Sneaky Ways Directors Hid Cameos
Famous directors often pop up their own movies; from Alfred Hitchock's many appearances in his classic thrillers, to the time Michael Bay inexplicably thought the best possible person to play a NASA scientist was Michael Bay. Sometimes these filmmaker cameos are so subtle, you may not have even noticed them, such as how ...
Ang Lee Played The Hulk, Because Why the Hell Not?
2003's Hulk has been largely forgotten these days, consigned to the scrapheap of pre-MCU Marvel movies such as Daredevil and the cinematic ode to beastiality that was Howard the Duck. Hulk was directed by acclaimed filmmaker Ang Lee who had previously directed Sense and Sensibility, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and a bunch of other movies that in no way featured giant green monsters. Not only did Lee change gears to direct Hulk, he also decided to play the titular superhero himself, we're guessing because it doubled as free rage therapy. Like that scene where Hulk smashes a tank? That was Academy Award-winner Ang Lee in a motion capture suit.
It wasn't all fun and wanton destruction of military property, Lee's role as The Hulk also involved being smacked upside the head by fabric boulders, inadvertently creating the perfect visual metaphor for the movie's cultural reception. So why did the director of The Ice Storm end up playing The Hulk, a role traditionally played by ex-Canadian football players in green make-up? According to Hulk's animation supervisor, Lee rejected the idea of hiring an actor for the job because "the Hulk only existed in his mind." Which is ... odd. And now we can't help but wonder if Ang Lee at any point considered playing the other Will Smith in Gemini Man.
George Lucas' Screams Can Be Heard in the Disney Star Wars Movies
You might think that the time George Lucas slathered himself in blue makeup to play a goofy-looking alien opera aficionado is his only cameo in the Star Wars series -- but it turns out that's not the case. While that may have been the only willing cameo he committed to celluloid, it turns out that some of the folks working on the Disney movies included Lucas in Rogue One, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker. But don't go looking for some dude in an old plaid shirt and jeans forlornly eating spaghetti in the food court of a Star Destroyer, because it's purely an audio cameo.
While being interviewed for The Rise of Skywalker, sound designer Matt Wood revealed that they had replaced the legendary "Wilhelm Scream" with a new "calling card," what he called "a very special scream."
Before fans had a chance to worry that Skywalker Sound employees had been prowling the streets, terrorizing the innocent and recording their pleas for help, a source alleged that the new recurring scream is actually that of George Lucas. Apparently, the scream (dubbed "The George") was originally recorded for American Graffiti back in 1973. Its inclusion in the Disney sequels is either a fun Easter Egg, or the closest we'll get to a direct pipeline into Lucas' soul as he watches these newfangled movies.
Guillermo del Toro Was The Monster's Breathing in The Shape of Water
If, say, your cousin announced they were writing an erotically-charged love story about a mute janitor and imprisoned mutant fish man, you'd probably seek the help of some sort of professional. But when Guillermo del Toro does it, it becomes the Oscar-winner for Best Picture, apparently. The Shape of Water's horny sea monster was portrayed by creature performer Doug Jones -- except for the dance scenes, which unfortunately resulted in violent projectile vomiting. As for the sounds made by "the Amphibian Man," AKA Fish Dickman, AKA The Creature From Screw Lagoon, those were cobbled together from recordings of a "swan hissing" as well as "cooing pigeons."
Adding that human touch is the sound of the director himself. While on set, supervising sound editor Nathan Robitaille noticed that del Toro had "raspy breathing patterns" which added "the most beautiful texture." The sound crew began "harvesting" del Toro's sounds between takes, which they later used for the breathing of the creature -- presumably because there were no pervy phone call scenes in the script.
Stanley Kubrick Shows Up on a Magazine Cover in 2010: The Year We Make Contact
Stanley Kubrick wasn't one for self-aggrandizing cameos. He never showed up as an eccentric gas station attendant Jack Torrance meets while en route to the Overlook Hotel, for example. The biggest role Kubrick ever gave himself was Murphy in Full Metal Jacket, who was literally just a dude on a walkie talkie.
But this didn't stop other people from shoehorning Kubrick's image into their movies. Kubrick's classic 2001: a Space Odyssey was sequelized in 1984 with 2010: the Year We Make Contact, based on the wacky novel by Arthur C. Clarke. In an effort to honor Kubrick, while explaining all the stuff he clearly didn't want explained in the original, the filmmakers included an illustration of Kubrick's face, alongside Clarke's, on a Time Magazine cover.
Seemingly Clarke is the President of the United States. while Kubrick is meant to represent the head of the Soviet Union, which apparently everyone in the early '80s thought was still going to be a thing well into the 21st century. Now we're wondering why Doctor Sleep didn't similarly throw Kubrick on the cover of an old copy of Playgirl.
Wes Craven Played Freddy Krueger in Scream
The Scream films are full of random celebrity cameos, from Tori Spelling to Kevin Smith to Carrie Fisher, who played a failed actress who looks exactly like Carrie Fisher (but lost the role of Princess Leia because she wouldn't have sex with George Lucas). Legendary horror director Wes Craven has a cameo in each of the sequels, but his appearance in the first Scream is truly the weirdest. Craven plays "Fred" a high-school janitor who's dressed exactly like Freddy Krueger from Craven's A Nightmare on Elm Street, down to the dirty fedora and unnecessarily Christmas-y sweater.
So does this movie take place in the Elm Street-verse, but in an alternate reality where Freddy wasn't burned to death? No, because earlier in Scream, Freddy Krueger and the movie A Nightmare on Elm Street are explicitly referenced. So who's this guy? Is he a horror fan who's cosplaying? Surely the school frowns upon their employees dressing like famous fictional pedophiles who murdered schoolchildren.
James Cameron was the Voice of the Alien Queen From Aliens
Acclaimed director/Smurf fetishist James Cameron famously appeared in his beloved Titanic as the hands of Jack Dawson while he sketches Rose. Yes, the guy in charge of the entire production decided that he would be better suited in a role sketching a beautiful naked woman than, say, cameoing as the dude who ping pongs off a giant propeller and plummets to his death. Well it turns out that Cameron's hands-on approach led to some even more random cameos.
While he usually reserves his voice for yelling at crew members like a sugar-fueled toddler, Cameron actually created some of the iconic sounds we hear in his movies. Not only was he the voice of the T-1000 when it melted Wicked Witch of the West-style at the end of Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Cameron was also the voice of the friggin' Alien Queen from Aliens. Yes, the gigantic egg-laying Xenomorph was voiced by the same dude who made one of the most awkward acceptance speeches in Oscar history.
According to sound designer Gary Rydstrom, the original plan was to create the Alien Queen sounds using "dry ice blending in with monkey screams" possibly pulled from an unaired episode of Bill Nye the Science Guy. Cameron wasn't a fan, so instead he just "recorded himself squealing," a fact he seems quite proud of -- possibly because it's the only time Cameron's screaming at actors was actually called for.
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Top Image: Universal Pictures