You're So Vain: Celeb Side Projects

"Scarlett is an A-lister, but she's just an actress for hire. She can't really call the shots on making a film," Bragman said. "So when they offer her a record deal, they give her creative control over something that defines her brand. She gets to pick the songs, the producer, how it's marketed. It's creative freedom on a level she can't get in that other realm of acting."

And there are celebrities who have managed to pull it off. Billboard's Cohen cites the crossover success of actors like Jared Leto, whose band 30 Seconds to Mars scored a hit with singles like "A Beautiful Lie" and "The Kill."

Hilary Duff, who has been successful in her music and fashion careers but had trouble transitioning to grown-up films, is making the leap of faith with acting again. "I haven't done movies for a while, because nobody really wanted to take a chance on me," said Duff, who upped her indie cred with "War, Inc.," which premiered at Tribeca last month. "I've been typecast. And for two years I've been singing and touring and making records. And I love doing that. But it's nice to get to do something different. It was nice to challenge myself and do something nobody would expect me to do."

Perhaps that's what ScarJo was aiming for, too. Critics be damned. After all, "I'm not trying to prove anything with this album," Johansson told People magazine. "I never worry about that kind of thing."

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