Machine Gun Kelly’s Big-Screen Roles, From ‘Beyond the Lights’ to ‘The Dirt’


The rapper slays as Tommy Lee in the Mötley Crüe biopic, but do you know the rest of his onscreen resume?

Machine Gun Kelly started his acting career like many musicians with big-screen dreams: by essentially playing a thinly veiled version of himself in a movie about music.

But from his portrayal of bad-boy rapper Kid Culprit in 2014's Beyond the Lights to his first true starring role in Netflix's just-released Mötley Crüe biopic The Dirt, the 28-year-old born Richard Colson Baker has clearly found his lane and succesfully made the music-to-movies leap that has tripped up so many rappers and pop singers before him.

Take a look at some of MGK's most notable screen roles to date:

The Dirt (2019): How good is MGK in the trashy Crüe biopic that leaves little to the imagination but much to be desired as cinema? So good that this viewer forgot the inked-up rapper was playing the band's legendarily hard-partying, uber-enthusiastic drummer until more than 30 minutes in. MGK disappears so convincingly into the role -- mimicking Lee's puppy-dog enthusiasm and energy under a stringy wig and his sister's leopard-print tights -- that his acting goes well beyond mere imitation to Rami Malek-lite homage, down to Lee's jittery leg bouncing, cocksure strut, lanky, tattoed frame and Animal-like drum bashing.

Bird Box (2018): Just getting cast in this terrifying Sandra Bullock viral hit about a mom trying to save her kids from a post-apocalyptic world terrorized by an unseen monster who has the power to kill with just one glimpse was a coup for MGK. His blonde-haired, pill-crunching, anxious character Felix spends most of the movie informing the rest of the survivors how "fucking fucked" they are while brooding in a tank top and trying to have some end-of-the-world sex with Rosa Salazar's Lucy. Surrounded by veteran actors, this high-profile smash was a great next Hollywood step for the Cleveland-bred MC. Plus, how many other rappers can say they've co-starred alongside America's Sweetheart and John Malkovich?

Roadies (2016): While this Cameron Crowe series only lasted one season on Showtime, MGK was able to stretch his legs a bit as former Pearl Jam roadie Wesley "Wes" Mason. With a messy flop of blond asymetrical hair and a sunny disposition, the rapper tamped down his typically hard, bad-boy persona to play the slightly goofy, eager and lovable road dog desperate to reconnect with his twin sister, who can't stand the way everyone loves being around her bro. Plus, he makes a killer espresso.

Viral (2016): The little-seen sci-fi horror genre flick from Blumhouse Productions (The Purge, Get Out) had Baker co-starring as Analeigh Tipton's boyfriend CJ in a drama about a "worm flu" infecting the country and the teens trying to survive while their town is on lockdown. While his screen time is limited and he ends up dead with an arm ripped off, the spot in the film from beloved genre production house Dimension Films (Scary Movie, Scream, Spy Kids) was the rapper's chance to put a check on any young star's bucket list of roles while climbing the Hollywood ladder. Dead, dismembered guy in a low-budget horror film? Check.

Nerve (2016): The futuristic thriller from the same directors as Viral (Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost) was one of MGK's first major film roles, landing him a co-starring billing alongside such established names as Dave Franco, Emma Roberts and Juliette Lewis. It's based on the book of the same name about a truth or dare video challenge game in which players must record increasingly daring stunts that lead up to a potentially deadly shootout. Baker's unhinged, football-pad-wearing Ty continually amps up the dangerous stunts to earn points -- including laying on train tracks as a locomotive speeds above him -- until the film's final, deadly showdown.

Punk's Dead: SLC Punk 2 (2016): A low-budget, not great sequel to the nutty 1998 original film about an anarchist rebel living in Salt Lake City in the mid-1980s, the straight-to-iTunes comedy casts MGK as Crash, a mowhawked street-punk junkie who lives to mosh, crush beers and gobble magic mushrooms. It's a pretty paint-by-numbers lovable rule-breaker role that gave Baker a shot at proving he could hold his own in an ensemble, even if his character is a bit half-dimensional and obvious.

The Land (2016): A low-budget coming-of-age film based in Baker's hometown of Cleveland, it casts him as streetwise quickie mart cashier Slick, whose screen time is blink-and-you'll-miss-it in the story about a group of teens who stumble on a stash of ecstacy they hope will help lift their families out of poverty. MGK also served as an executive producer on the film, along with fellow musical co-star Erykah Badu.

Beyond the Lights (2014): The rapper made his big-screen debut in this film starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw as suicidal singer Noni Jean, who pulls away from bad-boy Drake-level rapper Kid Culprit as she falls for a young cop/aspiring politician (Nate Parker). The movie is somewhat predictable, but the sexy video for "Masterpiece" is... steamy.