It’s one thing when we’re talking about Alfred Hitchcock having a walk-through in every single one of his films, including one that exclusively takes place on a lifeboat (he appears in a newspaper ad for that one). Sure it’s eccentric but it’s not surprising because, well, they’re his films and he can appear in them as he pleases.
What does strike me as weird is when a director shows up totally unexpected in someone else’s film. Usually there is a good reason – either they are producing the film or friends with the cast. However despite the later explanation, it’s still a bit jarring to see, say… the director of Kill Bill in an Adam Sandler comedy…
7. Quentin Tarantino in Little Nicky
This is one of those cameos that you actually have to stare directly at a few times before you realize what you are seeing. Pulp Fiction director Quentin Tarantino shows up like four freaking times as the comically blind preacher Deacon in this demonic Adam Sandler flick. On first glance it’s a little hard to understand why he might show up in such a film until you think about its cast, which includes Patricia Arquette from True Romance, Tommy Lister from Jackie Brown, and of course scary Harvey Keitel from Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. This ensemble, along with a movie already littered with insane cameos to begin with suddenly makes his stumbling, crazed cameo make some sense.
6. Steven Spielberg in Vanilla Sky
I like this cameo – it’s one of those where after you see it you are not even sure if it actually happened. Steven pops in and out in this scene as a guest of Tom Cruise’s character David’s birthday party. Not only is his appearance a blink-or-you’ll-miss-it type of moment, but it get’s even nuttier when you take a look at the cap that Steven is wearing in the shot. It’s a Pre-Crime cap, as in the fictional police force in Minority Report, which was of course the film that he and Cruise were currently undergoing pre-production for. Suddenly it all kind of comes together, especially since later, during the shooting of Minority Report, Vanilla Sky director Cameron Crowe managed to make a similar cameo to return the favor.
Check out Spielberg’s brief appearance:
5. Tim Burton in Singles
Well, while we’re on the subject of Cameron Crowe, anyone remember this grunge opus? The film follows several 20 something Seattle residents as they struggle to maintain their relationships during the height of the grunge era in the early 90s. While the film features several cameos from members of the more iconic grunge bands at the time – such as Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, and Soundgarden – why Tim Burton felt the need to appear in this film is rather beyond me. I’m not complaining though; it’s a terrific cameo where he basically plays a brooding filmmaker – which is, of course, fitting.
It should also be noted that during this very same year Tim made an appearance in Danny DeVito’s film Hoffa as well. Can you guess what the role was?
4. Sam Raimi in The Hudsucker Proxy
Evil Dead and Spider-Man director Sam Raimi has probably the best cameos in his own films; whenever you see an off screen hand or object hitting an actor – it’s him doing it. Seriously, every opportunity he gets to personally slam an actor with something he takes it, and you have to respect that. However out of the movies he isn’t the director of, his appearance as one of the silhouetted brainstormers coming up with the Hula Hoop name in The Coen Brothers’ Hudsucker Proxy has to be the best. He’s the shorter one:
Now – I have a feeling that a lot of you might be yelling at me right now. The reason why is that I’m cheating a little. There’s a perfectly good reason why Raimi would appear in this film and it’s because he actually co-wrote it and was a second unit director on the thing. So yeah… I guess I’m cheating a lot. But I sure love that cameo.
Also if you are wondering what the hell Sam Raimi would be doing with the Coen Brothers in the first place well, go check the credits for The Evil Dead and see who served as the assistant editor. Actually don’t, I’ll just tell you that its Joel Coen, who actually got his start working with Raimi.
3. George Lucas in Beverly Hills Cop 3
Beverly Hills Cop 3 is one of those glorious films you spend an entire Sunday sporadically watching in a series of disjointed 20 minute segments as it plays over and over again on Comedy Central. It was during such a day that I found myself simultaneously dropping my vacuum and burrito and staring at the TV, wondering aloud just why the hell George Lucas decided to appear in the film.
That’s him with actress Christina Venuti – he’s credited as playing Disappointed Man at the end of the film, a role I must say he really embodied. Out of the very few cameos this man has made, this has to be my favorite. It’s just such a comically pathetic role, and it kind of makes me think that he has some kind of sense of humor hidden away.
The reason for this cameo was that director John Landis is rather known for featuring other directors, in fact along with Lucas, directors Joe Dante, Martha Coolidge, George Schaefer, John Singleton, Barbet Schroeder, Arthur Hiller, and Peter Medak also make cameos in this film.
2. Bryan Singer in Star Trek Nemesis
Everything I said about Spielberg’s cameo being quick, I take it back.
Did you catch it? That’s Usual Suspects and X-Men director Bryan Singer taking over Warf’s console as he leaves with Riker.
It’s another one of those really odd cameos that makes perfect sense the moment you think about it a little more – after all, Bryan directed both the first and second X-Men films, the first having already been made before this film – which of course also stars Patrick Stewart – and the second in pre-production. The director was also a bit of a Star Trek fan himself, so when he first met Stewart he made sure to find the time to also meet many of the producers for the Star Trek series. Through his friendships he was offered this run-on role, which despite being so brief, has actually earned his ‘character’ his very own Star Trek trading card.
1. Peter Jackson in Hot Fuzz
It’s really easy to forget that Lord Of The Rings director Peter Jackson has a really, really weird sense of humor. In fact, go and check out like, everything he did before the LOTR series and see for yourself. In fact, just go watch the film Meet The Feebles. I dare you.
While Jackson has made many cameos in his own films – including my personal favorite in Bad Taste, where his character vomits green in a bowl and then watches as a room full of people eat said vomit – he hasn’t appeared in any full length film besides his own. Well, except for Hot Fuzz.
You can probably guess which person he is there – but in case you are dense, that’s him, Father Christmas, stabbing Simon Pegg in the hand. Beautiful! Even weirder is that this isn’t the only cameo in this film that you can link to The Lord Of The Rings, as Cate Blanchett makes an even more memorable walk-on as Simon Pegg’s girlfriend, whose face we never see save for the eyes.
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