Cranky Hanke’s Screening Room: Guest bits, cameos, walk-ons

The other day during the press screening of Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones, I happened to notice that Jackson made a cameo appearance in the movie. Aptly enough, he showed up as a customer in a camera shop playing around with a movie camera. This isn’t the first time, Jackson’s put himself in one of his movies. In fact, he’s popped in just about everything he’s made except for Meet the Feebles (1989)—perhaps most notably as the spectacularly inept embalmer in Dead Alive (1992).  Such things are, of course, a fairly common practice—not just with directors, but with actors turning up or walking through movies made by their actor or director pals.

It’s a fun aspect of film history that isn’t always appreciated by very serious-minded folks—unless it’s used for a humorous purpose in a comedy. It does have the downside of sometimes causing a ripple of audience whispering. I freely admit to having leaned over to Marcianne Miller during The Lovely Bones and pointed out my Jackson sighting. The critic Stanley Kauffmann wrote about this effect years ago, noting that when audiences recognized Donald Pleasence in the virtually all-guest-star Bible epic The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), it sounded like snakes had gotten loose in the theater. He then expressed a preference for them noting the presence of John Wayne, which he likened to the sound of a dinosaur giving birth. I hadn’t realized Kauffmann was that old, but I understood his point.

I’m not at all sure where the practice of guest bits and cameos started. Originally, of course, the early studios were not keen to give actors credit of any kind, fearing that this might cause those upstarts to want more money if their popularity could be gauged. (Silly, paranoid studios.) The first actual instance I can find of this particular kind of cameo is in Chaplin’s A Woman of Paris (1923) which he directed, but didn’t star in. Chaplin—being Chaplin—couldn’t stand not being in the movie somewhere, so he showed up briefly as a porter in a train station. You couldn’t prove it by me based on the evidence of the film (see photo off to the side), but I’m willing to accept it. Certainly he showed up in his other non-starring film, A Countess from Hong Kong (1962), where he had a bit as a seasick steward. His best cameo, however, was probably in King Vidor’s 1928 film Show People (Vidor and roughly half of MGM’s payroll showed up as well).

As far as directors appearing in their own movies goes the most famous is Alfred Hitchcock, though the idea that he had a walk-on in every film he ever made is strictly a myth. At that, it’s sometimes hard to tell because many of his appearances are very fleeting indeed. I’d owned a 16mm print of The 39 Steps (1935) for some years and despite numerous viewings never spotted him. I ran it for a friend, who caught sight of him at once. Hitch merely walks past the camera in a scene where Robert Donat and Lucie Mannheim get on a bus. The only thing that even draws attention to him is that he throws away a piece of paper as he walks past.

Spotting directors is a kind of tricky proposition unless the director is well known in a physical sense, so there’s a great chance that there a lot of director cameos we just don’t catch. That said, I’ve never identified any number of directors—Ernst Lubitsch, Rouben Mamoulian, James Whale, Josef von Sternberg—who I’m very familiar with. Even the far-from-camera-shy Cecil B. DeMille stayed out of his own movies—except as a voice. He did the voice of a radio announcer at least once—Madame Satan (1930)—and, of course, he was the voice of God in The Ten Commandments (1956), a role I feel certain he felt quite comfortable with. It took other people to get him actually onscreen. Most famously, he played himself—pleasantly hammy—in Billy Wilder’s Sunset Blvd. (1950). But a couple years later he let himself be used as a throwaway gag in Frank Tashlin’s Bob Hope comedy Son of Paleface where he showed up as a photographer (“Now watch the little birdie”)  taking Hope’s picture.

Paramount’s wonder man of the 1940s, Preston Sturges showed up in his second directorial work Christmas in July (1940)  as a nattily-dressed gent at a shoeshine stand listening to hear the winner of the Maxford House coffee slogan contest on the radio. He also played a director in Sullivan’s Travels (1941). Almost as if to get at Sturges, Paramount’s other major director of the time, Mitchell Leisen played the fictional Paramount director Dwight Saxon to whom Charles Boyer tells his story in Leisen’s Hold Back the Dawn (1941).  (The two were cool toward each other, since Sturges had been rather vocal about his disatisfaction with Leisen’s direction of some of his screenplays.) However, Leisen had already done cameros as an orchestra leader in two of his earlier films, Murder at the Vanities (1934) and Four Hours to Kill! (1935), so this was perhaps just an elaborate extension.

