20 Cool Director Cameos You Never Noticed
Cameo roles are generally small, many of them are non-speaking ones, and only appear on the screen very briefly. Director cameos are even harder to spot because we are not used to the sight of these who usually stand behind the camera and call all the shots suddenly appear in front of it.
Speaking of director cameo, there is one man to be mentioned, the great Alfred Hitchcock, the king of cameos. There is an interesting story about him. In order not to distract viewers from the plot, he deliberately put his “regular” cameos in the early stage of his later movies.
Most of the director cameos on this list are directors appearing in other director friends’ movies, they are very cool and entertaining, but are also very easy to be ignored. Get ready to be surprised!
20. Vanilla Sky
The Cameo: Steven Spielberg (complete with trademark cap) embraces Tom Cruise’s character at his birthday celebrations.
Why It’s Cool: It’s an unexpected treat when Spielberg greets Cruise with, “happy birthday you son of a bitch!”
19. Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring
The Cameo: Peter Jackson can be spotted as one of the menacing locals in the village of Bree, chowing down on a carrot, as menacing locals are wont to do.
Why It’s Cool: Jackson loves a cameo, and the more grotesque the better. This slack-jawed hick is one of his finest.
18. Scream 3
The Cameo: Roger Corman shows up as a studio exec in Wes Craven’s in-joke laden third instalment of the Scream franchise.
Why It’s Cool: It’s a nice tip of the hat from one horror icon to another.
17. Star Trek: Nemesis
The Cameo: Bryan Singer can be spotted in the home stretch, taking over Worf’s station as Picard is saying his goodbyes to Riker.
Why It’s Cool: When you know how much of a nerd Singer is for all things sci-fi, there’s something immensely gratifying about seeing him get his face in a Star Trek movie!
The Cameo: Tim Burton plays a grungy filmmaker in just one of many cameos in Cameron Crowe’s star-laden film.
Why It’s Cool: Burton fits the bill of brooding outsider in the same way as fellow guests from the likes of Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, and Soundgarden.
15. Beverly Hills Cop 3
The Cameo: Axel skips ahead of a slow-moving fairground punter to make his escape via a rollercoaster. Said punter is played by none other than George Lucas.
Why It’s Cool: Lucas comes off as the consummate chump. Nice jumper, George…
14. Seed Of Chucky
The Cameo: John Waters makes an appearance as sleazy tabloid paparazzo Pete Peters.
Why It’s Cool: In a crowd-pleasing move, Waters’ character is killed in gratifyingly nasty fashion, by having a load of acid dumped over his head.
13. Mystery Men
The Cameo: Michael Bay appears as a beer-swilling jock, flanked by a whole squadron of beer-swilling jocks. He looks right at home.
Why It’s Cool: “Dude,” drawls Bay to an irritated-looking Geoffrey Rush. “Can we bring some brewskis?” Lovely stuff.
12. Mean Streets
The Cameo: Martin Scorsese turns up at the end of the movie as uncredited gunman, Jimmy Shorts. And what an entrance he makes…
Why It’s Cool: He guns down his two stars, Harvey Keitel and Robert De Niro. Talk about making an impact!
11. The Muppet Movie
The Cameo: Orson Welles appears as slippery producer Lew Lord, who hires Kermit with “the standard rich and famous contract”.
Why It’s Cool: Orson Welles meets the Muppets? What about that do you need explaining?
10. The Fly
The Cameo: Cronenberg plays the doctor in Veronica’s horrifying dream sequence, delivering the grisly maggot baby with his own hands.
Why It’s Cool: If Cronenberg insisted on including such a stomach-churning scene, it only seems right that he should take the bullet of playing the doctor involved!
9. Land Of The Dead
The Cameo: Edgar Wright (and Simon Pegg) dons some zombie makeup for George Romero’s undead fest, featuring as a tourist attraction with whom people can have their photos taken.
Why It’s Cool: Because you just know that for both Wright and Pegg, appearing as zombies in a Romero film would be a dream come true.
8. Miller’s Crossing
The Cameo: Sam Raimi makes a cameo for his old pals the Coens, appearing as the snickering cop who ends up sparking one hell of a gunfight.
Why It’s Cool: He might only be on screen for a brief moment, but Raimi manages to make his character come off as supremely unlikeable in a matter of seconds. Impressive.
The Cameo: Wes Craven appears as the school janitor, wearing a rather familiar-looking jumper.
Why It’s Cool: As cameos go, dressing up as a ridiculously over-the-top tribute to Freddy Krueger is right up there.
The Cameo: When the facehugger makes its grand entrance onto John Hurt’s face, that’s Ridley Scott’s hand controlling the puppet inside the egg.
Why It’s Cool: Apparently Scott was unconvinced by the puppetry of his crew-members, so decided to take on the job himself. If you want something doing…
5. Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back
The Cameo: Gus Van Sant drops in as director of cynical sequel Good Will Hunting 2: Hunting Season.
Why It’s Cool: Van Sant is happy to send himself up as a cash-hungry mercenary, dismissing Ben Affleck’s request for direction with, “Jesus, Ben, I said I’m busy”, as he counts a big wad of bills.
4. Old School
The Cameo: Todd Phillips can be seen playing the visitor who knocks on Owen Wilson’s door in search of a bunk-up with his girlfriend.
Why It’s Cool: Six words. “I’m here for the gang bang.”
3. Hot Fuzz
The Cameo: Peter Jackson plays a psychotic Santa, jamming a knife through Simon Pegg’s hand in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance.
Why It’s Cool: Jackson’s face is almost entirely obscured save for his eyes, with which he really makes the most of his screen time!
2. Apocalypse Now
The Cameo: Francis Ford Coppola, appearing here as a TV director, shoutily attempting to get the soldiers to follow instructions for a news broadcast.
Why It’s Cool: Given the tortuous experience of filming Apocalypse Now, Coppola probably didn’t have to dig too deep to channel that rage.
The Cameo: A clever Hitchcock cameo in which the director appears as the “after” image in a weight-loss advert. Not too sure about that product…
Why It’s Cool: Thinking outside the box allows Hitch to crowbar his cameo in without disrupting the narrative.