As is often the case when I’m on YouTube, when I was browsing around to find Keira Knightley’s clip for yesterday’s post, I got sidetracked watching other similar clips. She’s just one of a handful of actors who surprisingly has a pretty decent singing voice. So I decided to list 10 of them that I think are particularly noteworthy. Now, I’m not talking about actors who may have some vocal training unrelated to a film role. Emmy Rossum, for example, who played Christine in Phantom of the Opera, she blew me away with her amazing Soprano but apparently she was trained at the NY Metropolitan Opera. I’m also excluding actors who double as singers/musicians, such as Scarlett Johansson, Russell Crowe with his The Ordinary Fear of God band, Keanu Reeves with Dogstar, and others listed here. But these are contemporary actors who blew us away with their singing voice, despite any vocal training prior to their given movie roles. So here goes:
Ewan McGregor & Nicole Kidman
I was totally dazzled by both of them in Moulin Rouge, especially by McGregor’s stunning voice. If he were to record an album one day, I’d definitely be the first to buy it! He’s got such amazing control for a non-singer, even during the high notes. His voice is the reason the movie’s soundtrack remains one of my favorites!
Joaquin Phoenix & Reese Witherspoon
Not only did Joaquin and Reese have to sing all the Johnny Cash songs themselves, they also had to learn how to play the musical instruments from scratch. I thought they sounded really good together, not to mention the amazing chemistry between them. According to the movie’s trivia on IMDb, when Joaquin was learning how to sing and play guitar like Johnny Cash in the months following the start of filming, his voice was too high and the band had to learn how to play Cash’s songs in a higher key. But then just before they started filming, Joaquin’s voice dropped closer to John’s level and the band had to re-learn the songs in their original key.
I guess he is destined for a musical career after all, but I never thought in a million years it’d be rap! I certainly hope he’d come to his senses and return to the acting business.
I actually never saw Duets, but I heard this song she did with Huey Lewis on the radio and later learned it was indeed her own voice! I thought she sounded far better than actual singers. It’s interesting that she ended up marrying a lead singer of Coldplay. Wonder if she’d ever do a duet with Chris Martin? Nah, I doubt it.
We know he’s a great actor, but when I saw him in Beyond the Sea, I thought he could definitely have a musical career if he wanted to. I’m sure the real Bobby Darin (pardon the misspelling earlier) would’ve been proud, though he apparently died before he reached the actor’s age at the time he played him (44). I recently learned Spacey’s a great impersonator as well. He did a bunch of impersonations (Pacino, Brando, Chris Walken, etc.) during Inside the Actor’s Studio interview, and completely nailed every single one of them.
I’ve been listening to Andrew Llyod Webber’s music for as long as I can remember, but the second I heard Gerry sing the Music of the Night, I was done for. He may not have the best vocal chops, but there’s something about the way he sang each song that was so mesmerizing. In fact, I now prefer Gerry’s version of the Phantom songs than that of Michael Crawford’s!
He’s said in many interviews that he took vocal lessons as soon as he was considered (though not yet confirmed) for the role, and continued practicing the songs even during filming Dear Frankie. My favorite part is in the DVD deleted scene when he sang No One Would Listen.
Here’s also a clip from P.S. I Love You where he sang I Love You ‘Til The End. I don’t care what critics say about this film but I LOVE this film, and it’s one of Gerry’s best roles IMO (yes, playing a character also named Gerry no less!)
Most people probably know Kilmer is a good singer from playing Jim Morrison in The Doors. But I first heard him sing in this WWII spy movies parody Top Secret! where he played an American rock and roll singer Nick Rivers. His comic skills and vocals are amazing, he even got the Elvis moves down pat!
Apparently there’s few this multi-talented actress can’t do. Winslet sang this beautiful, melancholic song in Sense & Sensibility, where Col. Brandon first saw and fell in love with her. I thought she sounded really good even without a full orchestra behind her. She also sung in the musical comedy Romance & Cigarettes along with James Gandolfini.
Though he’s been a guitar player in several bands, according to IMDb, Sweeney Todd marked the first time he’d ever publicly sung in his life. This wasn’t Depp’s first musical, but his voice was actually dubbed in Cry Baby. To prepare for Sweeney’s role, he often practiced singing the songs during filming the third Pirates movie.
I’m sure I’m forgetting some important people here. Please do chime in if you think of other actors that belong in this list.