[[quoteright:350:[[Film/SnowWhiteAndTheThreeStooges http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/snow_white_stooges_poster_1286.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Starring Carol Heiss, a trained skater, not an actor.]]

->''"Apparently back in the 90s, people thought if you could look in the camera and say "Drink Pepsi", you were considered a good actor."''
-->-- '''[[WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic Nostalgia Critic]]''', ''Film/{{Kazaam}}'' Review

Hiring of a big celebrity in a '''starring role''' (''not'' a supporting or minor one), even if it's not the sole major role, in a movie, play, or TV show. Only, this celebrity isn't known for acting. In fact, this may be the celebrity's first acting job. A close cousin of StuntCasting, only with a bit more risk, since the stunt castee doesn't have much experience (if any), and is practically carrying the project despite that inexperience.

So why is it done with such risks? Well the fact is that [[WillSmith this]] [[Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger sometimes]] [[Music/DavidBowie works]] (it tends to work better for stand-up comedians, singers and [[{{Kayfabe}} pro wrestlers]], being close to what they normally do for a living anyway). Also even if the vehicle is a failure, the new actor may still have a career afterwards.

You are most likely to see IAmNotLeonardNimoy play throughout the movie. If the work is about the celebrity in RealLife it overlaps with AutobiographicalRole. If the celebrity's role is doing what they're famous for, it overlaps with CastTheExpert.
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!!Examples:
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[[folder:Musicians]]
* WillSmith in ''Series/TheFreshPrinceOfBelAir'', which saved him from bankruptcy and [[StarMakingRole launched his blockbuster acting career]]. The show hung a lampshade on it here and there.
* BritneySpears in ''Crossroads''.
* Music/DavidBowie in ''Film/TheManWhoFellToEarth''. Although he didn't really act before this, he studied mime and acting in TheSixties as his recording career slowly gained ground and incorporated his new skills into his stage act. He went on to appear in a number of films in both lead and supporting roles, such as ''Film/MerryChristmasMrLawrence'' and ''Film/{{Labyrinth}}'', and performed on Broadway as the title character in ''The Elephant Man'' in 1980.
* Neil Diamond in ''Film/TheJazzSinger'' (1980). He won a Worst Actor Razzie for his performance, but this is a good example of a performer who managed to retain their original career after trying their hand at this trope; in fact, three of his biggest hits -- "America", "Love on the Rocks", and "Hello Again" -- were written for this film.
* Luciano Pavarotti in ''Yes, Giorgio''.
* {{Madonna}} in ''Film/DesperatelySeekingSusan'', where she played a pop musician. Led to an almost two-decades-long acting career, in which she generally did well if she was part of an ensemble (as in ''Film/DickTracy'', ''ALeagueOfTheirOwn'', and ''Film/{{Evita}}''), and usually didn't fare so well if she was appearing in a star vehicle (as in ''[[SweptAway2002 Swept Away]]'').
* MariahCarey in ''Film/{{Glitter}}''.
* [[Music/TheRollingStones Mick Jagger]] in ''{{Performance}}'' and ''Ned Kelly''
* Music/VanillaIce in ''Film/CoolAsIce''. Since then, he's mostly appeared in cameos and non-major roles.
* Music/{{Eminem}} in ''Film/EightMile''. Though considering he was basically playing himself in the film, how much actual acting was involved is open for debate.
* WhitneyHouston in ''Film/TheBodyguard''.
* Music/{{Bjork}} in ''Film/DancerInTheDark''. It was such a bad experience for her that she swore she'll never act again.
* Olivia Newton-John in ''Film/{{Grease}}''.
* Doris Day, before starring in ''Romance on the High Seas'', was known only as a singer.
* [[Music/FiftyCent 50 Cent]] in ''Get Rich Or Die Tryin''.
* Cellist Yo-Yo Ma in the Creator/AtomEgoyan film ''[[http://www.bullfrogfilms.com/catalog/sara.html Sarabande]]''.
* ''PurpleRain'', created as a showcase for the singer Music/{{Prince}} and based on his album of the same name. It won an award for Best Original Score.
* Music/TheBeatles in: ''Film/AHardDaysNight'', ''Film/{{Help}}!'', ''Film/MagicalMysteryTour'', ''[[InkSuitActor Yellow]] [[WesternAnimation/YellowSubmarine Submarine]]''... In fact, it was because of these movies that Music/RingoStarr got his taste for acting.
* Shirley Manson, lead singer of the band Garbage, as Catherine Weaver in [[TheSarahConnorChronicles Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles]].
