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The 15 Best Cameos Of The Year

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Even discounting the inevitable blizzard of Stan Lee cameos — the Marvel icon popped up in Captain America: The Winter Soldier as a museum janitor, Amazing Spider-Man 2 as an onlooker at Peter Parker’s graduation ceremony, and Guardians Of The Galaxy as a pervy space-pensioner on Xandar — this has been a strong year for one-scene-and-outers. So strong, in fact, that we couldn’t make room in this list for Uma Thurman or her whoring bed in Nymphomaniac Volume 1, Will Smith’s next-level-bonkers turn as Satan in A New York Winter’s Tale, Domhnall Gleeson facing off against his dad in Calvary, or, er, Keith Duffy from Boyzone in Mrs. Brown’s Boys D’Movie. So read on for the faces that surprised us in the best ways in 2014...

CAMEO OF THE YEAR

Christopher Lloyd
A Million Ways To Die In The West

A Millions Ways To Die In The West Christopher Lloyd

Seth MacFarlane’s sophomore film is too long, too smug and sees Jamie Foxx pop up as his Django Unchained character to not massively amusing effect. On the plus side, it did bring us another, far more inspired cameo. When sheep farmer Albert (MacFarlane) notices a barn flickering with light late at night, he strolls in to find Back To The Future Part III-era Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd), next to a DeLorean, doing some covert tinkering. The moment is neat, quick and clever, and it was lovely to see Lloyd back on the big screen (he also had a brief role in Sin City 2 as a dodgy doctor). We rang him up to find out how he ended up getting jiggy with jiggawatts once again.

Congratulations for being Empire’s favourite cameo of 2014…

I’m honoured! That’s wonderful.

It was a big surprise when we saw the film. How did it come about?

Well, it kind of surprised me too. I got a call from my agent — he said MacFarlane had called and would I do a cameo in his film? Which I was very glad to do. I talked to MacFarlane and he explained the way they were going to go about it. I thought it was a wonderful touch to his movie and an opportunity for Doc Brown to have another moment. So I leaped at it.

How long did it take to shoot?

The make-up takes a little while, but once we were ready to do the scene I think it only took 45 minutes. We rehearsed it a couple of times, shot it from a few different angles and that was that. It was quick, but worth the trip to New Mexico. Incidentally, I believe that the DeLorean used in the scene is actually owned by MacFarlane. He’s a big fan of the series.

How did it feel to put on the Doc Brown outfit again?

I was a bit concerned that maybe I would look too much older than I was in the films. But it seemed to work. People enjoyed seeing Doc revived, so to speak. I guess it helps that he looked kind of ancient in the first place! I actually still have my shirt from Back To The Future III, which is very colourful and which I treasure, hanging in the closet. But my significant other says she’d rather she didn’t see me wearing it in public, and I accept that.

How do you feel about Back To The Future Part III, compared to the first two?

People ask me which film I like the best, and I always say the third movie. I enjoyed it a lot. There was horseback riding, all the shooting on the train, all the moments with that big steam engine, Doc Brown had a romance, and it was a Western. It’s every boy’s dream to be a cowboy, so it was a lot of fun.

We’ll resist the urge to ask you to yell, “Great Scott!” at us, but you do say it in your cameo. Was that the first time in a while?

Oh, I say it from time to time. Sometimes I’ll be invited to do a Q&A session at a Back To The Future event and it will be requested. Those two words do seem to get people smiling. And it suits Doc Brown: this is a guy who’s just bursting with an imagination, thinking of inventive solutions to big problems. I really put together traits of Einstein and a conductor by the name of Leopold Stokowski — they fitted together to make Doc Brown.

Thanks very much, Christopher.

You’re welcome. And just let me say… GREAT SCOTT!

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The Double

Throughout Richard Ayoade’s second film, we – and Jesse Eisenberg’s downtrodden Simon James – catch glimpses of a Blake’s 7-style sci-fi action TV show that seems to be wildly popular in the dystopian nightmare that is, well, wherever and whenever the hell The Double is set. That TV show is The Replicator, and its deeply intense star is PT Kommander, played by Paddy Considine. “I can’t remember how it fully came about,” says Considine, reteaming with Ayoade after sporting a shocking mullet for Submarine. “I may have just wandered onto the set. Richard doesn’t seem to mind me doing that.”

