Sometimes, the only thing that can make a great movie even greater is by including an unexpected celebrity cameo that is sure to catch viewers off guard. Some are in your face and all about the element of surprise while others are hidden, left for only true movie buffs to uncover.
For generations, movie makers have included these surprise guest stars and hidden easter eggs in their films. To honor this tradition, we’ve created a list of some of the most epic cameos to ever appear on the silver screen. You might have even missed some of these the first time watching.
Daniel Craig – Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Although Craig at first denied his Star Wars cameo, it has since been revealed that he does, in fact, appear in the first installment of the sequel trilogy. That being said, the James Bond star is not without disguise and definitely easy to miss. Daniel Craig appears in the film hiding behind the bright white uniform of a Stormtrooper.
The only way viewers could have recognized the British star was from his voice as he recites the line “I’ll remove these restraints and leave this cell with the door open.” In the scene, Stormtrooper Craig is assigned to stand guard as Rey, played by Daisy Ridley is held, prisoner. Spoiler; Rey eventually uses the force to convince him to let her loose.
Glenn Close – Hook
In Steven Speilberg’s 1991 live-action Peter Pan sequel, Hook, there exists a celeb cameo that most of you probably missed. Granted the film already has its fair share of star power with names like Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams, and Julia Roberts in its ranks. However, that fact didn’t keep Speilberg from sneaking in a little hidden cameo.
In the scene, Close plays a pirate named Gutlass who had recently bet against Captain Hook. As punishment, Gutlass is sent to the boo box. The scene is short and sweet and Close, wearing a full beard and mustache, is completely decked out in pirate prosthetics, so its no wonder most of us didn’t catch her.
Brett Favre – There’s Something About Mary
If you’re a Packers fan then you probably remember this epic cameo from the 1998 Farrelly Brothers comedy, There’s Something About Mary. At the time, Green Bay Packers quarterback, Brett Favre was at the peak of his career. Apparently, among his many NFL records and accolades, Favre was also keen to try his hand at acting.
Near the end of the film, Favre makes his surprise appearance as one of Cameron Diaz’s character’s former love interest. And while the role went down in NFL cameo history, it turns out that Favre was not the first choice for The Farrelly Brothers. Their first two choices were Drew Bledsoe of the New England Patriots and Steve Young of the San Francisco 49ers
Mike Myers – Bohemian Rhapsody
In the 2018 biographical drama, Bohemian Rhapsody, comedian and Austin Powers star, Mike Myers makes a hidden cameo of his own. And it turns out, the whole thing was one giant nod to his 1992 film Wayne’s World. In the now-iconic opening scene in Wayne’s World, Myers and his co-stars are seen jamming out and head-banging to the Queen song, “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Jump 26 years later to the scene in the Freddie Mercury biopic where Myers is seen having a very different reaction to the tune. In the film, he plays EMI executive Ray Foster who after hearing the song claims that “No one is going to be head-banging in the car to ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.'” This is particularly ironic considering it was that exact scene in Wayne’s World that helped Queen regain popularity in America following Mercury’s passing.
The Jonas Brothers – Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
Who can forget those three angelic cherubs that are seen fluttering around the Smithsonian in the 2009 Night at the Museum sequel? When casting, film Director Shawn Levy knew he needed three guys who could sing well and in considering the Jonas Brothers fan base at the time, it felt like a match made in heaven.
Levy wanted the brief cameo to be a bit of an easter egg in the film and was sure to make the marble cupids appear similar but not identical to the Jonas Brothers. The cherubs appear on the scene a few times in order to serenade Ben Stiller and Amy Adam’s characters. Together they fly around singing songs like Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On,” Bee Gees’ “More Than a Woman,” and their own song “Love Bug.”
Cate Blanchett – Hot Fuzz
Here’s another easy to miss cameo. When director Edgar Wright wrote the crime site scene in his 2007 film Hot Fuzz, he thought it would be funny to have a famous actress play the part of Nicholas’ ex-girlfriend Janine. He had heard that actress Cate Blanchett liked his 2004 film, Shaun Of The Dead so they asked her to take on the role.
Blanchett agreed and after shooting for a day, the kind-hearted star even decided to give her appearance fee to charity. If you don’t recognize Blanchett in the film, don’t feel bad. She never takes off the hazmat suite or surgical mask so the only way you could know it’s her is from those gorgeous big blues.
Alfred Hitchcock – Lifeboat
As part of his legacy, English film director Alfred Hitchcock is renowned for making brief and often hidden camera appearances in his films. In fact, the director appears in 40 of his 53 major motion pictures. One of his most easy to miss cameos is in his 1944 film, Lifeboat.