* {{Franchise/Terminator}} 2: Judgement Day ''[[WhatCouldHaveBeen almost]]'' did this for Billy Idol. He was originally picked to play the T-1000, but had to turn down the role because of a motorcycle accident. ''W.A.S.P.'' frontman Blackie Lawless was also considered for the role at one point but got turned down for being too tall.
* ''Music/WeirdAlYankovic'' in Film/{{UHF}}, but it was not as much a leap for him as he was already accustomed to delivering comic performances and the movie was basically "what would TV be like if Weird Al did that instead of music parodies?"
* Bette Midler in ''The Rose''; though she had dabbled in the theatre in her early career, it was her first movie role. She went on to have a long and fairly successful career as an actress, reaching her peak in both fields at about the same time (the late [[TheEighties 1980s]] and early [[TheNineties 1990s]]).
* John Denver in ''OhGod''.
* The 1956 Broadway musical ''Mr. Wonderful'' gave Sammy Davis, Jr. his first starring role; it incorporated a large portion of his nightclub act wholesale.
* Several members of Music/AKB48 took part in the anime AKB0048. Quite a few of them had no acting experience up until then.
* Korean Television Stations are frequently used as places where singing idols try to diversify their entertainment value:
** The DoggedNiceGuy in ''BoysBeforeFlowers'' is Kim Hyun Joon from the group [=SS01=]. He shows up again in ''PlayfulKiss''.
** Almost every lead character in ''DreamHigh'' has a RealLife career in a singing group. This is not surprising, though, as the premise of the KoreanDrama is a bunch of kids at a high school which specializes in the entertainment business (like the 1980's show "Fame").
** ''Series/OhMyLady'' stars Si Won, one of the singers in the BoyBand SuperJunior. His character is [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] as having the worst acting skills ever.
** Mickey Yoochun, from the music groups TVXQ and JYJ, played the LonelyRichKid in ''SungkyunkwanScandal''.
** ''YouAreBeautiful'' has several, including Lee Hong Ki from the group Music/FTIsland and Jung Yong Hwa from CD Blue. In a non-musical reversal, Jang G'suen Suk started as a model before the show, and just released his first music album in April 2011.
** Though not a TV show, Jessica Jung of GirlsGeneration appeared in the Korean production of ''LegallyBlondeTheMusical''.
** Suzy of miss A in ''Series/TheGuFamilyBook''.
* Music/TheVillagePeople and Bruce Jenner in ''Can't Stop the Music''; the former also overlaps with AutobiographicalRole.
* [[Music/TwistedSister Dee Snider]] in the horror movie ''Strangeland'', which he wrote himself.
* [[Music/ThePolice Sting]] starred in the 1982 adaptation of ''Brimstone and Treacle'' (The Police recorded three songs for its soundtrack, and Sting contributed two solo ones) and 1985's ''The Bride'', and had supporting roles or cameos in ''Film/{{Quadrophenia}}'', ''Film/{{Dune}}'', ''Film/TheAdventuresOfBaronMunchausen'' and ''Film/LockStockAndTwoSmokingBarrels''.
* ''Film/TwoLaneBlacktop'', starring a young James Taylor and Music/TheBeachBoys drummer Dennis Wilson.
* Music/GeorgeStrait in ''Pure Country''. The movie didn't do too well, but Strait's soundtrack is the best-selling album of his career.
* The 1988 Broadway musical flop ''Legs Diamond'' was this for singer-songwriter Peter Allen, who wrote the songs and played the title character.
* DavidLynch likes doing this in his movies. Since he's started his singing career, you could arguably call his film direction an example of this.
** ''Film/{{Dune}}'', as noted above, has Sting in a supporting role as one of the villains.
** ''TwinPeaksFireWalkWithMe'' has Music/ChrisIsaak in a major role, and a memorable MindScrew of a cameo by a time-displaced DavidBowie.
* ''WildAtHeart'', though not a straight example of this trope, is sort of a parody of the films of Music/ElvisPresley, with Creator/NicolasCage as the Elvis equivalent.
* ''LostHighway'' has cameos by Marilyn Manson and Henry Rollins, in a ShowWithinAShow porn film.
* TomWaits has acted enough that he may not even count as a non-actor anymore.
* Arlo Guthrie, AsHimself in ''Alice's Restaurant''.
* ''Film/TheOscar'' gave singer Tony Bennett a significant [[AndStarring "introducing/as"]] credit. He never appeared in another feature film.
* In France, ''Creator/ABProductions'' was specialized on this ([[{{Macekre}} among other things]]): Most "actors" in AB-produced sitcoms were new singers trying to get notoriety. It worked at the time, but became a stain on their reputation after AB shows fell out of favor.
