So far, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Sacha Baron Cohen, and Helena Bonham Carter are all signed on, and Amanda Seyfried is in talks to play Cosette. More than any of the other casting choices, though, Swift’s inclusion changes the dynamic of Les Mis and begs the question: Will the fan base of a bankable artist like her have any impact on ticket sales?
As a musician with only cameo-sized roles in feature films so far (if we’re calling Valentine’s Day a proper film), Swift doesn’t necessarily bring the proven acting chops to the table of, say, Crowe or Bonham Carter. What she does bring is a massive, highly committed fan base. But will it pay off?
So far, the jury’s still out for Justin Timberlake, whose big-screen appearances actually seems to have made his fans more vocal in support of his music career. Mandy Moore, who more often than not sings in her films, has seen middling success as an actress. Likewise, Jon Bon Jovi has thrown his hat in the acting ring a few times with only meh reception in light of his ultra-successful music career.
I don’t even need to tell you how things have turned out in the multiplex for Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, and Madonna.
On the flip side, other musicians who have proven much more bankable as actors — Will Smith, Mark Wahlberg, Queen Latifah, and Robert Pattinson (who claims to have been a struggling musician pre-Twilight and who actually benefited from his songs’ inclusion on the first film’s soundtrack) — prove that box office mojo isn’t entirely borne of acting prowess. Instead, these performers seem to capitalize on an X factor that extends beyond the cultural climate and legitimate talent of historical double and triple threats including Frank Sinatra, Cher, and Barbra Streisand, to name a few.
Swift’s acting skill is still up for debate, and the fact that she is playing a singing role should certainly help her chances. Still, the question remains: Will Swift’s appeal be strong enough to get her fans in seats for a production that features none of her original music and songs that are in an entirely different genre? Do fans believe in Taylor Swift the Actress, and are they willing to put their money where their mouths are?
What say you, music fans? Which camp will Swift fall into? Can she usher in a new generation of crossover talent, or is she doomed to totter in the footsteps of Xtina? Does the presence of a hot-ticket musician up your chances of shelling out to see a movie in the theater?