Hitchcock had to get creative with this sneaky cameo. He appears very briefly in a “before” and “after” photo in a newspaper advertising a “Reduco Obesity Slayer.” Looks like the director, known by many as the Master of Suspense, also wanted to utilize the opportunity to show his comedic side.
Bob Barker – Happy Gilmore
In true Adam Sandler fashion, his 1996 comedy Happy Gilmore is stocked full of unlikely surprises. A crowd favorite, however, was when The Price is Right host, Bob Barker arrived on the scene. During a pro-am celebrity golf tournament, Sandler’s character, Happy gets partnered with Bob Barker, played by himself. Throughout the match, Gilmore gets distracted by a heckler which causes him to play poorly.
This results in a rift between Happy and Barker and the pair end up going head to head in a fistfight. Naturally, Barker beats him and happy is suspended from the tour. When Barker was asked to take on this cameo, he was reassured that a stuntman would take over during the fight scene, to which Barker responded: “Now wait a minute, I know how to fight, I want to do the fight scenes, I want to win the fight.” And so he did.
Jeff Bezos – Star Trek Beyond
Amazon billionaire and Star Trek super-fan, Jeff Bezos looks unrecognizable in his hidden cameo found in the franchises 2016 installment Star Trek Beyond. In the film, Bezos appears in full prosthetics, taking on the role of an alien Starfleet official. Bezos has been an outspoken Trekky since he was just a kid, so it should come as no surprise that the cameo was actually his idea.
In an interview, Bezos recalled making the request saying, “I said, ‘Look, I’ll put any amount of makeup on. I’ll be invisible, nobody will know it’s me. But I want a speaking part, and I want it to be in a scene that is central to the storyline so that I cannot end up on the cutting-room floor.’” His scene lasts about eight seconds in the film however his request for a speaking part was still honored.
David Hasselhoff – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
This split-second cameo might be quick but it’s hard to miss. If you saw the film, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which released in 2017, then you probably remember when Kurt Russell’s character, Ego, shapeshifts into David Hasselhoff, played by The Hoff himself.
This cameo is a reference to Christ Pratt’s character, Peter Quill revealing that when he was younger, he used to tell his friends that David Hasselhoff was his dad. In addition to the cameo, the movie’s soundtrack also includes a rap about Quill or Star-Lord, performed by Hasselhoff. If that doesn’t sound epic enough, there is also a YouTube music video to go along with it.
Daniel Radcliffe & Marisa Tomei – Trainwreck
This bizarre cameo in Judd Apatow’s 2015 film, Trainwreck admittedly came as a bit of an afterthought to the director. Since the movie, starring Amy Schumer and Bill Hader, had one scene filmed in a movie theater, Apatow knew he needed to put something on the screen. So naturally, he thought, “Maybe we could shoot something weird.”
In an interview with the Hollywood Reporter Apatow explained that “Amy came up with this idea for The Dogwalker, a bad Sundance film starring Daniel Radcliffe and Marisa Tomei.” The two stars were all for it. Radcliffe and Tomei came in to shoot the movie within the movie and pretty much improvised the whole thing. The result is one of the most meta and subtly hilarious cameos in movie history.
Cameron Diaz – Minority Report
Only eagle-eyed movie watchers would have spotted this hidden cameo found in Steven Speilberg’s 2002 film Minority Report. As it turns out, actress Cameron Diaz was visiting the set of the film when she was spontaneously asked to take on the extra role of a businesswoman sitting on a train.
However, Diaz is not the only cameo in the scene. Director Cameron Crowe is also sitting on the train, holding a newspaper from the future and looking up suspiciously at Tom Cruise’s character, John Anderton. According to Crowe, this appearance was payback for when he convinced Steven Speilberg to make a cameo in his film Vanilla Sky, which also stars Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz.
Matt Damon – Eurotrip
The 2004 comedy, Eurotrip, might not have done so well in the box office but it certainly gave us a moment to remember it by. In the film, Oscar winner Matt Damon appears as a lead singer of a band, who is also sleeping with the girlfriend of the film’s main character. A fact that is revealed in the song “Scotty Doesn’t Know,” performed on stage by Damon. The actor explained this very random cameo in an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit.