* Kid/Teen salsa group Salserín starred on several of these in the late 1990's: the first one was "''La primera vez''" (which was more known as "Salserín: [[TheMovie La Película]]"), where the kids and their producer were more or less on {{Autobiographical Role}}s; then the soaps "''De sol a sol''", "''Yo sin ti''", "''Entre tú y yo''" and "''Dónde está el amor''". After several changes in the singers rooster, they got at it again in the late Noughties, first with a radio soap (''Envíame Mensajes'') and then the soaps "''Mi niña amada''", "''Mi otra mitad del sol''" and "''Robando Corazones''" on tv.
* When the singers from the first generation of Salserín, the brothers Servando and Florentino Primera, went solo, they starred in a movie, "''Muchacho solitario''". It was cynically made for two reasons: exploit their TeenIdol popularity, and give ProductPlacement to Golden brand soda. The guys ''did'' had some acting experience from their Salserín era , and Servando was a child actor before joining the band as a singer, but that couldn't be seen on screen, and despite their popularity at the time the film bombed

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[[folder:Sports Stars]]
* SonjaHenie in ''Film/{{One in a Million}}''. She made quite a few films after that.
* Swimmer EstherWilliams started a similar screen career with a supporting part in ''Film/AndyHardy's Double Life''. A series of star vehicles followed, starting with ''Bathing Beauty''.
* Carol Heiss in ''SnowWhiteAndTheThreeStooges'' was an attempt to make her the next Sonja Henie. It unfortunately didn't work out that well; Film/TheThreeStooges weren't even brought in until the studio realized Heiss couldn't carry the movie.
* Two big vehicles for Shaquille O'Neal: ''{{Kazaam}}'' and ''Film/{{Steel}}''. His first film, ''Blue Chips'', had him in a supporting role (along with Penny Hardaway) in his natural element and was better-received.
* DwayneJohnson in ''[[TheMummyTrilogy The Mummy Returns]]'' and ''TheScorpionKing'' partially counts - it was more of a 'breakthrough to non-wrestling fans' rather than a direct example of this trope. He's had a successful acting career since then, to the point that he's not even credited as "The Rock" anymore.
* RandyCouture in the [[DirectToVideo straight to DVD]] sequel to ''The Scorpion King'', subtitled "Rise Of A Warrior".
* RoddyPiper in ''TheyLive'' He [[ThrowItIn ad-libbed]] one of the [[ChewBubblegum most memorable lines]] in the film and helped choreograph its [[FightScene famous fistfight]].
* Wrestling/HulkHogan in ''Film/NoHoldsBarred'', leading to other fims: ''Film/SuburbanCommando'', ''Film/MrNanny'', and ''Film/SantaWithMuscles''.
* Howie Long in ''Firestorm''.
* {{Batista}} in ''Film/TheManWithTheIronFists'' and ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy''.
* {{UFC}} champion Georges St-Pierre as Batroc in ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier''.
* Whichever wrestler is starring in any given [[Wrestling/{{WWE}} WWE Films]] project:
** The Rock, as mentioned above.
** ''Film/SeeNoEvil'', starring Kane.
** ''Film/TheMarine'', then ''12 Rounds'', and ''Legendary'', starring Wrestling/JohnCena.
** ''Film/TheCondemned'', starring StoneColdSteveAustin.
** And direct-to-DVD films starring The Big Show, Triple H, Mr. Kennedy, Randy Orton and Ted Dibiase, Jr.
*** TripleH also played one of the lead vampires in ''[[Film/{{Blade}} Blade: Trinity]]'', while StoneColdSteveAustin was part of the [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters giant ensemble of action heroes]] in ''TheExpendables'', more because of their physically intimidating presence than any particular acting chops and experience.
* MichaelJordan in ''Film/SpaceJam''.
* Dennis Rodman in ''Film/DoubleTeam'' (second-billed to Creator/JeanClaudeVanDamme) and later ''Film/SimonSez''.
* Two US Olympic male gymnasts attempted this trope back in the 1980s: Kurt Thomas in ''Film/{{Gymkata}}'' and Mitch Gaylord in ''American Anthem''[[note]]his co-star was Janet Jones, who went on to become Mrs. Wayne Gretzky[[/note]].
* Ray Allen in ''Film/{{He Got Game}}''.
* College football star (and high-profile NFL flop) Brian Bosworth in ''Stone Cold''. He's done a fair amount of supporting roles since then.
* Brazilian soccer star Breno Mello and track & field athlete Adhemar da Silvain in ''Orfeu Negro (Film/BlackOrpheus)''.
* Anime example: woman pro-wrestler Cutey Suzuki as the voice of {{Iczer}}-3. Also happens with (many) singers who take a turn as voice actors/actresses.
