Jared Leto believes he has more skill as a musician, just because "I've been onstage more hours than I've been in front of a camera," he tells Billboard. And music has proved more lucrative than movies. "I've never made money from films," he declares. "It's a challenge to make money from music these days -- that's one of the reasons I've been really entrepreneurial."
"I had never even thought of acting, to be honest. It was actually my mom who was like, 'Jenny, I think you could act.' I'm like, 'Yeah, whatever, Mama.' Then I turned around and won an Academy Award on my first film," Jennifer Hudson tells Billboard. "The only other acting experience that I had was [when I performed] on the Disney Wonder cruise ship."
"All rappers act to a degree; we're acting out our own thoughts," Ludacris tells Billboard. "But acting is a craft, and it's not as easy as everyone thinks it is. When you're acting, it's someone else's script, so you're only taking on a role. It's more challenging to be in someone else's shoes. When you're doing music, it's easy to be yourself: You have a blank canvas to do whatever you want."
When I'm working on a movie, I'm fully engulfed in it and not thinking about music. When I'm working on music, I'm not thinking about movies. I realized this after I made a few records that I didn't like and a few movies that I wasn't into. I was halfway in both worlds, constantly leaving the set to make music," Ice Cube tells Billboard. "You end up cheating both if you don't separate them."
"I started with music before acting. Because when you're 6, you're singing, watching Janet Jackson on TV, performing in a mirror," Anna Kendrick tells Billboard. "I would try to get my friends into Bette Midler CDs, which is something no 8-year-old should be doing."
"In my house, I have an empty room: I have my studio there, a whiteboard with the Atlanta scripts, a canvas for painting and all my albums and DJ equipment. I wake up every morning and I start grabbing things -- spray-painting the walls, recording, writing," Donald Glover tells Billboard. "They're all connected for me. It's all about trying to get to the bottom of what being a human is."
"It can be an incredibly rewarding, but also destructive, thing to do," Leto says of yo-yoing between weight classes for a role (like he's doing to portray the Joker in the upcoming Suicide Squad. "Your body changes forever." He has had a lot of actors call him for advice on extreme weight regimens, he says, "and I always try to talk people out of it."
"Ice Cube sat me down one day and said, 'Be patient and pick the right roles, as opposed to taking whatever comes to you,'" says Ludacris. "He said that over time, it's going to pay off. That's exactly the path that I'm on: I'm strategic and selective about everything I do."
Has one skill helped the other? "Absolutely. Cinderella in Into the Woods -- I know how many girls wanted that part, girls who are frankly more famous than me. But that's a hard role, one you can't fake your way through," says Kendrick. "Without singing, I wouldn't have gotten that."
"I have three dogs named Dream, Oscar and Grammy. I got Oscar before I won my Oscar; I got Grammy before I won my Grammy," says Hudson. "So I want to get a dog and name it Emmy and name another one Tony, then hopefully ..."
"Once for spring break I went to St. Petersburg [Fla.], which is wack, but I wanted to be around old people," says Glover with a laugh. "And there's a Salvador Dali museum there. I wrote a postcard to myself that said, 'Never forget Dali.' He would paint, do sculpture, architecture, film, photography."
"I'm disappointed. I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to be referred to as an Oscar-nominated person," Samberg says about The Lonely Island not being up for an Academy Award for The Lego Movie's "Everything Is Awesome." "If the song wins, then I'll be bummed. I'm kidding! I want it to win. But at least we get to perform -- that's better than a sharp stick in the eye."
"I was sitting in a restaurant, and this guy comes up to me: 'Me and my wife love Portlandia. Can we get a picture?' Then this couple sitting next to me turned and said -- as if they were admonishing the other guy -- 'We heard your new record. We love Sleater-Kinney.' There was this sense of one-upmanship, which only exists in music. No one in TV is like, 'I'm going to tell you about the most obscure show.' "
"Neither," says Ice Cube about picking between winning a Grammy or an Oscar. "Because I ain't got one, and I still feel good about myself. Some artists play the game how it's supposed to be played, and some artists don't care and do what they want to do. Hollywood punishes maverick thinking. The people who don't schmooze at the parties end up getting overlooked. That stuff is corny to me. I'm not showing up to these events just to take a picture."