Around this same time, Bob Hope and Bing Crosby got into the cameo act. Having become established as a screen team thanks to Road to Singapore (1940), Road to Zanzibar (1941) and Road to Morocco (1942), it seemed perfectly natural that Bing would show up in Sidney Lanfield’s Hope solo film MyFavorite Blonde (1942).  It’s actual an odd little scene—not particularly funny in itself—that only registers thanks to Hope’s look of recognition and disbelief after it’s over. This, however, opened a floodgate of cameos from Bing—The Princess and the Pirate (1944), Where There’s Life (1947), My Favorite Brunette (1947), Son of Paleface and Alias Jesse James (1959). The cleverest may be Crosby’s “appearance” on a poster for Blue Skies (1946) in Where There’s Life, which afforded Hope the chance to dismiss him as “a singer before your time” to leading lady Signe Hasso.

The boys weren’t adverse to having other stars pop up in their “Road” pictures either. Bob Crosby (Bing’s brother) shows up in Road to Bali (1952), as does Humphrey Bogart. In Bogie’s case, however, it’s just a clip from The African Queen (1951), though I guess we can assume that he was really there, since they find his Oscar. The strangest cameo, though, comes in the form an apparently erotic dream Dorothy Lamour has—that seems to involve Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis kissing. Well, why not? Bing and Bob returned the favor—minus the kissing—by showing up for the climactic gag in George Marshall’s Martin and Lewis film Scared Stiff the next year. Oddly enough, this was Marshall’s remake of his own The Ghost Breakers (1940), which had starred Hope.

This sort of thing never went away. Just look at those guest bits for Vincent Price, Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre in Beach Party movies—which were probably less done as favors than because they were at American Interntional and owed the studio a day from some other shoot that had run short.

Directors kept “doing that Hitchcock thing” right along. Though he’s hardly immediately recognizable to most people, Richard Lester inserted himself into his 1965 film The Knack…and How to Get It. The film—one of his best—was sandwiched in between A Hard Day’s Night (1964) and Help! (1965). That’s to say it was made at a time when Lester could do just about anything he wanted, so it’s not terribly surprising that he’d show up onscreen. After all, Lester was one of several people to attain the accolade of being “the fifth Beatle” at that point—even if most of the world had no idea what he looked like.

One of the strangest—in every sense of the word—guest appearances has to be Peter O’Toole showing up as part of James Bond’s (Peter Sellers) “torture of the mind” by Le Chiffre (Orson Welles) in Casino Royale. Not only is the sequence—which climaxes with Sellers giving O’Toole’s sporran a pull, eliciting a “Bless you, sir,” from O’Toole just plain weird, but it’s predicated on the idea that the viewer saw Sellers and O’Toole in Clive Donner’s What’s New, Pussycat? from the previous year. The dialogue is drawn directly from a scene the pair had in a bar in the earlier movie. Somehow that strikes just the right tone for this film.

Some of what we saw happening in the 1960s and 70s had much to do with the combination of the director becoming as big a selling point as the stars—or in some cases bigger—and the more rough-and-ready approach to the process of filmmaking that came about with the collapse of the studio system. Filmmakers were more apt to cast friends over and over again, and it wasn’t uncommon for them to assemble veritable stock companies of actors. There’s an irony here in that what was partly a reaction to the studio system caused filmmakers to create something very like it with this. Where once the studio offered a specific pool of contract actors and technicians, the filmmakers instead made their own such pools of talent.

In many cases, the often reduced budgets had some bearing on directors appearing in their own movies—and if they didn’t, their families were sometimes pressed into service. Since it’s someone whose career I’m very familiar with, I immediately think of the progression of Ken Russell as an onscreen presence. When this started—especially in his days making films for the BBC—it was something of an economy. Need another body—someone to play a chauffeur or a gangster or a priest or a symphony conductor (Russell did all four—well, step into the role yourself. As long as it wasn’t a speaking part, no one was going to bring in a union complaint.

