Five Other Musicians We'd Like to See Take on Historical Fiction
This past week Downtown Abbey fans got a hell of a shock when Diddy announced via Twitter that he was going to be starring on the show, his purported favorite. Producers were quick to deny it, but no doubt fans of the PBS period drama were a little hesitant to even imagine Diddy, a rapper with exactly one acting credit on his resume, appearing on their favorite show.
Luckily for everyone involved, it turned out that the whole thing was a publicity stunt for a Funny or Die parody of Downtown Abbey starring Diddy. Nevertheless, it caught Rocks Off's attention and got me wishing that more musicians would get into period dramas and historical fiction.
Why on earth would it make me want that? Because I love things that are ridiculous. So to any TV producers reading right now, here are five ridiculous (and awesome ideas) to exploit this burgeoning genre of television which Diddy has now pioneered.
5. Ted Leo
Ted Leo of "and the Pharmacists" fame has one awesome trademark about his records: he always seems to come up with a traditional-sounding European jig. Hearts of Oak had Tell "Balgeary, Balgury is Dead," Living with the Living had "A Bottle of Buckie," and The Brutalist Bricks had "Bottled in Cork." The dude's so good at it, he's been mistaken for punk-jig pioneers the Dropkick Murphys.
With that in mind, he'd make a pretty great player in a historical drama based on the Irish War of Independence. Sure, Leo is a little more Irish by way of New Jersey, but that's fine; he can fake the accent. This one is gold as long as he soundtracks it as well, and John Lydon shows up as a soldier in the British army.
Moz practically lives in a period drama to begin with. Just take a look at his album covers or his videos. The man is obsessed with the greasers of the '50s, and I honestly believe being removed from that scene is why his lyrics exhibit so much angst and depression. Luckily, we can fix this.
Through the power of historical television dramas, we can give Moz what he's always wanted: a starring role in a fantasy where he is the James Dean character in a weekly TV series based on films like Rebel Without a Cause.
Jay-Z is already somewhat associated with period dramas as of late, mixing it up with Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1920s exploration of the Jazz Age, The Great Gatsby. We also saw Jay-Z take an intense interest in 2007's American Gangster, a period-crime piece set in the late '60s. So despite the fact that Jay-Z's sole acting credit is in 2002's less than well-received State Property, I want to see Hova's survival tales come to life in maybe the roughest era in American history for a gangster: the 1930s.
Imagine Jay-Z in the Depression, competing with guys like Al Capone for street dominance. Suddenly all his lyrics have come to life in a new way. And if you need any other proof that this is the idea of a lifetime for Jigga, then look no further than recent evidence, which suggests he may himself be a time traveler from the era anyway!