Created By: KJMackley on October 11, 2011 Last Edited By: Metamorf on February 10, 2016

The Anti Cameo

Hiding the fact that a big actor is even there

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Sometimes celebrity cameos feel like quick cash-ins to bolster ratings or otherwise catch people's attention with something unrelated to the work as a whole. This trope is an alternative to celebrity jokes, you make their appearance more like an Easter Egg rather than a One-Scene Wonder. This is usually accomplished through heavy make-up, creative costuming or sharp camera angles

Compare Fake Shemp, Sometimes overlaps with Not Named in Opening Credits. Not to be confused with Not Quite Starring.

Examples:

Film
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar has a cameo in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog as an extra in the town hall scene. She's wearing a stark black wig and big sunglasses to the point she is unrecognizable unless she is singled out.
  • Tom Cruise as Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder, which was meant to be a big surprise to the movie-going audiences until it was spoiled just before the movie opened. He was balding with facial hair and thick glasses, in addition to Playing Against Type as a foul-mouthed studio executive.
    • Tom Cruise had a tiny cameo in Young Guns as one of the extras in the shoot-out at the end of the movie. He was apparently on the set one day and got slipped into the movie.
  • Cate Blanchett plays Nicholas Angel's love interest in a single scene in Hot Fuzz. While uncredited and wearing a surgical mask, making her nigh unrecognizable. Also, Peter Jackson makes a very short appearance in a flashback while dressed as Santa Claus.
  • Scott Bakula does a voiceover in Source Code, which you wouldn't know unless you looked at the credits.
  • Samuel L. Jackson makes a blink-and-you'll-miss-him appearance as the wedding piano player in Kill Bill.
  • In Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Weber—Indy's contact who put him, Willie and Shorty on the plane—is played by a barely recognizable (and oddly accented) Dan Aykroyd.
  • The Film of the Series of both The Saint and the British Series The Avengers had cameos of the original Actors (Roger Moore playing Simon Templar and Patrick Macnee playing John Steed) only as Voice Actors (on a Car Radio and as an invisible Man).
  • You might think that Stan Lee doesn't have a cameo in Kick-Ass but he does - he's in a big crowd scene. He's usually front and center of all his cameos.
  • Lucy Lawless is in Spider-Man for all of 3 seconds. She wears a curly wig and speaks with a heavy New Yorker accent. ("Guy with eight hands. Sounds hot."}

Live-Action Television
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has an oft-recurring character named Morn, who never speaks and sits at the bar. The character is an alien, and the actor is in makeup that completely obscures his face. In the episode named "Who mourns for Morn", Morn dies, and the bar owner, Quark gives an eulogy. The actor who played Morn appeared without his makeup as a Bajoran customer.
  • In the classic Doctor Who serial The Ice Warriors, the first appearance of the Ice Warriors, the Ice Warrior leader Varga is played by Carry On film star Bernard Bresslaw. Under a very large amount of green fibreglass.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Manhunt", Mick Fleetwood under huge amounts of makeup plays an Antedean dignitary who spends 99% of his screen time in Suspended Animation. His one line is dubbed.

Western Animation

Community Feedback Replies: 36
  • October 11, 2011
    foxley
    Hook contains several. Aside from Glenn Close as one of the pirates (which is actually credited), Jimmy Buffet plays the pirate who tries to steals Peter's shoes, and the man and woman kissing on the bridge are George Lucas and Carrie Fisher.
  • October 12, 2011
    Premonition45
    The driver in BTTF is not Harrison Ford. It's confirmed during director's commentary.
  • October 12, 2011
    UglyShirts
    The Jeep Driver was actually Walter Scott, the series' stunt coordinator.
  • October 12, 2011
    randomsurfer
    I went and looked up this quote, but it seems to be Not An Example, since the scene was presumably cut. I'm posting it anyway having taken the time to research it. From Harpo Speaks!
    One day [George Bernard] Shaw and I drove to Cannes, where a friend of his, Rex Ingram, was directing a movie called The Three Passions. We only wanted to watch the shooting for awhile, but Ingram had other ideas. He shanghaied us and put us to work as extras. In our one and only joint appearance before the camera, George Bernard Shaw and I shot pocket billiards in a poolroom scene. I'm sure that scene was cut from the picture. No audience could ever mistake us for extras, lost in the crowd. The way we shot pool we could only be taken for what we were - a couple of ringers, a couple of sharpies.
  • October 13, 2011
    FalconPain
    Cate Blanchett plays Nicholas Angel's love interest in a single scene in Hot Fuzz. While uncredited and wearing a surgical mask, making her nearly unrecognizable. Also, Peter Jackson makes a very short appearance in a flashback while dressed as Santa Claus.
  • October 13, 2011
    nman
    • Scott Bakula does a voiceover in Source Code, which you wouldn't know unless you looked at the credits.
  • October 13, 2011
    UglyShirts
    Samuel L Jackson makes a blink-and-you'll-miss-him appearance as the wedding piano player in Kill Bill.
  • October 13, 2011
    randomsurfer
    South Park used celebrity cameos like this for a while; like, George Clooney played a gay dog going "arf! arf!"
  • October 13, 2011
    KJMackley
    Oops, never mind then about that. I saw it on eeggs.com here (truthfully it was years ago) and apparently it is a common misconception. Although, now that I think about it is still almost works as the trope in spirit if not actually being an example.
  • October 13, 2011
    ChunkyDaddy
    • In the Star Trek Deep Space Nine episode has a character named Morn, who never speaks and sits at the bar. The character is an alien, and the actor is in makup that completely obscures his face. In the episode named "Who mourns for Morn", Morn dies, and the bar owner, Quark gives an eulogy. The actor who played Morn appeared without his makeup as a Bajoron customer.
  • October 14, 2011
    DaibhidC
  • October 14, 2011
    Duncan
    Sometimes overlaps with Not Named In Opening Credits.
  • October 14, 2011
    randomsurfer
    In the Star Trek The Next Generation episode "Manhunt" Mick Fleetwood under huge amounts of makup plays an Antedean dignitary who spends 99% of his screen time in Suspended Animation. His one line is dubbed.
  • November 6, 2011
    ArtyMorty
    In Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Weber,that guy who got Indy, Willie and Shorty the plane, is actually played by Dan Aykroyd.
  • November 6, 2011
    ArtyMorty
    The Film Of The Series of both The Saint and the British Series The Avengers had cameos of the original Actors (Roger Moore playing Simon Templar and Patrick Macnee playing John Steed) only as Voice Actors (on a Car Radio and as an invisible Man).
  • November 8, 2011
    LuxExterior
    To add on to your Tom Cruise example above:

