With a few new musical biopics headed our way, there's a question to consider: Just how musically inclined should an actor be when they take on the role of a musician?

We expect a lot from the pros -- good chemistry, believable delivery of lines, sincere emotion -- but what about musical aptitude? We'll discuss whether the actor looks the part, but less often challenge whether they can hit the right notes. Sometimes it surely doesn't matter. If the band's music is simple enough, the skills can be learned before shooting. Thanks to the wonder of dubbing, if it's just singing, only the showmanship and performance matter. (Although there are times that actors can surprise with both, like Val Kilmer's stunning embodiment of Jim Morrison in The Doors.)

But when it comes to more talented musicians, it's not so easy to fake. If one is iconic enough to be immortalized once again on film, shouldn't the performance show that artistry? Some itch for James Franco to become Jeff Buckley in that upcoming biopic, but he's the one hopeful without any musical talent -- and no matter what he could learn on the fly, it wouldn't come close to Buckley's, well, Grace. Why bother with the project if we can't watch the notes flow through the fingers as they grasp the strings or pound the keys?
categories Cinematical