Tom cruise in Tropic Thunder. Lance Armstrong in Dodgeball. Stan Lee in, well, all films Marvel. Everyone can jot down a few cameo appearances come the pub quiz film round, but what answers would win you the Pointless head-to-head round? What about the Brits that made their way onto the big screen? Here are the UK’s finest celebrities donning the heaviest cameo-flague in film.
1. Andi Peters in Toy Story 2 (1999)
You know, Andi Peters, the man of Live and Kicking, Sunday Feast and CBBC’s broom cupboard. That’s right, the Edd the Duck bloke. After filming a documentary about the first Toy Story in 1999, Peters was cast as ‘Male Baggage Handler 1’ in Pixar’s third full-length feature. His line (about the 30 second mark in the video above): “hold it – there’s a couple more bags coming from the terminal!”
Was this a hint from Hollywood that Peters should pack his own bags for a move across the pond? Would this animated plane fly him to international stardom? In a word: no. In a few more words: no, but here’s a video of Peters tripping over a bin and running away from a dog on Good Morning Britain.
2. George Harrison in The Life of Brian (1973)
Now repeat after me: “He’s not one of the Beatles, he’s a very naughty boy!”
Yes, ten years after the breakup of Liverpool’s greatest quartet, Harrison was branching out. He’d founded his own production company, Handmade Films. He pumped $4 million into The Monty Python’s Life of Brian. In short, he was making a name for himself outside The Beatles.
And how did director Terry Jones embrace Harrison’s vision? Letting him cameo as an indistinguishable background character eclipsed by the leading performers and a secondary female character. Even his scouse ‘ello’ was dubbed over by Michael Palin in the final cut. Poor George.
3. Richard Branson in Casino Royale (2006)
It’s the mid-noughties: the age of the Branson film appearance: ‘Balloon Man’ in Around The World in 80 days, ‘Shuttle Engineer’ in Superman Returns – Virgin’s CEO was all over (the corner of) the big screen. However, the cameo king’s top performance came in the form of ‘man frisked at Miami airport’ in Daniel Craig’s first bond flick.
A large role it ain’t, but, as a huge 007 fan, it’s Branson’s proudest cameo to date. He’s even said that if he could be a superhero, he’d transform into Her Majesty’s finest secret agent. However, would Bond still look cool in a Virgin-branded Aston Martin? No. No, he would not.