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Hollywood seems to have a strange willingness to trust pop stars, giving them plum roles in their big-budget films despite their lack of acting experience. Christopher Nolan has cast Harry Styles in his forthcoming war epic Dunkirk along with the likes of Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance and Cillian Murphy; last month, meanwhile, Take That singer Gary Barlow revealed he'd landed a part in arguably the year's most eagerly anticipated film, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, although he deigned to give any further information about what role he'll have.

Still, the sight of Barlow wielding a lightsaber or piloting an X-Wing would be par for the course when it comes to baffling Hollywood cameos by musicians. From the death metal band head-banging in a Jim Carrey comedy to indie singers hanging out in wizarding pubs and world-famous pop stars perishing in the apocalypse, here are some of the strangest.

Cannibal Corpse in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)

I've met at least one person at almost every show that tells me they found out about us from that movie

Death metal stalwarts Cannibal Corpse were sceptical when their record label told them Jim Carrey was desperate for them to feature in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. But Carrey's fanboy appreciation for the group turned out to be legitimate: as drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz told Noisey, the actor was so adamant they should be in the film that the studio even changed their shooting schedule to accommodate the band's touring commitments, and Carrey's first meeting with the group consisted of him reciting the lyrics to their track Rancid Amputation.

It was his request, too, that they play their track Hammer Smashed Face in the film, soundtracking the titular detective's fish-out-of-water experience at a death metal gig. "Since that movie came out, I've met at least one person at almost every show that tells me they found out about us from that movie," said Mazurkiewicz, adding, "Everybody in the world has seen that movie. I mean, President Obama has probably seen that movie - which means he's seen Cannibal Corpse, whether he liked it or not!"

I've met at least one person at almost every show that tells me they found out about us from that movie

Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea in Psycho (1998)

Gus Van Sant's version of Psycho was widely panned by movie reviewers when it came out in 1998. Essentially a shot-for-shot remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s horror classic, it was deemed "pointless" by the late king of film criticism Roger Ebert, who added, "If you have seen Hitchcock's film, you already know the characters, the dialogue, the camera angles, the surprises. All that is missing is the tension - the conviction that something urgent is happening on the screen at this very moment."

Among its quirks were Van Sant's decision to cast Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea as hardware store worker Bob Summerfield. The musician has made appearances in plenty of other, more well-received films, too, including Back To The Future 1 and 2, My Own Private Idaho and The Big Lebowski.

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Ian Brown in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)

I asked my sons, and they were like, 'Do it!' I did it for my sons. My brief was to be a romantic, bohemian wizard. I was into that

The big-screen adaptations of J. K. Rowling's novels have given plenty of musicians some Hollywood screen-time; Pulp's Jarvis Cocker and Steve Mackey and Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood and Phil Selway have all pitched up in the films as members of the wizarding band The Weird Sisters (Franz Ferdinand were originally set to portray the group). Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown, meanwhile, makes more of a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo in the third film in the series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. "The director is a friend of my girl and he said, 'I've got a part if you want it,'" Brown told NME. "I asked my sons, and they were like, 'Do it!' I did it for my sons. My brief was to be a romantic, bohemian wizard. I was into that."

You can spot him propping up the bar in the pub The Leaky Cauldron, using magic to stir his drink and reading Stephen Hawking's weighty scientific tome A Brief History of Time.

I asked my sons, and they were like, 'Do it!' I did it for my sons. My brief was to be a romantic, bohemian wizard. I was into that

Madonna in Die Another Day (2002)

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Not satisfied with merely providing the synth-heavy title song for 2002's Bond film Die Another Day, Madonna also made a brief appearance as on onscreen character. The singer plays Verity, a coach at a swanky fencing club in London, who spends her days tutoring Olympic hopefuls but still has time to trade double entendres with 007 (played by Pierce Brosnan for the final time). "I see you handle your weapon well," she says with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, and was subsequently rewarded with a Worst Supporting Actress at the 2003 Golden Raspberry Awards for her efforts.

