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Larry jr, the best actor/drummer since, er, Ringo

There's a medium-sized and not particularly glittering list of musicians and singers turning their hand to thespian activities, but the incidence of drummers doing so is smaller still. So, imagine the surprise when it was announced that the usually reticent if not downright reclusive Larry Mullen Jr had opted to leave the artistic bubble that is U2 to try his hand at the acting lark.

The Man on the Train, a remake of Patrice Leconte's 2002 comedy-drama L'Homme du Train, isn't the greatest, putting it mildly and Larry, playing the part assayed by French rock star Johnny Hallyday in the original, doesn't really deviate beyond the expression of moody brooding familiar to anyone who's ever seen a U2 video since 1980.

Still, it's nice to see him getting out from behind the traps but it has to be said that he's still trotting behind several other tub-thumpers who've gone the actorly route. Having played an endearing version of himself in A Hard Day's Night, Ringo Starr gave it a go, performing a loveable innocent opposite Peter Sellers in The Magic Christian, starring as The Pope in Ken Russell's mental Lisztomania and giving his best turn as a teddy boy dodgem operator in the excellent That'll Be the Day.

Madonna qualifies for this elite group, having been on the skins in her first band, The Breakfast Club, before making a striking debut in Desperately Seeking Susan, after which it was all the way downhill to the excruciating Body of Evidence.


Hell, even Phil Collins made a decent fist of things taking centre stage in the British crime drama Buster, in which he wasn't half bad.

There are more musicians getting in on the act this year, with OutKast's Andre 3000 starring in the forthcoming Jimi Hendrix biopic. And staying with biopics, can anyone please explain to me why there are three (three!!!) Jeff Buckley biopics this year? Grace was a great album, but surely the man's all-too-short life doesn't warrant this kind of hagiography?

The Man on the Train opens in selected cinemas on Friday.