Primarily known as the most popular R&B singer of the late '90s and 2000s, Beyoncé Knowles has come to be known simply as Beyoncé. Only a few years after establishing herself in the popular consciousness as the new queen of R&B, Knowles was ready to expand beyond her immeasurable voice and larger-than-life stage presence. She set her sights on a movie career, first getting her acting feet wet at the age of 20 with the logical transitional project Carmen: A Hip Hopera, a modern-day version of the Bizet opera Carmen, produced by MTV in 2001.
Knowles soon made the transition to the big screen, spending the early 2000s alternating between comedy and projects rooted in her primary interest in music. She made her feature-film acting debut in 2002 with the blaxploitation-parody role of Foxxy Cleopatra in Austin Powers in Goldmember, bringing exuberance to her over-the-top sight gags and Pam Grier-type dialogue. Having made her transition to film without disaster, Knowles next accepted a role in the 2003 low-profile musical comedy The Fighting Temptations, starring opposite Cuba Gooding Jr. Returning to comedy in 2006, the starlet unfortunately ended up with a dud, as the attempted revival of the Pink Panther franchise was a critical disappointment. Co-star Steve Martin was not well received in the role of Inspector Clouseau, made famous by Peter Sellers, but Knowles walked away from the project relatively unscathed.