Considine, not entirely fully serious, claims that he based Kommander – or ‘Jack’, as the character within The Replicator is called (it’s not as confusing as it seems) – on Han Solo. “I think Richard was hoping that geeks would come to their own conclusion about what the ‘PT’ stands for. I thought it was ‘Personal Trainer’, but it isn’t. I don’t know why Kommander is spelt with a K either. Ayoade likes to mess with people’s minds – it’s probably something to do with the Illuminati knowing him.”

The shoot for The Replicator took two days, while Framestore worked diligently to make it look like it had emerged, kicking and screaming, from the ’80s. “It took two days of my life. I will never get those days back,” laughs Considine. “Still, I got to dress in silver and hang out with sexy space ladies. They put me in a hotel in Richmond and paid me in clotted cream. Ayoade, or ‘Richard’, as he likes to be called these days, shot maybe 24 hours of footage. That’s roughly a day. We basically shot Dune in a day. Suck on that, Lynch!”

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Dumb And Dumber Too

When Empire spoke to Peter Farrelly earlier this year about the return of Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunn, we asked him about the rumours that Jennifer Lawrence had filmed a cameo for the sequel. “That is not true,” he said, “but we do have some people doing cameos in there that you won’t recognise.”

He wasn’t kidding. When Dumb And Dumber To opens in the UK keep your eyes peeled for the early scene where Harry introduces Lloyd to his new roommate, Icepick, a Heisenberg-style figure who’s turned Harry’s apartment into a crystal-meth lab. You’d be forgiven for not noticing that the guy inside the hazmat suit is Bill Murray, showing up to do his old pals, the Farrellys, a solid.

When Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels and Peter Farrelly came to London recently, they recorded an appearance for the Empire Podcast in which we talked about the cameo. Here’s an excerpt – the full interview is also up this Friday.

What was that scene like for you guys?

Carrey: I’m a goofy Bill Murray fan. I don’t even know what to say around Bill Murray.

Farrelly: He was like a little schoolboy. Coming over… “It’s Bill Murray! Bill Murray!”

Carrey: I was just blown away. I’m so glad that Pete has a relationship with him.

Farrelly: I have to tell you – Bill Murray was kinda the same way around you.

Carrey: No.

Farrelly: I swear to God.

Carrey: Are you serious?

Farrelly: Dead serious.

Carrey: Is that why we had nothing to say to each other? Honest to God, we found ourselves alone, walking through the studio at one point and it was like, “Hey!” “Hey.” “What’s, uh, going on?” “Oh, not much.” Literally, I didn’t know what to say.

Farrelly: You were the one who gave him the crab beds.

Carrey: I did. He mentioned that he liked the crab beds, so I had the guys send him the crab beds after the movie.

Farrelly: The crab beds, when they’re in the little motel.

Carrey: Bill Murray now owns the crab beds. He is just an absolute genius, and a presence... you never get tired of the guy. He has incredible chops, subtle and beautiful. He’s the opposite animal of me, performance-wise, and I think that’s why I like him so much. He’s just... I don’t know, a very special human being.

You can just call him up, Pete?

Farrelly: He has a hotline number. We know that if we call the hotline number, he will always return our call within a month.

Within a month?

Farrelly: Usually about 28 or 29 days.

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Matt Damon in Interstellar

Way before we’ve met Dr. Mann in Interstellar, we’ve heard all about him. He’s “remarkable”. He’s “the best of us”. He basically sounds like a real swell guy. Then we arrive on the ice planet, the hibernation pod swings open and — hey! — it’s Matt Damon, whose involvement in Interstellar had been hushed up right until opening day (okay, we knew but Nolan threatened to set TARS on us). Having the wholesome Damon play Mann helps sell the big reveal, that the astronaut is actually a coward who has lured Cooper’s crew to the planet just so he can get off it. And his scenes with Matthew McConaughey just about make up for cruddy 1995 comedy Glory Daze, the last time the pair shared screentime.

