Music superstars and Hollywood have always had a strange relationship.
It’s one that has resulted in everything from Elvis Presley (who got to star in 31 movies, despite most of them being terrible) to Bjork (who starred in one film, was nominated for a Golden Globe, then promptly quit acting) to Frank Sinatra and Jennifer Hudson, who won Oscars. When the music careers of these noted names were hot, Hollywood came calling — but only some stars translate.
Perhaps most peculiar, however, is the case of Sean “Puffy” Combs. Flashing back to the late ’90s — when his album “No Way Out” was going seven times platinum and his videos were in heavy rotation on MTV — his talent, self-promotional skills and handsome features seemed like they could drop him somewhere between Will Smith and Ice Cube. Yet, twenty years later, his Hollywood career remains non-existent.
On one hand it’s strange, because he has certainly seemed to turn his considerable focus on making it in Hollywood on multiple occasions. On the other, Forbes estimated in 2015 that Combs is worth $735 million, so it’s not like he needs to be making superhero films.
Either way, let’s take a look at the strange Hollywood adventures of Sean “Diddy/P. Diddy/Puff Daddy/Puffy” Combs and see why the movies haven’t really helped him make much of his, ahem, “Dirty Money.”
The latest in Combs’ crazy Hollywood adventures — Seth Rogen has revealed that Combs was supposed to play a part in his August 11 movie about foul-mouthed sausages and horny hot dog buns. This was until Diddy realized the movie wasn’t live-action.
“We had a call with him,” Rogen remembers of their discussion of the script, which cast Combs as a bottle of Courvoisier. “He was like, ‘I read this. It was so funny. I loved it.’ And then he was like, ‘So how are we going to film it? What are the suits going to look like? Are the aisles going be huge so we look little?’ And it was clear he thought it was a live-action movie.”
Even stranger, when Rogen told Combs that it was a CG-cartoon, Puffy lost interest. “We told him it wasn’t [live action], and you could literally hear his interest plummet through the floor,” Rogen explains to Yahoo Movies.
“And for some weird reason, the version of the movie where he pictured himself in a sweaty Courvoisier bottle for 12 hours a day was far more desirable to him than the version that just required him to step into a recording booth for, like, 45 minutes,” continued Rogen.
‘Any Given Sunday’
Years before he’d talk to Seth Rogen about sausages, Puff Daddy envisioned his late ’90’s high-profile movie debut: Starring alongside a cast of Hollywood heavyweights, playing a muscular athlete in an Oliver Stone movie. But there was just one problem. After getting himself cast as NFL quarterback Willie Beamen in the film “Any Given Sunday,” Combs reportedly showed up to set unable to convincingly throw a football.
Other rumors said Combs dropped out to concentrate on his music career. Either way, Jamie Foxx took on the role like Gehrig stepping in for Pipp, catapulting his post-“Booty Call” career instead of launching Puffy. It’s one of the all-time great Hollywood questions: If Sean Combs knew how to throw a football, would he now have Jamie Foxx’s career?
‘Raisin in the Sun’
In 2008, Combs played Walter Lee Younger in a TV adaptation of the classic Lorraine Hansberry play, following several hundred performances in the role on Broadway. While his theatrical work was impressive, the attempts to retcon his acting career were not.
“This is my debut as an actor starring in a film,” Combs told MTV, understandably forgetting his (very forgettable) work in films like “Made,” “Monster’s Ball” and the straight-to-video “Carlito’s Way: Rise to Power.”
He also seemed to overlook other facts, calling himself a “young actor” at age 38 and referring to “Raisin” as “the first television film to be seen here at Sundance.” Spoiler alert: It wasn’t.
‘I’m Still Here’
Remember when Joaquin Phoenix was one of the hottest stars in Hollywood, then nearly killed his career by talking about the frogs in his hair, launching a rap career and just generally going insane? Sean Combs was one of a handful of people who were pulling the puppet strings.
The goal of it all was to release “I’m Still Here,” a mockumentary intended to reveal the April Fool and make everyone laugh with Phoenix rather than at him. Combs appeared in the movie, but you might not remember any of that, because it was so poorly received and pretty much rejected at the box office.
Was Combs really criticizing Phoenix’s skills as a rapper? Was he giving a performance, or playing himself? By the time the film came out, nobody cared.