This entry is trivia, which is cool and all, but not a trope. On a work, it goes on the Trivia tab.

Actor Allusion

The movie makes a sly reference to a famous earlier role by Irons. When Simba tells him, "You're so weird," he replies "You have no idea," in exactly the tone he used in "Reversal of Fortune."

An Actor Allusion is a joke or reference which is specific to one of the actors in a show. It can be a little blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, such as Mary Albright (Jane Curtin) spotting some people in Conehead costumes at a sci-fi convention in 3rd Rock from the Sun, or it can be bigger and more blatant, such as when John Lithgow repeated his entire anti-music rant from Footloose in the same show. Casting two or more actors who not only appeared together in a previous production, but spent a great deal of time onscreen together (especially alone) really reinforces the reference, as the page image demonstrates.

Related to the Shout-Out, and is sometimes triggered by I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine or a Casting Gag. But while a Casting Gag relies upon casting an actor in a role that reflects on their Real Life history, an Actor Allusion sets up a character or plot to reference a previous plot or role for the actor. If this role was on a previous version of the show, it's a Remake Cameo.

Contrast with Celebrity Paradox and Meta Casting where the actor themselves is the subject of reference. If in animation, can be the result of Talking to Himself. This is show business' way of acknowledging Role Association.

Before adding examples, bear in mind that if an actor is sufficiently versatile, almost any string of words could be taken as a reference to a role he or she has played; conversely, if an actor is sufficiently typecast, pretty much all his or her roles will be more or less the same. Try to be sure a reference is blatant, specific, or Word of God before committing yourself.


Alternative Title(s): Actress Allusion