When a creator has a significant role in the creation of a work, but goes uncredited
For a variety of reasons (budget constraints, contractual obligations, Creator Backlash etc.), sometimes a person will be involved in the creation of a work, but will go uncredited. It's generally only noteworthy if they played a significant role in the creative process (drafting a screenplay, writing a lyric); if the person is well-known enough to have a page on this wiki (many Cameos meet this description); or if the role they played was insignificant, but the person went on to achieve greater fame thereafter. In Hollywood, experienced screenwriters are often employed as uncredited "script doctors" to provide edits to existing drafts of screenplays before they go into production: these edits can range from simple punching up of the dialogue, to adding new scenes, to changing the entire structure of the screenplay. In literature, writers may be employed as "ghostwriters" note to write a book for another person: the latter person will be credited as the writer. The most common form this takes is when a celebrity hires a ghostwriter to pen their "auto"biography. The ghostwriter is usually bound to a non-disclosure agreement not to publicly reveal or discuss their involvement in the creation of the book, although they may be credited as an "editor" or "consultant". House Pseudonym (in which multiple ghostwriters are credited under a single pseudonym) is related to this trope. In music, it's common for solo artists or groups to employ "session musicians" when recording a song or an album, contracted musicians who will perform on one or more track, but who are not considered an official member of the group or the solo artist's backing band. Sometimes these musicians will not be credited in the liner notes for the release, but will later go on to achieve fame in their own right. In Hip-Hop, it's an Open Secret that many rappers employ ghostwriters to write lyrics for them, who will sometimes go uncredited. This was common industry practice in voiceover work for animation prior to the 1990s (see Now Which One Was That Voice? for more information). See also Alan Smithee, for when a film director proves that they did not have creative control over a film and has the direction of the film credited to a pseudonym. An interesting case is when a creator is typecast in a particular role/genre, and goes uncredited in order to distance themselves from their usual type, which overlaps with He Also Did. Note that it's not an example if the person is credited under a Pen Name or alias. This is Trivia, not a trope.
open/close all folders
- Kathleen Turner was uncredited as the voice of Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
- Disney Animated Canon:
- Until 1984, there was a rule that animators had to draw at least 100 feet of film (roughly 68 seconds) in order to be credited.
- Sleeping Beauty: The voices for the Queen and for Maleficent's goons weren't credited.
- Robin Hood only listed the actors playing the main character and key supporting characters; other actors like J. Pat O'Malley (Otto), John Fiedler (Deacon), Barbara Luddy (Deacon's wife) and all the child actors went uncredited.
- Ron Clements conceived the story for the 1983 featurette Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore, but he took his name off the film in protest of Disney outsourcing the animation.
- Charlie Kaufman was an uncredited script doctor for Kung Fu Panda 2.
- Tom Sizemore plays one of the villains in Enemy of the State, but his name doesn't appear in the credits.
- Michael Caine has a voice-only Cameo in Dunkirk, which is uncredited.
- Aaron Sorkin was an uncredited script doctor for several films, including Schindler's List, The Rock, Bulworth and Enemy of the State.
- The late Carrie Fisher was an uncredited script doctor for several films, including Sister Act, Last Action Hero and The Wedding Singer.
- Quentin Tarantino was an uncredited script doctor for Crimson Tide.
- Joss Whedon was an uncredited script doctor for several films, including Speed, The Quick and the Dead, Waterworld, Twister and X-Men.
- Glenn Close has an uncredited cross-dressing Cameo as the pirate Captain Hook locks in a chest as punishment for betting against him.
- The kissing couple that was briefly lifted into the air by Tinkerbell's pixie dust were George Lucas and Carrie Fisher. Fisher also served as an uncredited script doctor.
- The Force Awakens: Daniel Craig plays the Stormtrooper who is mind-controlled by Rey.
- John Sayles was an uncredited script doctor for Apollo 13 and Mimic, among others.
- Mel Brooks was an uncredited producer on David Lynch's The Elephant Man. He feared audiences would assume it was a comedy because of his involvement, so he left his own name out of the credits and marketing.
- Kurt Russell had an uncredited cameo as Elvis Presley in Forrest Gump.
- Peter Jackson, Steve Coogan and Cate Blanchett all have uncredited cameos in Hot Fuzz.
- Jason Statham has a brief uncredited cameo in Collateral.
- In Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, both Brad Pitt and Matt Damon appear (uncredited) as two game show contestants.
- An extremely glaring example: James Earl Jones did not receive credit as the voice of Darth Vader until the digital reissue of the original Star Wars trilogy, decades after the films' original release.
- Kevin Smith:
- He wrote most of the dialogue for his part in Live Free or Die Hard. According to him, he rewrote the scene when he auditioned for the part, and the studio hired him because it was cheaper than giving him a writer's credit. Smith was credited for his acting, but not for his script edits.
- Uncredited script doctor for Coyote Ugly and Overnight Delivery.
- Alexander Payne was an uncredited script doctor for Meet the Parents and Jurassic Park 3.
- Judd Apatow was an uncredited script doctor for The Wedding Singer, Liar Liar and Bruce Almighty.
- Tom Stoppard was an uncredited script doctor for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Sleepy Hollow, Revenge of the Sith and The Bourne Ultimatum.
- Jason Reitman was an uncredited script doctor for The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.
- The Coen Brothers were uncredited script doctors for Fun with Dick and Jane''.
- Shane Black was an uncredited script doctor for Iron Man, Predator and Crimson Tide.
- M. Night Shyamalan was an uncredited script doctor for She's All That. Shyamalan's contributions are mentioned on the DVD commentary for the film.
Live Action Television
- The Community episode "Investigative Journalism" has an uncredited performance by Owen Wilson as the leader of another study group who recruits Buddy at the end.
- In the Doctor Who story "Remembrance of the Daleks", the iconic K-9 voice actor John Leeson played an uncredited part as the voice of the Renegade Daleks' battle computer, before the character's true identity was revealed.
- Mick Jagger sang uncredited backing vocals on Carly Simon's Signature Song "You're So Vain". The song was rumoured to be about Jagger himself (although Simon herself denied this).
- Eric Clapton played an uncredited guitar solo on The Beatles' "While My Guitar Gently Weeps". To return the favour, George Harrison made an uncredited guest appearance on Cream's song "Badge".
- Jack White performed uncredited backing vocals on Electric Six's song "Danger! High Voltage!"
- Nas was a ghostwriter for several artists, including Will Smith.
- Run–D.M.C. contributed ghostwritten lyrics to Beastie Boys debut album Licensed to Ill.
- Numerous artists have ghostwritten for Dr. Dre, including Snoop Dogg, Eminem and Kendrick Lamar.
- Family Guy: Lacey Chabert went uncredited when she voiced Meg during the first production season, before she was replaced by Mila Kunis. She finally received credit on "Back to the Pilot".
- Looney Tunes: For many years, Mel Blanc received no onscreen credit for all the voices he did. He only was given a credit after asking for a raise. His bosses refused to give him one but grudgingly agreed to put his name in the credits.
Hello, Unknown Troper. You'll need to get known to lend a hand here.