Cameos — brief appearances by well-known actors — are a time-honored tradition in Hollywood, and it’s easy to understand why. A well-placed cameo role has the power to make audiences see an actor or actress in a new light, or completely revitalize their career. Some performers are barely recognizable as off-the-wall characters others play themselves. Either way, they’re fun for movie fans and the actors they pay to see. Here are just four of the funniest and most memorable big screen cameos.
1. Tom Cruise, Tropic Thunder (2007)
When this satirical smash hit was released, Tom Cruise was at the tail-end of a particularly rough public relations spiral. His erratic behavior off-screen, and his ties to the Church of Scientology, had turned many fans off. That’s why his brief appearance as a manic studio exec in Tropic Thunder was so surprising — and so successful. He donned a fat suit and bald wig, released expletive-laden rants on unsuspecting victims, and played up the crazy. He had fans rolling in the aisles as a result.
2. Emma Watson, This is the End (2013)
It’s hard to choose a stand-out from this disaster comedy film, which featured a handful of recognizable young actors playing exaggerated versions of themselves. Most film fans know Emma Watson as Harry Potter’s brainy and bold best friend, Hermione Granger. The Ivy League-educated actress has made her mark as a articulate, polite young woman. When she showed up in This is the End, it was enough of a surprise. When she unleashed an F bomb and threatened Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, and a handful of other comedy heavyweights with an axe, it was outstanding — and gave Potterheads and non-Potterheads alike a glimpse of another side of the usually demure actress.