16 Great Celebrity Performances Playing Out In Movies And TV Shows


We all love a good cameo from a celebrity appearing as themselves for a brief but fun little moment. However, what I’ve always found most amusing is when a famous person shows up in a bigger starring role in a movie, or in a television appearance that serves as the main theme for that episode ( or to these episodes), or even as the lead of the whole story. With Nicolas Cage playing himself in The unbearable weight of massive talentwe wanted to take a look at our picks for some of the best performances by athletes, musicians, or actors who have played each other.

Neil Patrick Harris in Harold and Kumar Go to the White Castle

(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

Neil Patrick Harris (Harold and Kumar Movies)

Future how I Met Your Mother actor Neil Patrick Harris was still best known as the star of Doogie Howser MD when he stole the show in the 2004 stoner comedy classic Harold and Kumar go to the white castle like a very dramatized version of himself. The Emmy nominee would reprise the role in two sequels that further mix the actor’s reality with increasingly absurd fiction, including being kicked out of paradise by Jesus in A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas after being shot by prostitutes in Harold and Kumar escape from Guantanamo Bay.

Cate Blanchett and Cate Blanchett in Coffee and Cigarettes

(Image credit: MGM)

Cate Blanchett (coffee and cigarettes)

Each thumbnail in Coffee and cigarettes – Jim Jarmusch’s 2003 anthology of shorts featuring celebrities as themselves – is golden, but Cate Blanchett directs one of the most unique and thought-provoking of the bunch called “Cousins.” The segment is, moreover, one of the most profound testaments to the two-time Oscar winner’s chameleon talent, as she makes it so easy to forget that she plays both herself and her brunette relative, Shelly, who struggles to identify herself while catching up in a hotel lobby.

Krysten Ritter and James Van Der Beek on Don't Trust The B**** In Apartment 23

(Image credit: ABC)

James Van Der Beek (Don’t Trust the B**** in Apartment 23)

In 2012, James Van Der Beek made his big comeback to television as a series regular on Don’t trust the B**** in apartment 23 in a role close to his heart: James Van Der Beek. The actor brilliantly pokes fun at his position as the leader of the Dawson’s Creek casting career and predicts its future Dancing with the stars role of the famous best friend of Krysten Ritter’s Chloe – the title character of ABC’s short-lived but highly acclaimed comedy.

Bill Murray and Wood Harrelson in Zombieland

(Photo credit: Sony)

Bill Murray (Zombieland)

Most people would consider Bill Murray’s surprise appearance in zombieland to be one of the biggest cameos of his career (and there are several incredible examples to choose from). However, with only four other characters in the main cast of the classic 2009 zombie comedy, I think we can rightly count the iconic and hilarious portrayal of the Oscar nominee as his post-apocalyptic self as a lead despite a running time. of a few minutes.

Keanu Reeves in Always Be My Maybe

(Image credit: Netflix)

Keanu Reeves (Always Be My Maybe)

Another example of a relatively brief appearance that still deserves the right to be called a starring role occurs in 2019. Always be my maybe when Marcus (Randall Park) is shocked to learn that his childhood friend (and crush), Sasha (Ali Wong) is dating none other than Keanu Reeves. the John Wick star pulls no punches in his partially improvised portrayal of a wondrously absurd version of himself in the Netflix original rom-com, in which, on a double date at the restaurant, he shows up with glasses without contact lenses and asks the waiter for a dish that plays with “the notion of time”.

Heather Langenkamp in New Nightmare

(Image credit: New Line Cinema)

Heather Langenkamp (New Nightmare)

After playing Nancy Kerrigan in two Nightmare on Elm Street movies made her one of the best Scream Queens of the 1980s, Heather Langenkamp would arguably give her best performance in the franchise when she returned – not as Nancy, but as herself – in 1994 New nightmare. The clever meta-thriller, in which the actress is taunted by a demon taking the guise of Freddy Krueger, also stars fellow horror icon Robert Englund in this new take on the iconic villain and himself as well. than writer and director Wes Craven.

The Beatles in A Hard Day's Night

(Image credit: United Artists)

The Beatles (A Hard Day’s Night)

The cinematic phenomenon of famous musicians offering a fictional glimpse into their lives off stage (like Nick Cave in the 2014 quasi-documentary 20,000 days on Earth or Foo Fighters in horror comedy Workshop 666 more recently) arguably started with the Beatles. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr display solid comedic timing and deep athleticism while fleeing a swarm of screaming fans in the 1964s. A hard day’s Night – the first in a series of dramatized films that the Fab Four made together.