Dave Grohl in The Muppets (2011)

The critically acclaimed big-screen reboot of The Muppets finds Kermit et al. desperately trying to raise enough money to save their beloved theatre from being demolished by greedy capitalist Tex Richman. In order to get the cash, Kermit needs to get the old gang together, but there's a snag: since they went their separate ways, Fozzie Bear has hooked up with tribute group The Moopets. Their drummer, Animool - a spoof version of beloved percussionist Animal - might look familiar: it's actually Foo Fighters frontman (and former Nirvana drummer) Dave Grohl.

A few years later, Grohl and Animal went head-to-head in an episode of The Muppet Show TV series to determine who was truly the most ferocious behind a kit (above).

Linkin Park's Chester Bennington in Saw 3D (2010)

It was actually a little more difficult than I expected because it took a lot for me to figure out how to portray this guy

Anyone who's seen just one entry in the gory Saw franchise will know exactly what to expect: hapless victims are given an extreme 'test' by a psychopathic serial killer in which they can only escape by withstanding severe pain and torture. For the seventh entry in the series, its creators decided to film it in 3D and to also recruit Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington as white power skinhead Evan. "It was actually a little more difficult than I expected because it took a lot for me to figure out how to portray this guy and what exactly his motives were going to be throughout," said the singer, bringing commendable, thespian-like dedication to the role of a man who can't save his friends from a grisly death because he’s been superglued to a car seat.

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It was actually a little more difficult than I expected because it took a lot for me to figure out how to portray this guy

Rihanna in This Is the End (2013)

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Hollywood comedies don't come much odder than This Is the End, which features the likes of Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson and Michael Cera playing fictionalised versions of themselves as they struggle to survive during a biblical apocalypse. A long list of famous types turned down the chance to be in the film (reportedly including Daniel Radcliffe, Edward Norton, Cameron Diaz and Mila Kunis), but one A-lister not turned off by the lewd jokes was Rihanna. She pops up at Franco's celeb-heavy party in his pretentious LA home to slap a grab-happy Cera in the face, and then plummet into a large sinkhole when an end-of-days earthquake splits the garden in two.

Britney Spears in Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002)

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Britney desperately wanted to be in the movie and wanted to wear a bra that shot bullets. We managed to accommodate her requests
Beyoncé

By the time Mike Myers's swinging spy Austin Powers was starring in his third film, Goldmember, a number of big-name stars were falling over themselves to join in the hammy fun: Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Gwyneth Paltrow and Steven Spielberg were just a handful of those eager to take part. Most of them agreed to a role at Myers's request but, according to his co-star Beyoncé (who played agent and love interest Foxy Cleopatra), she was responsible for finding a role for fellow pop singer Britney Spears. "We have a lot of guest stars in the movie," she told the Calgary Sun. "Mike got most of them in because they're his friends. In Britney's case, she called me. She said she desperately wanted to be in the movie and wanted to wear a bra that shot bullets. We managed to accommodate her requests."

Spears features in the film as a Fembot (essentially, a seductive robot) whose plan to kill Powers is thwarted when he works his "mojo" on her, causing her head to explode. She appears again at the end of the film, too, asking Mini-Me if he'll take her phone number.

Britney desperately wanted to be in the movie and wanted to wear a bra that shot bullets. We managed to accommodate her requests
Beyoncé

Kanye West in The Love Guru (2008)

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The first time Kanye West and Mike Myers shared a screen together was one of the most memorable moments in television history. West and Myers were taking part in a telethon to raise funds for victims of Hurricane Katrina when the former insisted that not enough was being done to help those affected, culminating in his now-famous claim that then-President George Bush "doesn't care about black people". Myers looked nervous and caught unawares at the time, but would later tell GQ that he was "proud" to have been standing next to West as he "spoke truth to power at a time when somebody needed to speak".

The pair went on to lampoon the incident in a well-received skit on Saturday Night Live, but they also worked together again on Myers's 2008 flop The Love Guru, in which they're shown cheering on ice hockey team the Toronto Maple Leafs while the rapper emotionally (and repeatedly) bellows, "I love hockey!" It's a rare highlight in a film that's garnered just a 14 per cent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

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