Carmen: A Hip Hopera (2001)
Bey made her acting debut in a made-for-MTV hip hop musical based on Georges Bizet’s opera, Carmen. As Carmen Brown, she’s an aspiring actress and troublemaker who, in a memorable scene, attempts to seduce officer Derek Hill (Mekhi Phifer), which culminates in musical standoff where the songstress ends up rapping.
Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002)
This was the film where the untouchable Beyoncé went lowbrow in a slapstick comedy (rated 54 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) as Foxxy Cleopatra, a parody of blaxploitation characters like Foxy Brown.
The Fighting Temptations (2003)
Starring opposite Cuba Gooding Jr., Beyoncé played a lounge singer who helps a church choir enter a gospel competition. While the film itself has a 42 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the soundtrack received acclaim -- particularly Bey’s cover of the pop standard “Fever.”
The Pink Panther (2006)
Director Shawn Levy had called Beyoncé to feature in the movie as Xania, a pop singer whose boyfriend is murdered and investigated by Inspector Clouseau. “My generation, we’ve never seen the original films,” she said in an interview about the Pink Panther franchise. “So it’s great to do a modern version. I’m happy to be a part of it.” Bey also helped out with the film's soundtrack, with her "Check on It" becoming her third No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100 in early '06.
In one of Beyoncé’s most acclaimed turns, she played Deena Jones, a singer based on Diana Ross (which had parallels to her real-life role in Destiny’s Child), whose rising star eclipses her co-vocalist, Jennifer Hudson’s Effie. Her performance was nominated for a Golden Globe, and the movie’s soundtrack topped the Billboard 200 albums chart.
Cadillac Records (2008)
In another onscreen depiction of a record company, Beyoncé played another iconic singer, Etta James. Shortly after the film’s release, Beyoncé sang James’s classic “At Last” during the newly elected President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle’s first dance.
Beyoncé played a wife who may or may not be scorned by her husband (Idris Elba), a target for seduction by a temp at his office (Ali Larter). Although the film wasn’t a critical success, Bey’s rumble with Ali Larter’s character won the MTV Movie Award for Best Fight.
While Bey previously did voice work for Nickelodeon’s Wow! Wow! Wubbzy!: Wubb Idol, this was her first animated feature film. One can assume the “Flawless” singer had no trouble fitting into the role of Queen Tara, who reigns over the forest.