In Hollywood jargon, an Easter egg isn’t a colorful confection in the shape of an egg that kids go gaga over. Rather, the loose definition of an Easter egg in films is a “joke or a reference cleverly hidden in a scene or scenes.” It’s always a treat to discover some of these little surprises in big-budget Hollywood movies. Some Easter eggs hide in plain sight while others are easily missed, demanding a second viewing of a particular scene in order to catch that much talked-about treat. Disney, for example, is famous for having Easter eggs in its movies, in the form of hidden Mickeys.
A particular kind of Easter egg is a celebrity cameo in a film. A cameo role is the surprise appearance of a highly popular actor in a movie for only a few seconds or minutes, usually going uncredited to add to the unexpectedness of the ploy. A cameo can only be considered as such if the actor is famous enough to be recognized in the most fleeting of moments. These are some of the more unexpected celeb cameos in big Hollywood films.
14. Matt Damon – EuroTrip
The film EuroTrip may have bombed at the box office, but it doesn’t change the fact that for a few short moments, Matt Damon was in it. As a skinhead. Singing a mean ballad.
In the movie, he played Romeo, the lead singer of a band who just so happens to have an affair with a high schooler played by Kristin Kreuk. Damon sings a song called “Scotty Doesn’t Know,” which actually reached number 75 on the US Billboard charts.
13. Madonna – Die Another Day
Since she sang the theme song for Pierce Brosnan’s last James Bond film Die Another Day, Madonna wanted in on the movie too. The pop icon made a cameo in the film as Verity, Bond’s fencing instructor.
As with any interaction 007 has with a skirt, the scene was oozing with sexual tension, not just in their words, but in their actions as well. Too bad critics and moviegoers were less than enthused to have her in the film, as she was given the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actress.
12. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – Airplane!
The comedy film Airplane! made back in 1980 had then-famous NBA basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in a random cameo. Audience members were in for a surprise when they saw him playing himself going by the name Roger Murdock and pretending to be the co-pilot.
He’s seen holding a basketball and he’s soon discovered by an avid fan, to whom he orders, “Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes.”
11. Cate Blanchett – Hot Fuzz
Being a huge fan of the film Shaun of the Dead, Cate Blanchett asked its director, Edgar Wright, if she could appear in his next movie, even if it was just a cameo. And so she was cast as Janine, Sergeant Nicholas Angel’s forensic scientist ex-girlfriend.
Her face was covered by goggles and a surgeon’s mask and her hair by a hospital cap. It’s only her voice that was a dead giveaway of who the actress beneath the disguise was.
10. Sylvester Stallone – Staying Alive
Everyone remembers the film Staying Alive for its dancing, serving as the sequel to Saturday Night Fever. But not very many are aware that it had Sylvester Stallone as its writer, producer, and director, a Hollywood star just as famous as John Travolta, the film’s lead actor.
Stallone made a small cameo in the scene when Tony Manero, Travolta’s character, bumps into him on the street and Stallone is shown for a brief moment that’s quite easy to miss.
9. Billy Idol – The Wedding Singer
The Wedding Singer is set in the ‘80s, a decade before the film was made. Given the multitude of ‘80s references, especially about music, it was just a matter of which icon of the time would make a cameo appearance.
The question was answered when Billy Idol appeared in the final few minutes of the film, playing himself as a first-class plane passenger encouraging Adam Sandler‘s character to sing to his love Julia Sullivan, played by Drew Barrymore.
8. Bill Murray – Zombieland
Because of people’s obsession with zombies in pop culture, there were dozens of films and TV shows that were zombie-themed, one of which was the 2009 comedy Zombieland.
Two-thirds into the film, in the scene where leads Woody Harrelson and Emma Stone begin dancing to the theme song of Ghostbusters, who just so happens to show up? None other than comedian Bill Murray in all his zombie glory! For those not in the know, Murray played Dr. Peter Venkman in the movie version of the popular cartoon series.
7. Christopher Walken – Pulp Fiction
Christopher Walken has earned himself the reputation as the king of cameos, due to the many surprise appearances he’s made in big movies. Perhaps his most brilliant cameo role was that of Captain Koons in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction.
In the prelude to the film’s “The Gold Watch” segment, Walken gives a long monologue to young Butch, telling him how he hid Butch’s father’s gold watch in his rectum for two years in order to avoid being caught during his war days in Vietnam.
6. Sean Connery – Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Not very many people know that Sean Connery played Robin opposite Audrey Hepburn’s Marian in one of their lesser-known films, Robin and Marian. So it was only natural that Connery made a small cameo towards the end of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, which starred Kevin Costner, Connery’s co-star in the film The Untouchables.
In Prince of Thieves, Connery played King Richard, who appears right before Robin is about to wed Marian so that he can give the bride away.
5. Whoopi Goldberg – Little Rascals
Though the cast of The Little Rascals was predominantly made up of the cutest human beings under four feet in height, the few adult celebs who did show up were in passing cameo roles.
Many celebrities made brief appearances, but the most memorable cameo in the film was probably Whoopi Goldberg’s. Goldberg, who played Buckwheat’s mom, appeared near the end of the film to cheer the kids on during their car racing competition.
4. Donald Trump – Home Alone 2
As all avid Home Alone fans know, the sequel was set mostly in New York City, featuring the Big Apple’s most popular sights during the beautiful holiday season. One of the city’s landmarks is The Plaza Hotel, which of course, is where Kevin chooses to stay when he accidentally goes to New York without his family.
In a scene where Kevin is walking through the hotel’s entrance, he asks a man to point him towards the lobby. Said man was none other than Donald Trump, who just so happens to own The Plaza.
3. Glenn Close – Hook
One of the movie world’s most hilarious cameos is in the box-office, star-studded film Hook. As if the movie didn’t contain big enough names like Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams and Julia Roberts, there was a little known celebrity cameo as well.
In the scene where Captain Hook is looking for someone to send to the “boo box” for wronging him, he chooses Gutless the gray-bearded pirate as the box’s hapless victim. Even looking closely, it’s hard to notice that it’s Glenn Close buried underneath that beard and disheveled hair!
2. Michael Jackson – Men in Black II
Michael Jackson loved the first Men In Black movie so much, that when he found out there was going to be a second installment in the franchise, he decided that he wanted to be a part of it.
He reportedly phoned Will Smith personally and expressed his interest to have a small role in the sequel to which producers agreed enthusiastically. Jackson humorously played an alien in the film, with only his face getting a few seconds of screen time.
1. Tom Cruise, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito and Steven Spielberg – Austin Powers in Gold Member
By the time the third Austin Powers movie installment hit movie theatres, the character and the movies were certified hits the world over. The third film, Austin Powers in Gold Member, opened with a string of cameos featuring many famous people sharing screen time for a few glorious minutes.
In a sequence that shows Austin Powers’ exploits being made into a movie, the scene depicts Tom Cruise playing Austin, locking lips with Gwyneth Paltrow, who plays his love interest. The moment is ruined by Dr. Evil, played by Kevin Spacey, and Mini Me, played by Danny DeVito. To top it all off, the “film” is being directed by Steven Spielberg, who plays himself.