But there was more to it than that as became obvious when Russell moved to feature films and he started making deliberate cameos. The first such I noticed—chronologically—was in The Music Lovers (1970) and it was a voice guest appearance. You might not notice it, but to the trained ear it’s abundanly obvious just who is doing those voice overs in the scene where onlookers at a display of a camera obscura express shock over the antics of a courting couple caught by the camera. An apparently involved onscreen guest bit was shot for Savage Messiah (1972), but all that remains in the finished film is a quick glimpse of Russell getting off a train. On the other hand, he made it into Tommy (1975) twice—once as a camera operator (which he actually was) in the “Pinball Wizard” sequence (you can spot him when Keith Moon kicks over his drums), and again as a Tommy follower in a wheelchair at the beginning of “Welcome.”

This changed somewhat dramatically with Valentino (1977) where Russell took over for an “indisposed” (read intoxicated) actor who’d been hired to play silent filmmaker Rex Ingram on the set of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Here he had tackled a small speaking part—and that required smoothing things out with Actors Equity. Since then, he’s taken on more small roles—including a few in other people’s pictures—proving what a lot of us suspected all along: There’s a touch of the genial ham about Russell. (This is probably true of most directors when you get down to it.) In all fairness, it should be noted that there’s not a trace of ham in his sensitive portrayal of Sir Arnold Bax in his TV film The Secret Life of Arnold Bax (1992).

At the same time, it’s clear that this is part and parcel of an aesthetic that celebrates the fun of film and filmmaking. You also see it in the guest bits of actors who have made up Russell’s stock company. The most obvious of these are Glenda Jackson’s extended guest appearance in The Boy Friend (1971), Oliver Reed’s single close-up as a train conductor in Mahler (1974) and his slightly larger bit as the Russian servant who leads Roger Daltrey into Princess Carolyn’s fumigation chamber in Lisztomania (1975).  But there are even more guest shots from his supporting players—the kind of thing prized by fans.

The players—and the directors—change, but the process goes on. He doesn’t appear onscreen (well, neither does anyone else), but Wes Anderson provides one of the voices in Fantastic Mr. Fox. However, he’s yet to take to the screen itself—unless you count his American Express commercial. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t mind seeing him make the crossover. The stars from Rian Johnson’s Brick (2005)—Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Nora Zehetner, Lukas Foss—all have cameos in The Brothers Bloom. Director Stephan Elliott has a bit as a partygoer in his Easy Virtue (2009). And so on.

I’ve only scratched the surface of this topic. Even now, I’m thinking of omissions, but there are so many instances of cameos and guest bits that I never intended this to be anything like authoritative,. Surely readers have some favorites of their own to throw into the mix.

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About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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51 thoughts on “Cranky Hanke’s Screening Room: Guest bits, cameos, walk-ons

  1. lisi russell

    I liked Twiggy hanging around in the crowd in the Devils. . .

  2. Ken Hanke

    How about Peter Jackson and Cate Blanchett in HOT FUZZ?

    I told you I’d forgotten some.

  3. Ken Hanke

    I liked Twiggy hanging around in the crowd in the Devils. . .

    I know she’s supposed to be in there, but I’ve never spotted her. I also know there’s a still of T’other Ken in a nun’s habit, but I’ve never spotted a Sr. Ken in the movie.

  4. brianpaige

    Where was Peter Jackson in Hot Fuzz? I know Blanchett was Simon Pegg’s ex girlfriend that had the mask on. Was Jackson simply another cop in that same scene?

  5. Ken Hanke

    Where was Peter Jackson in Hot Fuzz?

    You need someone more familiar with the movie than I am, but the IMDb lists him as “Thief dressed as Santa.”