    • Tom Cruise had a tiny cameo in Young Guns as one of the extras in the shoot-out at the end of the movie. He was apparently on the set one day and got slipped into the movie.
  • November 9, 2011
    LoopyChew
    Gina Bellman--Jane in the original Coupling--has a background cameo appearance in one scene of the US remake, where she walks through the crowd and passes behind the couch.

    Please note that Cate Blanchett isn't Nicholas Angel's love interest, but rather an ex-girlfriend who has all of one scene with him.
  • November 9, 2011
    AP
    Samuel L Jackson makes a blink-and-you'll-miss-him appearance as the wedding piano player in Kill Bill.

    Eh, this one is a very obvious cameo. We get a close up of Jackson where he exchanges a few lines with the main character and he does nothing to disguise himself.
  • November 9, 2011
    Duncan
    Not sure if this would count, but on Frasier, most of the call-in guests to his radio show were famous celebrities doing cameos.
  • November 9, 2011
    Folamh3
    The Laconic description has two "the"s in it.
  • November 9, 2011
    cygnavamp
    Lucy Lawless is in Spiderman for all of 3 seconds. She wears a curly wig and speaks with a heavy New Yorker accent. ("Guy with eight hands. Sounds hot."}
  • November 9, 2011
    randomsurfer
    You might think that Stan Lee doesn't have a cameo in Kick Ass but he does - he's in a big crowd scene. He's usually front and center of all his cameos.
  • January 1, 2012
    Noaqiyeum
  • January 2, 2012
    KevinKlawitter
    Carey Elwes plays a pilot in The Adventures Of Tintin, and is (naturally) unrecognizable under a French accent and the performance capture. He's only even in the movie in the first place because he's a huge Tintin fan and had begged Steven Spielberg for a part.
  • January 2, 2012
    SeanMurrayI
    • Michael Jackson and Dustin Hoffman have both had guest starring roles in episodes of The Simpsons, but neither one was credited under their real names. This was lampshaded in a later episode where Lisa names celebrities who've made surprise cameos in an Itchy And Scratchy movie and mentions Jackson and Hoffman as not using their real names "...but you can tell it was them."
  • January 2, 2012
    VincentGaribaldi
    South Park also had Jerry Seinfeld as turkey #5 on a thanksgiving episode, iirc.
  • January 5, 2012
    samuraiweasel
    Going Postal has Terry Pratchett as a postman in the end.
  • January 6, 2012
    Treblain
    • In Kingdom Of Heaven, the King of Jerusalem is played by Edward Norton with his face covered by a silver mask, and went uncredited in the film release.
  • January 7, 2012
    PaulA
    ^^ All of The Mob's Terry Pratchett adaptations have a cameo by Pratchett in them somewhere, but they're all normal cameos, not this trope, because they're careful to make sure the audience can see it's him.
  • December 11, 2012
    FalconPain
    Web Original: Tay Zonday has a cameo in one episode of Epic Rap Battles Of History. He neither sings nor raps, and only appears onscreen for two seconds while in costume as Sammy Davis Jr.
  • February 10, 2016
    Metamorf
    Until now, I've been a lurking troper. So before I brashly go and edit this page, I would like to field suggestions first.

    1. I'd like to rename the trope title to Cameo Incognito, which I think to be a cleverer rhyming title.
    2. Note that such cameos almost always go uncredited.
    3. Note that such cameos are often by a Celebrity Fan of an adapted work who basically plead or use their considerable clout to make an appearance, however unrecognisable or fleeting. e.g. Tolkein Uber-fan Stephen Colbert begged Peter Jackson to give him a blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo in one of The Hobbit films.
  • February 10, 2016
    Waddle
    ^^ Also Pew Die Pie as the Russian dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov in the Russian Leader Battle Royale.

  • February 10, 2016
    Metamorf
    ^^ I would think the Frasier example above definitely counts.
  • February 10, 2016
    Snicka
    Actually, George Clooney's cameo as the gay dog in South Park is not an example of this, as he is very much credited and advertised. The joke was exactly that they hired a high-profile actor - to do dog barks.
  • February 10, 2016
    BKelly95
    Live Action Television
    • The Community episode "Investigative Journalism" has a guest appearance by Jack Black as a potential new member of the study group named Buddy. He's not the example. Just after Jeff accepts him into the study group, another study group comes in and their leader tells Buddy they've approved his joining. The leader of the other study group is the example: Owen Wilson.
  • February 10, 2016
    DAN004
    Stealth Cameo perhaps?
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=1ny5oms4uopn3uqhifnesp72