Damon wrote, “EuroTrip was written by three guys I went to college with. I was in Prague shooting The Brothers Grimm and they were making EuroTrip and they said: ‘Will you come play this Howard Rollins kind of insane, bad version of a suburban, punk band guy?.’ So I showed up and I’m like ‘Just shave my head, let’s just go for it.’ and we did it, and put a bunch of piercings all over. So it was kind of a family affair.”
Robert Patrick – Wayne’s World
This is one cameo/movie cross over that left fans scratching their heads. In the 1992 film Wayne’s World, Mike Myers’ character, Wayne is seen getting pulled over for reckless driving. However, the police officer that pulls him over is not just any roadside cop.
The uniformed officer ends up being the android assassin T1000, which is the main antagonist in the film Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Both in the Terminator film and in Wayne’s World, T1000 is played by actor Robert Patrick. Naturally in the scene, the cyborg cop is looking for John Connor, which was his main mission in the Terminator film.
George Harrison – Monty Python’s Life of Brian
For Beatles member George Harrison, his brief role as Mr. Papadopoulos in Monty Python’s Life of Brian was more than just a cameo. The musician also financed the entire production of the movie itself. Harrison had been a long term fan of the Monty Python film series and when he heard that its 1979 installment was having financial issues, he swooped in to save the day.
In order to finance the film’s production, Harrison even had to mortgage his own home. Now that’s a whole new level of fandom. Monty Python Life of Brian ended up inspiring the creation of Harrison’s production company, HandMade Films. The closing credits of the movie also featured a Harrison original titled “Dream Away.”
Elon Musk – Iron Man 2
It should come as no surprise to see the likes of SpaceX CEO Elon Musk shaking hands with Tony Stark, even if Stark is a fictional Marvel character. In the film Iron Man 2, Musk makes a brief cameo where he is seen bantering with Tony Stark about working together on an electric jet.
However, Musk’s relationship with the Marvel universe goes way beyond this appearance. When actor Robert Downey Jr. was first preparing for his role as Ironman, he actually sat down with Elon Musk in hopes to gain some insight as to what it would be like to be Tony Stark. Not only that but Musk also allowed Marvel to film at SpaceX for free.
Billy Idol – The Wedding Singer
Who better to kickstart a romantic gesture better than British rock icon, Billy Idol. If you recall, Idol appears in the heart-melting airplane scene near the end of Adam Sandler’s 1998 film, The Wedding Singer. The singer, who plays himself in the scene, takes on an active role in helping Sandler’s character serenade his love interest, played by Drew Barrymore.
While including Idol in and 80’s themed movie seems like an obvious choice, it was actually the post-punk rocker’s son, Willem Idol who got him to take on the role. Apparently Willem, who was ten years old at the time, was a big Adam Sandler fan. Looks like even rockstars will do whatever it takes to gain cool dad points from their kids.
Janet Leigh – Halloween H20
This cameo of Janet Leigh in the 1998 Halloween sequel, Halloween H20 is great for a couple of standout reasons. For one, the cameo allowed her to star alongside her real-life daughter, Jaime Lee Curtis, who was first brought to stardom after starring in the original film back in 1978.
Secondly, when fellow scream queen, Janet Leigh appears for her surprise cameo she is seen getting to a 1967 Ford Sedan. This is the exact same car, with the same exact license plate number that Leigh drives in Psycho. That is before she falls victim in Psycho’s iconic shower scene and she, as well as her car are subsequently dumped in Norma Bate’s swamp.
Luke Hemsworth – Thor Ragnarok
The only thing better than a celebrity cameo is a celebrity cameo with a healthy dose of brotherly love. Such is the case with this surprise cameo in Thor Ragnarok. In the scene, Thor, played by Chris Hemsworth finds his brother Loki, disguised as Odin, putting on a play retelling the story of his death from the previous film.
The Asgardian actor that is taking on the role of Loki in the play is none other than Matt Damon. To one-up this surprise cameo, however, the Asgardian actor taking on the role of Thor is Chris Hemsworth’s real-life brother, Luke Hemsworth. Chris, who is also an actor, is most known for his starring role in the series Westworld.
Lady Gaga – Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
In recent years, pop star Lady Gaga has dipped her toes quite a bit in the world of acting. However, her days on the silver screen might have started way earlier than some fans might realize. Back in 2014, Gaga made a surprise appearance in the Sin City sequel, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.
In the film, Gaga plays Bertha, a waitress who attempts to offer money to the main protagonist, Johnny, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. At the time, this was Gaga’s second film, her first being in the 2013 film, Machete Kills, which was also directed by Sin City director, Rober Rodriguez.