  6. lisi russell

    I didn’t realize either Jackson or Blanchett were in Hot Fuzz! I saw it twice! It took me seven viewings of the Devils to spot Twiggy.
    She’s in the scene with the King opening the holy box of. . .nothing – and the crowd of courtiers twitter urbanely. . .On the right, clear as day. I think that’s the scene. Now I’m doubting myself – it took me so long to find the thing! T’Other was dressed as a nun on TV for Southbank Show for “filming the Louse of Usher in a nightclub called the Fox in London” – I was there. He wore a nun’s outfit to camera-operate, because he was being filmed by ITV, but he didn’t put himself IN the movie. He did, though, for Trapped Ashes – which was not planned! He aced the part of Dr Lucy!!! Hey, BTW, Curb Your Enthusiasm mentioned the nude wrestling scene! Sorry, sorry, off the point.

  7. Zigopolis

    The strangest thing I’ve come across was Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cuarón both being used as voice actors in Quantum of Solace. I thought I had heard their voices in the movie theater, but it was not until I got the dvd that I was sure I had heard what I thought I had heard.

  8. luluthebeast

    In HOT FUZZ Jackson was the drunken mall Santa who stabbed a guy.

  9. luluthebeast

    And speaking of Bob Hope, let’s not forget him playing through SPIES LIKE US.

  10. Ken Hanke

    It took me seven viewings of the Devils to spot Twiggy.
    She’s in the scene with the King opening the holy box of. . .nothing – and the crowd of courtiers twitter urbanely. . .On the right, clear as day. I think that’s the scene. Now I’m doubting myself – it took me so long to find the thing

    Well, it’s a starting place, which is more than I had, so I’ll give it a try.

    T’Other was dressed as a nun on TV for Southbank Show for “filming the Louse of Usher in a nightclub called the Fox in London” – I was there. He wore a nun’s outfit to camera-operate, because he was being filmed by ITV, but he didn’t put himself IN the movie.

    No, I know about that. I’ve seen the TV special. This is Ken in an Ursuline habit on the set of The Devils. There’s a still of him in this get-up in the book The Making of the Goodies’ Disaster Movie. It’s around here…somewhere, I think.

  11. Ken Hanke

    The strangest thing I’ve come across was Guillermo del Toro and Alfonso Cuarón both being used as voice actors in Quantum of Solace. I thought I had heard their voices in the movie theater

    I know I’ve heard both men speak, but I don’t think I’d ever be able to pick them out as voice talent!

  12. Ken Hanke

    And speaking of Bob Hope, let’s not forget him playing through SPIES LIKE US.

    Even having been tenacious in my attempts to do so, I confess I hadn’t managed to.

  13. Sean Williams

    For what it’s worth, Ken Russell plays Santa Clause in A Kitten for Hitler.

    I maintain that the photo of Clint Eastwood’s wife at the funeral scene at the beginning of Gran Torino looked exactly like Debbie Reynolds, but I have little inclination to see the film again to confirm that suspicion.

    George Lucas has a pretty obvious cameo in Revenge of the Sith.

  14. Ken Hanke

    I have little inclination to see the film again to confirm that suspicion

    Well, they sent me a screener of that (I assume I still have it) and perhaps I’ll dig it out and take a look. Bear in mind, it will only be an opinion, though.

    George Lucas has a pretty obvious cameo in Revenge of the Sith.

    You will not, I think, be surprised that I’ll just take your word on this one.

  15. Sean Williams

    You will not, I think, be surprised that I’ll just take your word on this one.

    Not terribly, no.

  16. LYT

    If you don’t want to take Sean’s word, do a google search on “Baron Papanoida”

    Lucas’ son Jett appears in the same movie as Jedi apprentice “Zett Jukasa”

  17. Ken Hanke

    Oh, I’m fine with taking Sean’s word for it. What I’m not willing to do is watch Revenge of the Sith again.

  18. luluthebeast

    How about the horrible SCREAM 3 with Jay and Silent Bob showing up in the studio tour towards the end?

  19. Ken Hanke

    How about the horrible SCREAM 3 with Jay and Silent Bob showing up in the studio tour towards the end?