* Olympic Swimming champion and male model Johnny Weissmuller as ''{{Tarzan}}: the Ape Man''. His performance proved so successful that [[TypeCasting he was cast in the same role eleven more times]].
* Olympic gymnast Cathy Rigby took a turn playing the title character in the ''PeterPan'' stage musical in 1974 -- and did so well that she's ''still'' playing the role in TheNewTens!
* Jackie Robinson in ''The Jackie Robinson Story''.
* Taylor Firth in the 2010 remake of ''Ice Castles''.
* Creator/ArnoldSchwarzenegger in ''Hercules In New York''.
* ''{{Haywire}}'' stars UsefulNotes/MixedMartialArts covergirl Gina Carano.
* The 2010 ''Film/TheATeam'' film cast [[UsefulNotes/MixedMartialArts former UFC champion]] Quinton "Rampage" Jackson as B.A. Baracus, filling the shoes of Mr. T, who was also known for his tough-guy exploits before getting into acting. Jackson had done a few films before, such as a memorable cameo in ''Film/TheMidnightMeatTrain''.
* Rudolf Nureyev (ballet dancer) as Rudolph Valentino (silent movie star) in ''Valentino''.
* Similarly, Alexander Godunov (ballet dancer) as Daniel Hochleitner (Amish farmer and romantic rival of Harrison Ford's character, John Book) in ''{{Witness}}''.
* Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris in ''Safe at Home!''
* Italian alpine ski racer and former [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carabinieri carabiniere]] Alberto Tomba began, and ended, his film career with "Alex l'ariete" (''Alex the Ram''), where he played the eponymous "badass" cop. Predictably, his acting was beyond wooden, the film was a total mess and an abysmal failure at the box office. The film would be totally forgotten, if not for its SnarkBait status and the countless [[YoutubePoop poops]] made out of it by Italian "enthusiasts".
* This trope is attacked by Creator/GaryOldman in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIaWo-BlBjs this scene]] from a ''Jimmy Kimmel Live'' episode.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Other]]
* Creator/CindyCrawford in ''FairGame''.
* Creator/HarryHoudini in ''TheMasterMystery''.
* It was only a TV movie, but Vanna White of ''Series/WheelOfFortune'' fame starred in ''Goddess of Love'' on NBC. At that point in her career, the only other TV experience she had was… as a contestant on ''ThePriceIsRight'' in 1980 (two years before she took over the ''Wheel'' role she holds to this day).
* Creator/StevenSoderbergh likes this trope, apparently stemming from his experience working with non-actors in the 2005 indie film ''Bubble''.
** ''TheGirlfriendExperience'' stars porn actress Sasha Grey as a high-class callgirl.
** The previously mentioned ''{{Haywire}}'', starring MixedMartialArts fighter Gina Carano
** Sodebergh did this for himself in his surreal 1996 comedy ''Shizopolis'', which stars the man himself in not one but two roles. Underneath all its weird and surreal humor, it's really about Soderbergh examining the crumbling of his marriage (his real life ex-wife appears as his characters wife) as well as his anxieties about the future of his directing career in the wake of a series of flops following his debut ''Film/SexLiesAndVideotape''
* MickeySpillane in ''Ring of Fire''.
* John Wayne Bobbitt: ''Uncut''.
* DisneyChannel sitcoms like to do this a lot.
* {{Nickelodeon}} also seems fond of this. Maybe not as fond of it as Disney, since most of the cast of ''Series/ICarly'' and ''{{Victorious}}'' have acted before, one might say they invert it by taking moderately experienced actresses and using that to help launch their singing careers.
* MinstrelShows: Many of the acts existed solely to popularize and sell sheet music.
* Creator/AudieMurphy as himself in ''To Hell And Back''.
* Antonio Sabato Jr.(a former underwear model) in ''TheBigHit''
* StageMagician Doug Henning had two Broadway Musicals written around him, despite not being a singer; the first was ''The Magic Show'' in 1974, with music by Creator/StephenSchwartz, which was a huge success and ran for four years. It was based around Henning's unusal stage persona; set in a nightclub where a new scruffy magician goes up against a more traditional top-hat magician (played by David Ogden Stiers). The other was ''Merlin'' in 1983, based around the character from Arthurian Legend, but young and inexperienced. It also featured Chita Rivera as an evil sorceress and was the Broadway debut of Nathan Lane. It was a critical and commercial flop, notorious for having an exceptionally long preview period without officially opening, and while still charging full ticket prices (much like Theatre/SpiderManTurnOffTheDark did, years later).
[[/folder]]
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