Chris Martin – Shaun of the Dead
Coldplay frontman Chris Martin makes a cameo, as himself in the 2004 comedy horror film, Shaun of the Dead. The cameo, which appears at the end of the film involves Martin taking part in a TV talk show interview alongside bandmate Jonny Buckland.
In the interview, the Coldplay members speak about being supporters of a fictional charity called ZombAid. For a while, there were also rumors that Martin appears on the screen for a second time, as a zombie version of himself. However, the writer and star of Shaun of the Dead, Simon Pegg has since assured that this is false.
Chuck Norris – Dodgeball
Here to roundhouse kick all these other cameos out the door is martial artist and action star Chuck Norris. And all it took is one encouraging thumbs-up, featured in a few seconds of the 2004 sports comedy Dodgeball. As it turns out, Norris had initially turned down the offer to be in the movie.
Norris was turned off by the opportunity simply because he did not want to take on the three-hour drive from Los Angeles to Long Beach, Californa, where the scene was being filmed. Actor Ben Stiller who takes on the villainous role in the movie called Norris and begged him to reconsider. In the end, Norris was brought to Long Beach via helicopter and the cameo came to fruition.
Jimmy Buffet – Jurassic World
Singer, songwriter, and owner of the Margaritaville Cafe restaurant chain makes a more than appropriate appearance in the 2015 film, Jurrasic World. Buffet can be seen in one quick shot filmed amongst a crowd of frantic tourists that are running away from the dinosaurs attacking the park.
And lo and behold, Buffet is holding not one but two margaritas in each of his hands. Looks like no dinosaur is going to pull Buffet away from his margs. In addition to this subtle yet hilarious cameo, Buffet’s Margaritaville franchise also makes an appearance. One of his restaurants can be seen in the backdrop of the park set.
Johnny Depp – 21 Jump Street
For the 2012 movie, 21 Jump Street, who better to make a cameo than the original cast of the 1987 TV series of which film was based on. That’s right, for those of you who don’t know, the hilarious action-comedy starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum is actually based on a show that ran for five seasons back in the late 80s. This was one of Johnny Depp’s first-ever acting endeavors since he started his career earlier that decade.
But Depp did not agree to take on this role without a couple of conditions. Firstly he wanted his old co-star Peter DeLuise to also appear in the cameo and secondly, he wanted to give his character some closure to wrap up the 80s storyline. Both conditions were met and Depp appears in the film in all his Hollywood superstar glory, dramatic death scene and all.
Matt Damon – Deadpool 2
Here’s one star-studded cameo that you might have missed. Thanks to some masterful prosthetics and three hours on the makeup chair, Matt Damon is unrecognizable in his quick cameo in Deadpool 2. But this cameo was not just a surprise for viewers. The crew also had no idea that Damon was going to be in the film.
“We didn’t even tell the crew, his name wasn’t on the call sheet—it was a fake name. Nobody really knew what that scene was about,” said director David Leitch. When discussing how they got Damon involved with the film, Leitch recalled that the star agreed to it after having dinner with his close friend and Deadpool star, Ryan Reynolds. “Ryan was telling him about the gag and was like, ‘Would you want to do it?’ It was that simple.”
Martin Sheen – Hot Shots! Part Deaux
Whether or not you’re a fan of the Sheen family, this father-son cameo in the action movie parody film, Hot Shots Part Deaux was too endearing not to love. In the cameo, Charlie Sheen’s character Topper Harley, is sailing down a river and passes another boat.
The second boat is revealed to be carrying Charlie Sheen’s real-life father, Martin Sheen. Both characters point at each other and say in unison, “I loved you in Wall Street,” which is a 1987 crime drama starring both Charlie and Martin. The pair then give each other a smiling thumbs up and that is the last we see of Martin.
Neil Patrick Harris – Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle
When Neil Patrick Harris agreed to take on the memorable cameo in Harold and Kumar Got to White Castle, he had hoped it would help divert his ongoing typecast at the time. Following his role in the TV series Doogie Howser, M.D. in which Harris starred in for four years, he was having trouble getting cast in roles that diverged from Howser’s character.
Thankfully the cameo, which had Harris playing a coked-up, party boy version of himself, did exactly what he had hoped for. After making his appearance in the film, and becoming a movie highlight for many viewers, many doors began to open for Harris. Today he is still killing it in both the Hollywood and Broadway game.
Justin Bieber – Zoolander 2
The 2016 Zoolander sequel, Zoolander 2 is admittedly stocked full of really, really ridiculously good-looking people. Director and starring actor, Ben Stiller really pulled all the stops with the film’s long list of celebrity cameos, not to mention the already star-studded cast list.