    Having disliked the first Scream I’d bailed long before no. 3. Of course, Wes Craven shows up in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back in a pretty funny bit (“Jesus, Wes, you aren’t even trying anymore”) that’s Scream connected.

  20. Dread P. Roberts

    I’ve always kind of felt like a lot of the cast of Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks! was just a bunch of actors having fun playing parts that were just shy of cameos.

    As far as directors appearing in their own movies goes the most famous is Alfred Hitchcock, though the idea that he had a walk-on in every film he ever made is strictly a myth.

    Directors kept “doing that Hitchcock thing” right along.

    I don’t recall if I heard this somewhere, or if it’s just something I thought of, but I have this theory that M. Night Shyamalan has attempted to project himself as sort of a modern day Hitchcock; and one of the things he does to showcase this is by having a cameo in all of his movies. Of course, from what I’ve seen, his upcoming new film, The Last Airbender, seems to stray away from this, so maybe he’s given up on that.

  21. Although I don’t think he’s quite on the same level as the rest of the directors mentioned here, Kevin Smith has made extended cameos by his friends into a gimmick (“Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back” and “Clerks 2” being prime examples), and he’s certainly done his fair share of cameos and bit parts in his friends’ movies (“Daredevil” comes to mind). I find, however, that there’s an element of padding mixed with something like fan service at work that’s more off-putting than charming when he does it.

    Yes, Mr. Smith, we all know you’re pals with Ben Affleck. Time to move on.

  22. Whoops! Should have read the rest of the comments first. I see I’m not alone in being tired of Smith’s less-than-subtle means of handling cameos.

  23. Ken Hanke

    I don’t recall if I heard this somewhere, or if it’s just something I thought of, but I have this theory that M. Night Shyamalan has attempted to project himself as sort of a modern day Hitchcock; and one of the things he does to showcase this is by having a cameo in all of his movies

    Without looking this up, I know that he’s in Unbreakable, Signs, The Village and Lady in the Water. Of course, these are more roles than just cameos, especially Lady in the Water. I don’t remember if he’s in Sixth Sense or The Happening.

  24. Ken Hanke

    I find, however, that there’s an element of padding

    Really, there’s an element of padding to most of Smith’s movies if you get down to it.

  25. [b]Of course, from what I’ve seen, his upcoming new film, The Last Airbender, seems to stray away from this, so maybe he’s given up on that.[/b]

    I suspect a need for a surefire hit film so that people will keep giving him money to throw away on lackluster “twist” projects than any other motivation. He’ll have to do everything in his power to make THE LAST AIRBENDER fail, given the overwhelming popularity of the animated series it’s based on and the merchandise-craving demographic it caters to. And it’s familiar turf for him, given that he co-wrote STUART LITTLE.

  26. [b]Really, there’s an element of padding to most of Smith’s movies if you get down to it.[/b]

    You could also argue that about half of his recent films are basically essentially a series of wink-to-the-audience extended cameos with elements of plot thrown in for padding. CLERKS 2 would be about 40 minutes long without all of the fan service.

  27. Ken Hanke

    He’ll have to do everything in his power to make THE LAST AIRBENDER fail, given the overwhelming popularity of the animated series it’s based on and the merchandise-craving demographic it caters to

    Do not underestimate his abilities.

  28. Dread P. Roberts

    I don’t remember if he’s in Sixth Sense or The Happening.

    I haven’t seen The Happening (and I don’t have any intention to, either) but he does make a cameo in The Sixth Sense. It’s been a long time since I saw it, but I believe he was a random praying citizen sitting in a church pew early in the movie.

  29. Sean Williams

    Do not underestimate his abilities.

    Plus, the fan base is already up in arms about the movie. The accusations of racist casting are probably overblown, but Nickelodeon has handled the whole controversy rather badly.

  30. Ken Hanke

    Plus, the fan base is already up in arms about the movie. The accusations of racist casting are probably overblown, but Nickelodeon has handled the whole controversy rather badly

    I have to admit I’d never even heard of The Last Weedbender till the trailer showed up. I can’t help but wonder just how much actual box office clout something that comes from Nickelodeon really has. I can’t recall a single thing they’ve brought to the screen that did more than tepid business.

