‘Licorice Pizza’: 15 movie cameos you had no idea existed

In honour of Leonardo DiCaprio's dad unexpectedly being in Paul Thomas Anderson’s 'Licorice Pizza', here are some of the strangest cameos ever

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Kanye West in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

John C Reilly turns up as the ghost of American Civil War general Stonewall Jackson, and Harrison Ford plays a werewolf news anchor (obviously). However, it was Kanye West as Wesley Jackson from the MTV News crew that marked the most surprising cameo in the 2013 Anchorman sequel.

Michael Jackson in Men In Black II

How did the King Of Pop end up in Will Smith’s alien adventure comedy? As producer Barry Sonnenfeld said, “I had a lovely conversation with Michael in which he told me he had seen the first Men In Black in Paris, and had stayed when all the other people left the theatre and sat there and wept. I had to explain to him that it was a comedy.”

Jamie Foxx in A Million Ways to Die in the West

Impatient types who leave before the end of the credits might have missed an appearance by Jamie Foxx in character as Django from Tarantino’s Django Unchained, who pops up for one last kill in this 2014 Seth McFarlane comedy.

Jerry Springer in Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!

The infamous talk-show host’s famous bodyguard, Steve Wilkos, was nowhere to be seen when Springer becomes Great White food in this ludicrous third instalment of the deadly wind + killer fish franchise.

The Crypt Keeper et al in Casper

A kids’ movie that hinges on its star being a dead child condemned to life as a floating guff bound to a haunted mansion was always going to be existentially troubling. But the scene in which Bill Pullman’s James Harvey sees his own reflection morph into Clint Eastwood, Rodney Dangerfield, Mel Gibson and the dude from Tales From The Crypt is the stuff of nightmares.

Donald Trump in Two Weeks Notice

Given how eager property magnate and man-who-would-be-President Donald Trump was to appear as himself in movies, you might almost think he was a narcissist. He followed up a small role in Home Alone 2 in 1992 with this appearance 10 years later in, er, property magnate romcom Two Weeks Notice – which is just about the length of time Biden gave him when he was refusing to vacate The White House.

Matt Damon in EuroTrip

The appearance of a double Oscar-winner in this sex-romp comedy can be explained by the fact that Damon went to college with its writers, but he does love a surprise appearance – see also Damon as Loki, watched by Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, in Thor: Ragnarok’s play-within-a-play.

Carrie Fisher in Scream 3

Wes Craven’s horror franchise was fully subscribed to the ‘90s trend for knowing humour and cinematic fourth-wall breaking. Here, Carrie Fisher’s frustrated studio secretary bitches about being “this close” to getting cast as Princess Leia in Star Wars in a moment of pure nerd-baiting.

Stan Lee in The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement

Stan Lee is the king of the cameo, having appeared not just in the MCU movies he oversaw, but in Kevin Smith’s Mallrats and Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, comedy thriller The Ambulance and – most strangely – 2004’s Princess Diaries sequel, in which he’s a wedding guest. Excelsior?

Chris Isaak in Silence Of The Lambs

Better known as the crooning cowboy smoothie behind the hit song ‘Wicked Game’, Isaak flexed his acting chops as a SWAT team commander in pursuit of cannibalist Hannibal Lecter in this classic thriller.

Tommy Wiseau in Cold Room

If you’ve seen The Room, the movie that made its star/director Tommy Wiseau famous for all the wrong reasons, you’ll know that even a cameo can stretch his acting abilities. Thankfully, his one scene co-star in this cult horror is a snake, so the bar of competition is low.

David Bowie in Zoolander

So venerated is Bowie since his passing, it’s fun to look back on his career and find the things he did that weren’t so god-like, like this joyously silly appearance judging the “walk off” between preening models Derek (Ben Stiller) and Hansel (Owen Wilson). Derek is disqualified when he gives himself an atomic wedgie, which sounds like a title from Bowie’s Ziggy era.

Glenn Close in Warcraft

Meanwhile, Bowie’s son David Jones bagged his own surprising cameo when Glenn Close appeared – for one, uncredited minute – as Alodi in Warcraft, the swords and sorcery film that gave his career an atomic wedgie.

Madonna in Die Another Day

It was a classic write the theme tune, sing the theme tune, appear in the movie deal for Madonna when she stepped up to croon her way through ‘Die Another Day’ AND appear in a bawdy cameo. Fans of the Daniel Craig era might wince at the dialogue-au-fromage. “I see you handle your weapon well”, says Madge. “I have been known to keep my tip up”, says Piers Brosnan’s Bond.

Ian Dury in Judge Dredd

Dury found fame as the street-level poet behind new wave punk-funk band Ian Dury & The Blockheads, but his cameo as Judge’s armourer Geiger sees him handing out lawgiver guns, not rhythm sticks.

Chester Bennington in Crank

For all the cameos on this list, admire not the unlikely stars playing themselves or playing named roles; admire instead the late and much-missed Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington for stepping up to a role listed only as “Pharmacy Stoner” in this Jason Statham movie. Clearly a fan, Bennington returned for Crank High Voltage.

Licorice Pizza is in cinemas from January 1

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