"Wait... was that?"
The well-timed cameo has been a movie staple for almost a century - think of Alfred Hitchcock's droopy face popping up in almost all of his movies. Kids' films do it too.
Watch any Disney or Pixar film carefully and you'll spot a dozen callbacks and references to other films from those studios. Did you spot Rapunzel and Flynn in Frozen? No? Go back and watch the coronation scene. And have you noticed Sven from Frozen's appearance in Moana? Disney cameos are everywhere.
Sometimes, the cameos are truly unexpected. Here we round up some of the more peculiar, starting with a certain hotelier-turned-President.
Donald Trump In Home Alone 2
The 45th President of the United States of America has featured in a surprisingly long list of films (usually as himself), which includes appearances in Sex and the City, Spin City and Zoolander. Perhaps his most notable cameo came in the 1992 sequel Home Alone 2. Here, a confused Kevin McCallister stumbles into one of Trump's hotels before bumping into the big man himself. According to Hollywood goss, Trump would only grant filming permissions on his property on condition that he could make a cameo himself. Most projects filmed the necessary scene but later cut it out, but not Home Alone 2.
Elon Musk In Iron Man 2
In the Marvel universe, Tony Stark is a multibillionaire playboy who gives himself superhuman capabilities through advanced technology. His nearest real-world counterpart is perhaps Elon Musk. The founder of PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX and a raft of other tech-driven companies is also in the news regularly for his big dreams and erratic outbursts. Musk makes a brief appearance in Iron Man 2 (2010), where he shakes hands with Tony Stark at a party. "Those Merlin engines are fantastic," says Stark. It's an astute comment. Musk's Merlin engines would go on to power his Falcon rockets, sending astronauts into orbit and launching a Tesla out beyond Mars. Larry Ellison, co-founder of Oracle, also makes a cameo in the scene.
Ian Brown In Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban
The Harry Potter films are like a who's-who of British acting talent. They also feature some choice cameos from people you don't expect to see on the silver screen. Ian Brown, front man of The Stone Roses, must be the most unexpected. The singer is briefly glimpsed inside The Leaky Cauldron, his head buried in a copy of Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time. While engrossed in the book, Brown casually stirs his cup of tea without touching the spoon. This use of magic without a wand thus marks him as one of the most talented wizards of his generation. Who'd have thought it?
Jarvis Cocker And Johnny Greenwood In Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire
The other eccentric Harry Potter cameo comes in the shape of a wizarding pop group (called The Weird Sisters in the books, but unnamed in the movie). The lead singer (and songwriter) is none other than Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker, here posing as Myron Wagtail. Lead guitar duties, meanwhile, are performed by Radiohead star Jonny Greenwood as Kirley Duke. This ultimate supergroup also features Steve Mackey (Pulp), Phil Selway (Radiohead), Jason Buckle (All Seeing I), and Steven Claydon (Add N to X).
Jarvis Cocker In Fantastic Mr Fox
Cocker also makes an extended cameo in this Wes Anderson adaptation of the Roald Dahl favourite. He plays a farmer called Petey, who bears a striking resemblance to the Sheffield singer-songwriter. The stop-motion lookalike leads a campfire singalong, before being dismissed as a bad songwriter by his boss.
Michael Jackson And Martha Stewart In Men In Black 2
The late singer was no stranger to working with film. Jackson was a pioneer of high-production music videos, some of which are like miniature movies in their own right. Despite this, he made very few appearances in full-on movies. His most significant role, and it lasts just 20 seconds, came in this 2002 sci-fi sequel. Jacko appears on a video call, pleading to be made an alien-hunting agent. "I can be Agent M," begs the singer. The Men in Black simply hang up on him, which probably didn't happen much in real life. The movie also includes a cameo from Martha Stewart, playing herself.
Just About Everyone As A Star Wars Stormtrooper
The most recent trilogy of Star Wars films contain a whole brigade of cameos, none of which are immediately obvious. Celebrities pop up like Womp Rats, but you wouldn't notice them thanks to the stormtrooper helmets. The list includes such unlikely Imperial soldiers as Ed Sheeran, Daniel Craig, Dhani Harrison (son of George), Tom Hardy and Jamie Oliver (the celebrity chef). Even Princes William and Harry took a turn in the armour for The Last Jedi, but their scene was cut from the finished movie.
John Cleese Plays Fairytale Royalty
Did you know that John Cleese is King of the Fairies? The Monty Python and Fawlty Towers star gets enchanting roles in half a dozen animated films. The actor plays the King/frog (Fiona's dad) in three of the Shrek films. He dons the crown once again in Trolls, where he plays the part of King Gristle of the Bergens. And then he got the role of Fairy Godmother in Charming. Oh, and he recurs as Nearly Headless Nick in the Harry Potter films, of course. Best known for playing an erratic, sarcastic hotel owner in the 1970s, Cleese is now getting himself typecast as a fairytale character.
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