Celebrity cameos in big movies are nothing new. While few can be a blink-and-you-miss-it or some are equivalent to that of walk-ons and so on. But in several cases, cameos from stars often determine the success rate of a movie. For example, a cameo can be the most dominating feature of the sequence of events lined up.
The audience might take a liking towards a movie or want to watch it because of the star who makes a cameo. Although it sounds surprising, that’s the truth! Whatever be the cameos, the best ones are undoubtedly those that generate humor and entertainment. And this most of us would agree.
Johnny Depp, 21 Jump Street
One of the firsts among live-action films from Lord and Miller is an adaptation of a goofy 1980s television series. The premise was weird and from there begins the comic spin of the movie.
At the end of the film, the lead partners Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum realize something funny and shocking. They realize that among the drug dealers, one of them who they were talking to was a former Jump Street cop! That was Tom Hanson, enacted by none other than Depp. Not that it was one of his career-best roles, but Johnny’s Hanson dies almost instantaneously, which is a surprise twist of the movie.
Christopher Walken, Pulp Fiction
A single scene appearance as a cameo is something we’re quite familiar with. One prominent example is Christopher Walken for Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction.
So the story goes like this – one of the boxers (Bruce Willis) narrates his childhood story. It starts with his dad passing away in Vietname. And one of his companions (Walken) makes a return to the boy to gift a gold watch that the old man hid for years to keep it safe. The monologue that Christopher makes is a tad weird and convoluted. It was something unexpected tangent, and profoundly impacts the grown-up avatar of the little boy.
Tom Cruise, Tropic Thunder
Tom had a tough time battling issues and controversies around Scientology. That was when this movie hit the screens! His comeback in Ben Stiller’s 2008 comedy hit Tropic Thunder was in the form of a cameo and a well-chosen one. The premise was in motion, as the three actors found themselves amidst a real conflict while being on the set of a war movie.
This is when Cruise makes a strong appearance under prosthetic makeup. His role as an aging, bald and fat Hollywood executive, under the name of Les Grossman was impressive. His harsh attitude shocks mercenaries who were bent on murdering the movie-star heroes. A blend of funny and creepy, Cruise packed in quite a punch with an exceptional balance of humor and dark side.
David Bowie, Zoolander
Now that Bowie’s not here, it’s only his songs and few cameos that we have! His works like this in the 2001 male-model comedy film by Ben Stiller is still popular among his fans. Zoolander and the 2016 sequel contain several cameos. However, Bowie shines through in the original, where he referees an argument between Derek (Stiller) and his new competitor Hansel (Owen Wilson).
Ben knew from the start what Bowie means to the world. Therefore he deliberately froze the moment the latter appears. He also included a caption with his name in it. Guess some people just knew the art of paying respect to legendary figures well. Take a bow, Mr. Stiller!
Bruce Springsteen, High Fidelity
Remember this 2000 romantic comedy that had a huge ensemble cast sans cameos? It had Todd Louiso, John Cusack, Tim Robbins, Catherine Zeta-Jones spicing up affairs was Bruce Springsteen.
While John’s character Rob was trying to understand things, he found music to be the solace and that too of Bruce! And as Rob kept wondering what to do next, he turns to… who else but the “Boss.” Springsteen appears with his guitar, of course, to give a piece of advice to Rob. This cameo was truly appealing for many but sadly didn’t get acknowledged much after that.
Surprisingly, a few of the greatest cameo roles weren’t planned from the beginning. Many of them weren’t the top choices, either. But how does it matter? Their presence worked manifold.