart.

This year has also seen many of the cast from period musical drama The Greatest Showman find their way into the Official Chart. Not only is the soundtrack on course to be the UK's biggest album of 2018, but a selection of its songs featuring Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron and Keala Settle - including This Is Me and Rewrite The Stars - have dominated the Official Singles Chart.

Below are a selection of big-name actors who have successfully (if briefly) made the leap from the silver screen to the charts: 

Anne Hathaway

Anne's turn as Fantine in Tom Hooper's 2012 film adaptation of Les Misérables meant she had to perform the musical's best-known song, I Dreamed A Dream. As with the rest of the movie's songs, she recorded the vocals live on set, which were then later edited together with the music.

Anne's rendition of the song for the role, which she had vigorously prepared for, struck a chord with audiences, reaching Number 22 on the Official Singles Chart - outranking Susan Boyle's famous version of the song (37).

Jamie Foxx

First making a name for himself in films and popular US TV sketch show In Living Color in the early '90s, Jamie got a taste for success on the charts after featuring on Twista's Slow Jamz in 2003 and Kanye West's Gold Digger in 2005, the latter of which saw him sing the Ray Charles-influenced hook. Both were global smashes and led Jamie into pursuing a music career.

When it comes to albums, he's had more success in the States than in the UK, though 2006's Unpredictable did reach Number 9 on the Official Albums Chart and spawned a Top 20 single.

Ryan Gosling & Emma Stone

In late 2016/early 2017, the movie world was going ga-ga for La La Land, the story of an aspiring actress (Emma Stone) and jazz pianist (Ryan Gosling) who meet and fall in love in Los Angeles while pursuing their dreams. The film's central theme, the wistful City Of Stars (helmed by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who also wrote the music for The Greatest Showman), won an Oscar for Best Original Song and only just missed the Top 40, peaking at 53, while the soundtrack itself reached Number 1. Check out more soundtracks that topped the albums chart here.

Kate Winslet

In a recent interview, Kate cringed at recalling her first and only foray into music in 2001, but the track itself still stands as a wonderful slice of noughties nostalgia. The star recorded What If for Christmas Carol: The Movie and was quickly thrown in as a contender for that year’s Official Christmas Number 1. It reached a very respectable Number 6 in the end, beaten to the top by Robbie Williams and a certain other actress making it big on the charts...

Nicole Kidman

Nicole topped the Official Singles Chart in 2001 with a cover of Somethin' Stupid, a collaboration with Robbie Williams taken from his Swing When You're Winning album. The duo's cutesy duet and its extremely suggestive accompanying music video even saw it claim that year's Official Christmas Number 1.

We're guessing Nicole was spurred on to record the duet after warming up her vocal chords earlier that year as the lead in romantic comedy musical Moulin Rouge, which itself had earned Nicole her first Top 40 entry two months earlier - Come What May with co-star Ewan McGregor reached Number 27. Check out Nicole's complete UK chart history here.

John Travolta

John's film and music career began in tandem in the early '70s, though his music hadn't impacted the charts until he was cast as leading man Danny Zuko in Grease. Starring alongside the already-successful singer Olivia Newton-John (she'd notched up six Top 20 hits before the film's release), the pair were an unstoppable force on the charts in the summer of '78, when music from the movie was released.

You're The One That I Want logged nine weeks at Number 1 and was John's first entry on the UK chart. Summer Nights followed shortly after, while Sandy peaked at Number 2. Several remixes and megamixes of the songs have also charted in the years since - check out his complete chart history here.

Jennifer Lawrence

Jennifer's foray into music almost didn't happen at all. The Hanging Tree, which she sings in Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, didn't originally appear on the film's soundtrack (only the score) and was later added on a digital re-release. The track, which served as an anti-Capitol propaganda song in the film, was hugely popular with fans and reached Number 14 on the Official Chart.

Hugh Laurie

After a string of successful TV shows and major motion pictures, Hugh Laurie turned to music in 2011. The star had learned to play the piano form the age of six, and over the course of his acting career had shown his musical talents for the guitar, drums, harmonica and saxophone.

His debut album of blues covers Let Them Talk - featuring Tom Jones and Irma Thomas - was a hit, reaching Number 2 on the Official Albums Chart. Follow-up, Didn't It Rain, reached Number 3 in 2013, proving his initial success wasn't a fluke.

Brittany Murphy

Despite a passion for singing from a young age, Brittany once said in an interview that when he acting career took off, she "kept it a secret" when it came to her vocal abilities. That was until 2006, when she proudly displayed her powerful and razor-sharp vocals on Paul Oakenfold's Faster Kill Pussycat, which peaked at Number 7 on the Official Chart.

That same year, Brittany recorded two songs for the soundtrack of animated film Happy Feet, as well as voicing the character Gloria. Sadly, we'll never know if she planned to revisit music. 

Lindsay Lohan

After a run of successful films between 1998-2004, Lindsay Lohan turned her attention to music. The results were mixed, but Lindsay's teen-pop-rock sound spawned two albums, Speak and A Little More Personal (Raw). Both failed to chart in the UK, but single Over found its way into the Top 40 in 2004.

Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth got a taste for music when she landed her first ever scripted TV role in musical show Glee, playing the chipper Holly Holliday for five episodes across two series. She didn't do things by halves either, taking on Adele's Turning Tables and Fleetwood Mac's Landslide solo plus renditions of Cee Lo Green's Forget You and a Singing In The Rain/Umbrella mash-up with the cast, both of which reached the Top 40

Anna Kendrick

Anna boosted the online 'Cups' phenomenon when she recorded the song for 2012 film Pitch Perfect. The cover of the Carter Family's 1931 song When I'm Gone, but performed a cappella with cups as percussion, didn't reach the Top 40 in the UK (topping out at 71), but its chart success across the globe can't be denied, reaching the Top 10 in 11 countries including Number 6 in the US. 

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