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Nick Clooney in Monuments Men

At the end of The Monuments Men, we flash forward to 1977, where an old man visits a Bruges church to see Michelangelo’s great statue, Madonna And Child — the same statue that Hugh Bonneville’s Donald Jeffries died trying to protect in World War II earlier in the film. The old man is George Clooney’s Frank Stokes, the leader of the Monuments Men, come to pay his respects. Clooney, as director, had several options for the older Stokes: he could slather himself in prosthetics (too time-consuming), go down the Winter Soldier route (too expensive), or hire an older actor. The problem with that tends to be that actors cast to play older/younger versions of characters in movies bear scant resemblance to the actor they’re meant to be. Clooney, though, found a neat way around that – he asked his dad, former newsreader Nick Clooney, to do it. Which explains the uncanny resemblance, physically and vocally. Oh, and good news, George: you’re going to have a full head of hair in your 80s.

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Michael Bond, Paddington

Arguably the loveliest cameo on this list, from the loveliest film on this list. As Paddington, wide-eyed with wonder, takes a taxi ride through London at the first time, he sees a number of comforting sights, including an old man, who smiles warmly at the young bear and raises a glass of wine in his honour. This is Michael Bond, the creator of Paddington, toasting his creation. Classy, elegant, a million miles away from the mugging of certain other elderly creators we could mention.

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Jordan Belfort, The Wolf Of Wall Street cameo

One of the most curious elements of Martin Scorsese’s excess-all-areas dramedy is the fact that Jordan Belfort, the man whose monstrous debauchery the movie recreates, gets a cute cameo at the end, introducing himself (in the form of Leonardo DiCaprio) at a motivational seminar. It’s a first for a Scorsese biopic – Jake LaMotta, Henry Hill and the Dalai Lama didn’t show up in Raging Bull, GoodFellas or Kundun — and improves Belfort’s IMDb page, which also features Santa With Muscles and Hulk Hogan vehicle The Secret Agent Club, by about 9,000 per cent.

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Muppets Most Wanted - Ray Liotta, Danny Trejo, Christoph Waltz

The Muppetiest sequel of 2014 brought with it the year’s least age-appropriate cameos. Yes, this is a film aimed at children that throws in Christoph Waltz (“Look, mum, it’s Hans Landa!”), Danny Trejo (who’s never been in a film in which he didn’t knife 16 people to death) and Ray Liotta (because nothing says wholesome fuckin’ family entertainment like Ray fuckin’ Liotta). It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but worth it just to see Christoph Waltz DO AN ACTUAL WALTZ on-stage with Sweetums.

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Cuban Fury

File under ‘most unsurprising cameo of 2014’, but this is still nice. As Nick Frost and Chris O’Dowd square up to each other in their epic dance-fight in a multi-storey car park, they’re interrupted by a honking horn. Standing aside to let the car pass, the driver is revealed to be one Simon Pegg, who shares a ‘Haven’t I seen you somewhere before?’ look with his long-term hetero life partner, Frost, in the manner of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in Maverick. Bonus fact: when Pegg took our Movie Mastermind quiz earlier this year, he was unable to name the colour of the car he drove. It’s a blue Ford.

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Howard The Duck in Guardians Of The Galaxy

Another cameo-heavy film, with James Gunn’s old Slither mucker Nathan Fillion as ���Monstrous Inmate” in the astro-prison, Lloyd Kaufman as a less monstrous inmate in the same scene and Rob Zombie as the voice of the Ravagers’ ship. But top of the bill (sorry) is Howard The Duck. Last seen on the big screen back in 1986, in the flop movie named after him, Howard is first glimpsed in the Collector’s lair, before getting his very own sting in the end credits. “It was some combination of me and the editor Fred Raskin who said, ‘Let’s put Howard The Duck in there’,” Gunn told us back in August. “It’s possible Howard could reappear as more of a character in the Marvel Universe.” Our dream of seeing Mac from Mac And Me make a triumphant, chicken-nugget-wielding return to the multiplex suddenly doesn’t seem so mad after all.

