A cameo is an appearance in a short film or series by a celebrity, following an invitation from a director, screenwriter, or producer. Although celebs are often invited to appear in movies, these sporadic and brief performances are usually highly paid and may also be requested by the actors themselves. The goal of these appearances is to bring excitement, grace, and spontaneity to the plot of a movie; and we can say, without a doubt, that most of the time, they succeed in doing so.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of the best cameos in movies and series that were both unexpected and surprising.
1. Matt Damon, Luke Hemsworth, and Sam Neill in Thor: Ragnarok
The film Thor: Ragnarok’s opening is a very special one. It starts with a play that tells the story that was told in the previous installment of the Thor saga. Well hidden among the public and pretending to be Odin, we find Loki enjoying a good dose of theater. But something you might have missed is that the protagonists of the play we mentioned earlier are none other than Matt Damon playing Loki, Sam Neill playing Odin, and Luke Hemsworth as Thor.
2. Keith Richards in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
In interviews, Johnny Depp, the protagonist of Pirates of the Caribbean, revealed that he had been inspired by Keith Richards when trying to develop the character of Jack Sparrow that made him so famous. That’s why Richard’s performance as Sparrow’s father in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End was, in a way, totally expected, but also very meaningful. In the third installment of the saga, Richards plays Teague Sparrow, Jack’s father, and he wears an outfit that is very similar to that of his son.
3. Bill Murray in Zombieland
In this film, famous actor Bill Murray appears as a zombie version of himself. At first, this cameo had been intended for actor Patrick Swayze, even if it was just for a few seconds, but in the end, he couldn’t make it. Producers had to come up with new options to replace him and Murray accepted their offer.
4. Michael Jackson in Men in Black II
The king of pop made a short cameo appearance in the movie Men in Black II. There, he plays an agent that Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones call to ask a question. Apparently, after seeing the first part of Men in Black, Michael Jackson was eager to take part in the second installment, so this small role was made especially for him.
5. Mike Tyson in The Hangover
Ex-boxer Mike Tyson made a small appearance in the first installment of The Hangover. The protagonists of the film steal the boxer’s pet. Later on, when he finds out, Tyson fights them to get the tiger back, and later sings a song and becomes their friend. Clearly, it’s not your common Sunday afternoon kind of thing. It’s a hilarious and strange situation, very typical of this series of films.
6. Brad Pitt in Deadpool 2
This famous actor appears only for a couple of seconds on-screen in the movie, Deadpool 2, to give life to Vanisher (an unlucky character), in one of his shortest cameos and appearances of his whole career. Apparently, the actor’s sons are also big fans of Deadpool, so he couldn’t say no if he wanted to.
7. David Bowie in Zoolander
In the comedy film starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson, singer David Bowie makes an appearance as a runway judge. Bowie was the one who rated the fashion duel between Derek Zoolander and Hansen — a very comical scene that made us laugh more than once and that will hardly ever get old!
8. Matt Damon in Deadpool 2
The truth is that, when watching this particular scene, no one could tell that the man onscreen was well-known and beloved actor Matt Damon. But yes, that’s right, that’s Damon. Underneath a massive amount of makeup, a quirky accent, and a matching hairstyle, Damon plays a hillbilly who gets his truck stolen while talking to a friend in the movie Deadpool 2.
9. Totoro in Toy Story 3
Totoro, from Hayao Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro, makes an appearance in the Pixar movie, Toy Story 3, while cowboy Woody looks at a map on the computer to find a way to get back home. Even though this was not an expected cameo, it doesn’t really come as a huge surprise, given that John Lasseter thinks of Miyazaki as a friend in real life.
10. Pamela Anderson in Borat
Borat is a man from Kazakhstan who is completely obsessed with actress and model Pamela Anderson. That’s why, at the end of the movie, he goes to an event where Anderson is signing her book and tries to kidnap her and take her to Kazakhstan. Because the cameo was so realistic, many people thought that this actually happened and that Borat was actually taking the actress by force; however, Sasha Baron Cohen, the actor who played Borat, has stated that it was planned in advance and that she was doing a short cameo in the film.
Which cameo did you like the most? Let us know in the comments!