  31. cleov

    In “Sixth Sense”, M. Night Shyamalan was the doctor on duty at the hospital when Cole Sear is brought in after being beaten up by an angry ghost. He accuses the boy’s mother of abuse. In “The Village”, he’s the head security official and you only see his reflection in a glass-fronted case.

    Another example — Michael Powell who directed “Peeping Tom” played the main character’s scientist father — and Columba Powell (son of Michael) played the main character as a small child. Powell’s wife is seen lying on her deathbed. Powell’s cocker spaniels were known to have shown up in several of his movies, as well.

    I was going to mention some of the cameos in “The Blues Brothers” but except for Ackroyd and Belushi, that movie is ALL cameos. (And the Mother Superior in “The Blues Brothers” is the speech coach in “Singing in the Rain.”

  32. Vince Lugo

    Of course, my favorite example of a director showing up in his own movies has to be Mel Brooks, most notably in High Anxiety where he plays the lead. I can’t believe no one mentioned him yet.

  33. Ken Hanke

    Of course, my favorite example of a director showing up in his own movies has to be Mel Brooks, most notably in High Anxiety where he plays the lead. I can’t believe no one mentioned him yet

    Well, those aren’t cameos or guest appearances. Certainly that one isn’t. A case could be made for Blazing Saddles or Men in Tights

  34. Sean Williams

    I have to admit I’d never even heard of The Last Weedbender till the trailer showed up.

    And good gracious, doesn’t it look dreadful?

    Anyways, the CliffNotes edition of the casting controversy: in the cartoon, the protagonists are brown-skinned and the villains are white; in the film, the protagonists are white and the villains are brown-skinned.

    To the fans, this alteration is the equivalent of the moon turning to blood and the stars falling like untimely figs.

    I can’t help but wonder just how much actual box office clout something that comes from Nickelodeon really has.

    We’ll see. This series has a surprisingly broad fan base (of which I am decidedly not a member).

  35. This subject sprang to my mind while watching THE INVENTION OF LYING the other day. As much as I enjoyed their bits, I found the cameos from Edward Norton, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Tina Fey a little distracting.

    On the other hand, cameos in British movies never really seem like cameos, because actors tend to be much more diverse in the size and type of parts they pick. Ian McKellen did a few months as a supporting character on a daytime soap in ’07. So Emma Thompson’s cameo in THE BOAT THAT ROCKED and Rowan Atkinson’s in LOVE ACTUALLY both felt perfectly natural.

  36. davidf

    One uncredited appearance I enjoyed catching recently was Steven Seagal in Be Kind Rewind.

    And I’ve always thought it was appropriate that Val Kilmer was cast as the Elvis in the mirror in True Romance, credited as “Mentor”.

    Also, though he’s not a director, it seems like Stephen King has done “that Hitchcock thing” to a degree. I know he was the minister at the funeral in Pet Semetary, and I’m pretty sure he was in other adaptations that he endorsed, though I can’t remember any other examples offhand.

  37. One uncredited appearance I enjoyed catching recently was Steven Seagal in Be Kind Rewind.
    Which also featured a nice, extremely brief cameo from soul legends Booker T Jones and Steve Cropper.

    Also, though he’s not a director, it seems like Stephen King has done “that Hitchcock thing” to a degree. I know he was the minister at the funeral in Pet Semetary, and I’m pretty sure he was in other adaptations that he endorsed, though I can’t remember any other examples offhand.
    Stan Lee is the master of this – he’s got a cameo in pretty much every Marvel movie of the last fifteen years. So much so that I’m consciously looking out for him when I watch one.

  38. Ken Hanke

    Anyways, the CliffNotes edition of the casting controversy: in the cartoon, the protagonists are brown-skinned and the villains are white; in the film, the protagonists are white and the villains are brown-skinned

    Am I the only one who finds this an odd thing for Shyamalan to do?

    We’ll see. This series has a surprisingly broad fan base (of which I am decidedly not a member).