LeBron James in Trainwreck

(Image credit: Universal)

LeBron James (Trainwreck)

Pro basketball star LeBron James has portrayed himself on screen several times and most recently in 2021 Space Jam: A New Legacy – a sequel to the hit Michael Jordan/Looney Tunes collaboration from 1996. However, Los Angeles Lakers’ Small Forward has received the most acclaim of his acting career so far for starring himself in Rail accident – the 2015 romantic comedy from star and writer Amy Schumer which portrays him and Bill Hader’s “star sports doctor” as best friends.

Stan Lee in Mallrats

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Stan Lee (Mallrats)

Before his heartbreaking death in 2018, Stan Lee honed the art of the cameo by appearing in countless Marvel movies. One of his first and biggest acting gigs (for which he was also mentioned in the opening credits) was as himself in Kevin Smith’s 1995. Clerks monitoring, Mallrats. The comic book icon makes you a “true believer” in his acting ability when he shows up for a few scenes to give comic book-obsessed Brody (Jason Lee) some much-needed relationship advice.

Larry David and Jon Hamm on Curb Your Enthusiasm

(Image credit: HBO)

Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm)

It’s no secret for fans Seinfeld fans that Jason Alexander’s deeply neurotic and troublesome character, George Costanza, was heavily inspired by the personality and life experiences of co-creator Larry David. On its sequel to Seinfeld – HBO’s long-running original comedy Calm your enthusiasm – David has earned multiple Emmy nominations for playing a version of himself that makes George look like a saint, burning bridges with Hollywood heavyweights and alienating friends and average bystanders at every turn.

Kate Winslet on extras

(Image credit: HBO/BBC)

Hollywood satire of star and co-creator Ricky Gervais Supplements is packed with incredible celebrity appearances, but Kate Winslet made a damn good case for being considered the funniest Emmy-winning comedy in history. English Titanic The star is seen playing a nun on the set of a Holocaust film (in which she admits to agreeing to act only to win an Oscar, having yet to win for The reader) before later proving herself to be a master of double-meaning by offering her extra colleague, Maggie Jacobs (Ashley Jensen), sex advice over the phone.

John Malkovich in Being John Malkovich.

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

John Malkovich (Being John Malkovich)

It’s a little rare for an actor to appear in a movie as himself while playing the title character, but the 1999s Being John Malkovich – from writer Charlie Kaufman and director Spike Jonze – is also a rare type of film, and in many ways too. The two-time Oscar nominee is understandably shocked and spooked by the discovery that a Manhattan puppeteer (John Cusack) uses a magical portal to walk around in his shoes for 15 minutes at a time in this wildly creative comedy.

Bruce Campbell in My Name is Bruce

(Image credit: Image Entertainment)

Bruce Campbell (My name is Bruce)

Another rare example of an actor himself playing the lead role in a film is Bruce Campbell in My name is Bruce, which is also the last movie the B-movie icon directed himself. Campbell is hilarious in the 2007 horror-comedy as the boozy, washed-down version of himself who is forced to channel his iconic evil Dead character, Ash Williams, in order to defeat a demon wreaking havoc in a small town in Oregon.

Oprah Winfrey on 30 Rock

(Image credit: NBC)

Oprah Winfrey (30 Rock)

Oprah Winfrey in Season 3 of 30 Rock. Liz Lemon (star and creator Tina Fey) is thrilled to find the larger-than-life media mogul sitting next to her on a plane and can’t help but seize the opportunity to receive a dose of wisdom, but who could really blame him?

Kevin Garnett in Uncut Gems

(Image credit: A24)

Kevin Garnett (Uncut Gems)

As much as I agree Adam Sandler deserved more attention for his lead performance in 2019’s relentless thriller Uncut Gems, I think we should be angrier that former NBA player Kevin Garnett didn’t get any awards. I’d go so far as to say I’m glad the Safdie brothers didn’t get the athlete they originally wrote the role for (Knicks Amar’e Stoudemire) because Garnett is electrifying as himself (around 2012), whose interest in a rare opal sets off a series of increasingly dire circumstances for the Sandler as self-destructive jeweler, Howard Ratner.

The cast of This is the End

(Image credit: Sony Pictures Releasing)

The cast of This is the End

All the Interest in Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s 2013 Directorial Debut It is the end is to watch the entire cast (including Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Craig Robinson and many more, a lot more) as hilarious, over-the-top versions of themselves struggling to endure the Apocalypse and a relentless barrage of gags at their expense. Highlights also include an excruciatingly vain (and demonically possessed) Jonah Hill; a lustful, coke-snorting Michael Cera; an axe-wielding Emma Watson; and Channing Tatum employed by a cannibal Danny McBride as a sex slave.

You must love seeing a famous person go wild and present a different, completely fictionalized side of themselves to the world on screen. I look forward to seeing more examples of actors playing themselves in the future.

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