Let's say you happen to be Jared Leto ...
Right. You wish.
But let's just pretend you're Leto, just a few months after winning a best supporting actor Oscar for "Dallas Buyers Club." Producers are lining up to pitch you plum roles. Your earning power just shot up. So what are you going to do next?
Go on tour with your rock band?
That's exactly what Leto is doing this summer, taking his alternative/hard rock outfit Thirty Seconds to Mars out on the road (the band's tour with Linkin Park and AFI comes to the Concord Pavilion on Sept. 19). So this must be another case of an actor taking advantage of his fame to play rock star for a few months, right?
Not even close. Leto had just earned critical praise for starring as long-distance runner Steve Prefontaine in "Prefontaine" when he formed the band with his brother in the late 1990s. Thirty Seconds started out as a little-known critics' favorite but has since gone on to sell more than 10 million records worldwide. Leto is a formidable singer and frontman, and he probably is the best example of an A-list actor who's also successful in the music world. Many, many have tried, and some, of course, have been better than others. Here's a critical rundown, from very good to very forgettable.
Jeff Bridges: Bridges wasn't known for his musical abilities until he played a legendary, drunk, down-on-his-luck (is there any other kind?) country singer in "Crazy Heart," performing and even writing some of the songs in the movie. After that, he teamed with T Bone Burnett in 2011 on the very solid country-roots record "Jeff Bridges."
Kevin Bacon: Along with his brother Michael -- an accomplished musician with a Grammy on his shelf -- Kevin picked up a guitar and got behind the mic 20 years ago and decided he liked it. The Bacon Brothers play solid if a bit soft rock that's spacious enough for Kevin's solid voice.
Juliette Lewis: Lewis toyed with music in the '90s before going all-out punk a decade later with her band The Licks. Her voice is just nasty enough to go along with her posing. I think she's probably seen Iggy Pop once or twice.
Russell Crowe: Crowe has actually recorded five records and toured with his band 30 Odd Foot of Grunts (I don't know what it is about singing actors and the number 30). The music is passable -- mostly roots and R&B, and Crowe's singing is OK. Without his fame, this outfit is nothing more than a decent bar band.
Billy Bob Thornton: Solo and with his band The Boxmasters, Thornton obviously has good taste, playing alt-country that channels a bit of modern Bob Dylan (no, I'm not comparing the two). Thornton isn't much of a singer, but he makes up for it by surrounding himself with a crack band.
Colin Farrell: Like the Goo-Goo Dolls? Apparently so does Farrell. The actor has done some music for a few films and is actually a pretty good singer. He turned some heads singing his own parts as a country singer in "Crazy Heart" with Bridges.
Don't quit your day job
Bruce Willis: Willis tried convincing the Earth he was an old blues singer in the '80s. He didn't sound too terrible -- if you are hearing-impaired. Actually, make that sight-impaired as well, as the act also was pretty bad on the eyes.
Keanu Reeves: "The Matrix" actor turned rocker in the '90s, playing bass in Dogstar. The band was kind of like the Gin Blossoms, only worse.
Lindsay Lohan: You didn't know Lohan had a singing career? Exactly.
Scarlett Johansson: She's a performer who's difficult not to like -- unless she's singing Tom Waits covers. She really can sing and has good taste. Which is why it's strange that, more often than not, it just doesn't work.
Eddie Murphy: Imitating good singers isn't the same as being one.
Kevin Costner: No.
John Corbett: See Kevin Costner.
Jada Pinkett Smith: Whether she's doing ballads or Nu Metal -- yes, you read that right -- she just can't keep up with her band. When Will Smith is your husband, the angry schtick doesn't work.