    We will indeed, but there’s always that potential gap between what people will watch on TV and what they’ll pay to see.

  39. Ken Hanke

    On the other hand, cameos in British movies never really seem like cameos, because actors tend to be much more diverse in the size and type of parts they pick.

    While I had no problem with the bits in Invention of Lying (and wouldn’t really consider Fey’s role a cameo, just a supporting part), a lot of this comes down to the Brit attitude of being a “working actor,” where the distinction between roles is a minor consideration.

    So Emma Thompson’s cameo in THE BOAT THAT ROCKED and Rowan Atkinson’s in LOVE ACTUALLY both felt perfectly natural

    I don’t actually remember Atkinson in Love Actually, but I wouldn’t call Thompson’s role in Pirate Radio a cameo.

  40. Dread P. Roberts

    I know he was the minister at the funeral in Pet Semetary, and I’m pretty sure he was in other adaptations that he endorsed, though I can’t remember any other examples offhand.

    He was also the cemetery caretaker in Sleepwalkers, and the pizza delivery guy in Rose Red. Plus, he was a random news-reader in George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead. I’ve heard rumors that Steven King generally tries to show up (in one way or another) in most of his TV movies. Apparently he’s oftentimes more closely involved with those smaller budget movies than he is with the big screen productions.

    I just remembered another cameo guy is Bruce Campbell, who has shown up in all three Sam Raimi’s Spiderman movies thus far.

  41. Ken Hanke

    I just remembered another cameo guy is Bruce Campbell, who has shown up in all three Sam Raimi’s Spiderman movies thus far

    And who gets my vote for most distracting cameos of all time.

  42. Dread P. Roberts

    And who gets my vote for most distracting cameos of all time.

    Haha…that’s an amusing point. Bruce does kind of show up as if to say: “look Sam Raimi fanboys, it’s me, Bruce Campbell, the Evil Dead guy. Now don’t you feel special for noticing me (*wink, wink*).” I don’t really care, but what I find a little odd and perplexing, is that he didn’t make a cameo in Drag Me to Hell. Maybe he was upset that Raimi didn’t offer him a bigger role for his “comeback to horror”. Hell, if it was me I would’ve offered to do the voice of the goat; but that’s me.

  43. And who gets my vote for most distracting cameos of all time.

    I can’t seem to source this online, but I remember reading or hearing something to the effect that very early on in their collaboration, Campbell loaned or gave Raimi some money with the agreement that Raimi give Campbell a role in any future project directed. I’m not sure if this is true — it smacks of myth to me — and I’m certainly not saying it justifies some of the ham-tastic roles Campbell has had in Raimi’s work, but it’s one possible explanation.

    It’s also possible that Campbell is to Raimi what Katherine Helmond is to Terry Gilliam, namely a kind of cinematic good luck charm that he works in whenever possible.

    Actually, Gilliam is another director that uses cameos quite a bit. FEAR AND LOATHING IN LOS VEGAS, for instance, is littered with bit parts, cameos and walk-ons.

  44. Ken Hanke

    Hell, if it was me I would’ve offered to do the voice of the goat; but that’s me.

    No one could have done it better.

  45. Dread P. Roberts

    No one could have done it better.

    I pride myself in the proficiency of my goat accent.

  46. lisi russell

    I wanta hear the goat – i’d make a film just to have that voice over. My most obscure voice recognition moment was Ken Russell in Lair of the White Worm as an anonymous voice on the phone, something to do about dinner. Surely Christopher Walken has made a cameo somewhere! But, no. . .

  47. Ken Hanke

    My most obscure voice recognition moment was Ken Russell in Lair of the White Worm as an anonymous voice on the phone, something to do about dinner

    “I’m havin’ me dinner.”

    Plus, Ken — and Vivian, come to that — are the couple in the background at the opening. Ken cries out, “Hi, Mary!” to Sammi Davis as they pass.

  48. Ken Hanke

    I pride myself in the proficiency of my goat accent

    I’d call it a talent well worth cherishing — and one you’ve heretofore not revealed.

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