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Billy Dee Williams and Anthony Daniels in The Lego Movie

Everything is Forcesome? It is now, thanks to this mind-bending crossover cameo-clump. In keeping with the movie’s hyperactive, tipped-over-toybox vibe, hero Emmet’s quest is gatecrashed by the Millennium Falcon, its arrival soundtracked by John Williams’ Star Wars theme. It’s hard to say what’s better: Lando proving he’s still a ladies’ man in brick form (“I see a heavenly body”), Batman deciding to join up with Han and co., or the fact those are the voices of the actual Anthony Daniels and Billy Dee Williams. Han’s spot-on tones belong to Keith Ferguson of Robot Chicken.

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29 Jump Street

By far the funniest end credits of the year — apologies, Fruitvale Station — 22 Jump Street’s name roll-call had a genius concept (the posters for the next zillion entries in the series) and a torrent of solidly silly gags involving Schmidt and Jenko’s future escapades. We particularly like the taglines for 30 Jump Street: Flight Academy (“Putting the cop back in copilot”), 32 Jump Street: Fireman School (“Bros before hose”) and 38 Jump Street: Dance Academy (“Pointe & shoot”), plus the fact the octopus from the start of the film gets to co-star (with two guns!) in the Jump Street cartoon. A special salute is due, though, to whoever came up with the idea of replacing Jonah Hill with Seth Rogen for 29 Jump Street: Sunday School. “No-one’s gonna fucking notice,” whispers Rogen to a confused Channing Tatum, before getting out of a car and calling his partner “Jenkins”.

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X-Men: Days Of Future Past

When Logan (Hugh Jackman) wakes up at the end of Days Of Future Past to the soothing strains of Roberta Flack’s 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face', he’s utterly disoriented. Largely because he hasn’t woken up in the blasted and scorched 2023 in which he started the film, but instead is back in the comforting confines of the X-Mansion. Stumbling out, he sees numerous signs that his little trip back to the past has worked — laughing, playing children everywhere; Storm and Colossus teaching classes; Rogue and Bobby locking hands. And then comes the trio of cameos that confirmed Singer had pressed the reset button on the franchise. First, there’s Kelsey Grammer’s Beast striding purposefully down a corridor (and yes, Grammer did come in and don the full costume for one day). And then the revelation that Famke Janssen’s Jean Grey is alive, with no memory of the events of X-Men: The Last Stand (lucky her). When Logan goes to touch the love of his life, the third whammy of a cameo hits, in the shape of James Marsden’s Scott Summers, restored to life after the indignity of his exit in X3. Our #Justice4Cyclops hashtag paid off, it seems.

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Clint Eastwood Rawhide Jersey Boys cameo

“It was suggested that I join in a production number, dancing down the street, to run during the end credits,” Clint Eastwood revealed to The Daily Mirror while promoting his musical. That idea was quickly gunned down by his metaphorical Magnum (“A man must know his limitations”), so instead we get a moment where the Jersey Boys watch a clip from ’60s Western show Rawhide. The chance to briefly see Clint head ‘em up, move ‘em out on the big screen is probably the highlight of the film.

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Hayley Atwell, The Winter Soldier

A recurring motif throughout Cap 2 sees Steve Rogers turn down dates with a number of women — not, as some wags have speculated, because of his burgeoning BFFship with Anthony Mackie’s The Falcon — but because he’s still head-over-heels in love with Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter, the girl he left behind in 1945. It’s something the Russo brothers tackle head-on in the heart-rending scene where Steve, still in his prime, goes to visit Peggy, now in her nineties, at her home, and quietly has his heart broken as a coughing fit confuses her, and she looks at him almost as if she were seeing him for the first time. “Was that really Hayley Atwell?” asked many as they saw the film for the first time. And the answer is yes, and no — eschewing conventional old-age prosthetics after tests proved ineffective, the Peggy we see here is an amalgam of Atwell, an older actress and layers of groundbreaking digital FX.

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To make sure you don't click on a page which reveals something you're not already aware of, here are links to the 15 movie cameos discussed in the feature, in the order they appear.

CAMEO OF THE YEAR
A Million Ways To Die In The West


The Double


Dumb And Dumber To


Interstellar


THE Monuments Men



Paddington


The Wolf Of Wall Street


Muppets Most Wanted


Cuban Fury


Guardians Of The Galaxy



The Lego Movie


22 Jump Street


X-Men: Days Of Future Past


Jersey Boys


Captain America: The Winter Soldier

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