One cameo that stood out among the rest featured pop star Justin Bieber, who following his many run-ins with the law, was still trying to win back his fan’s good graces. The scene features Bieber running away from a gang of hired hands who eventually succeed in assassinating the poor Biebs. Before he dies, however, Justin manages to snap one last selfie for the gram sporting Zoolander’s trademark look, Blue Steel.
Michael Jackson – Men in Black 2
Who remembers when the king of pop, Michael Jackson, made a very random cameo in the 2002, Men in Black sequel, Men in Black II? As it turns out, director, Barry Sonnenfeld wanted Jackson to be in the first film. “There was a scene when we showed all these aliens and I really wanted Michael to be in it. But for some reason he didn’t want to be considered as an alien,” Sonnenfeld recalled.
However, Jackson was so moved by the first movie that he was the one that called the director asking to be in the sequel. “Jackson said he would love to be in Men In Black II wearing the black suit, all that mattered to him was that he wore that black suit,” said Sonnenfeld. In the cameo, Jackson plays Agent M, who calls in while on working on his “alien affirmative action” assignment in Antarctica.
Bill Murry – Dumb and Dumber To
Bill Murry’s hidden cameo in the Dumb and Dumber sequel, which released 20 years after the original, acted as a hilarious nod to Breaking Bad character, Walter White. In the scene, Harry and Lloyd, played by Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey, return to their old apartment where Harry introduces his new roommate, Ice Pick. Naturally, the two are completely oblivious to what Ice Pick is cooking up in the apartment.
According to director Peter Farrelly, the decision to include Murry was all based on the fact that they wanted to spend some quality time with the actor on set. “Bill’s a very good friend. Any time you have Bill Murray on the set, everybody on the crew is happy. So, we wanted to bring Bill in just so we could hang around him. Like everyone else in the world, I’m nuts about that guy,” Farrelly confessed.
Danny Pudi – Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Community fans might have noticed that Danny Pudi managed to make Abed’s movie-loving dreams come true via his quick cameo in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. For those of you who don’t know what we are talking about, in the show, Community, which ran for six seasons (and no movie), Pudi plays a community school student named Abed who has trouble separating reality from his obsession with TV and movies.
Former directors of Community Anthony Russo and Jose Russo both also worked as directors in the Captain America film. When asked about the cameo, Anthony Russo admitted that including Pudi was a nod to all Community fans. “Did Danny beg us to be in the movie? I think we begged him! We love Easter Eggs,” the director added.
Keith Richards – Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
Through the years, fans across the globe have fallen head over heels for Johnny Depp’s swashbuckling depiction of Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series. What many might not have known however is that Depp found inspiration for the rebellious, eyeliner rocking pirate in Rolling Stones guitarist, Keith Richards.
Sparrow is largely modeled after Richards so it only made sense that the legendary rockstar would make an appearance at some point in the series. In 2007 with the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Richards finally made his pirate debut, appearing as Sparrow’s father, Captain Teague. Following this cameo’s success he reprised the role again in 2011’s Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
Adam Lambert – Bohemian Rhapsody
Singer, songwriter and season eight American Idol alum, Adam Lambert took his time in revealing his secret cameo. Following the release of Bohemian Rhapsody, many speculated as to who the mysterious man in the truck stop scene really was. In the scene, Freddie Mercury, played by Rami Malek is speaking to his girlfriend Mary Austin (played by Lucy Boynton) on the phone in the parking lot.
While still on the line with Mary, Mercury locks eyes with a truck driver passing by, clearly implying that the two would have a rendezvous in the truck stop bathroom. Months after the film’s release, Lambert finally revealed that the man was in fact him. This cameo makes perfect sense considering the fact that Lambert has been performing sold-out shows with Queen since 2011.
Matt Damon – Thor: Ragnarok
It seems whenever a film is needing a well-loved face to add some comedic gold, the king of cameos, Matt Damon is on everybody’s speed dial. Like most of his surprise appearances, getting Damon to take on this cameo didn’t take too much convincing. “Chris Hemsworth just called me up, and Taika called me up, and I’m friends with those guys. They pitched me the idea and I just thought it was hysterical,” Damon explained.
In the scene, Damon appears as an Asgardian actor starring in a community theater reenactment of Loki’s death, with Loki, disguised as his father watching on. In the brief scene, Damon’s character takes on the role of Loki with Chris Hemsworth’s real-life brother, Luke Hemsworth taking on the role of Thor.