Posts Tagged ‘cameos’

Is that Alfred Hitchcock in a dress? In Focus by Richard Crouse METRO CANADA May 07, 2010

birds-hitchcock-cameoIron Man 2 director Jon Favreau says the reason he cast himself in the role of Tony Stark’s bodyguard Happy Hogan is “me being selfish and me wanting to be an actor in it.”

One of his cast mates, however, thinks there might be an alternate reason. Gwyneth Paltrow, who plays Pepper Potts for the second time around in this weekend’s Iron Man sequel, wonders if Favreau has a secret crush on her. You see, in the comic book series the film is based on, Hogan and Potts become a romantic item.

“He marries this character in the comic book,” she says, “so you never know. We’ll see! If he wants to make out…”

Whatever the reason, many directors make a regular habit of placing themselves in their movies.

Alfred Hitchcock honed the art of the cameo to a science, turning up in 41 of his films.

Usually his appearances were limited to a quick hit, sometimes just as a silhouette, often as a face in the crowd, but a careful study of his films reveals the clever ways he inserted himself into the story.

The strangest cameo is one that may never have happened. In North by Northwest, Hitch can be seen missing a bus during the opening credits but fans claim there is a second cameo later in the film.

Forty-four minutes in, there is a scene with a woman in a dress speaking to the police on a train, a woman rumoured to be the director in drag.

Hitchcock was so well known for his sneaky appearances in films he even made one following his death. In Psycho II, made three years after his passing, his famous silhouette can be seen in shadow just outside of Mother’s bedroom.

The portly British director had the art of the cameo down to a science, but he’s not the only one. The usually reclusive Terrence Malick plays an unexpected visitor a thet door, credited as Caller at Rich Man’s House in his masterpiece, Badlands, and Oliver Stone can be glimpsed as the officer with a phone at the U.S. base’s bunker when it is blown up in Platoon.

One of the most memorable but unrecognizable director cameos comes in Alien. When John Hurt looks into a transparent egg, the facehugger was “played” by director Ridley Scott’s gloved hands.

From stage to screen RICHARD CROUSE FOR METRO CANADA September 16, 2009

72Suck_AliceCooperSuck, the new film from Canadian director Rob Stefaniuk, honours two age-old movie traditions. It’s a vampire flick that pays homage to every cinematic bloodsucker from Bella to Edward Cullen and beyond, and it features musicians in acting roles. Rock legends Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, Moby and Henry Rollins appear in cameos.

Since sound first merged with the flickering image, musicians have traded in their instruments for a shot at big-screen fame. Some have succeeded memorably — Sinatra took home an Oscar for From Here to Eternity — while others have floundered — I’m looking at you Madonna!

Perhaps one of the most surprising performances at this year’s TIFF comes from someone most critics had written off as a person who should stick to singing or anything that doesn’t involve acting. Mariah Carey’s work in Glitter was a career killer; a performance so bad one critic wrote it made her “physically uncomfortable” to watch Mariah on the screen. At this year’s fest, however, she’s redeemed herself with a decidedly non-glittery role in the gritty drama Precious. It’s a powerful performance that is being mentioned in the same breath as Oscar.

If Mariah earns an Academy Award nod, she’ll join the exclusive club of musicians who successfully traverse the gap between music and movies.

Courtney Love didn’t make it to the Oscar stage, but she was nominated for a Golden Globe for playing Althea Leasure Flynt in The People vs. Larry Flynt. The role of a drug-addicted hedonist may not have been much of a stretch for Love, but she brought depth and interest to a character who could have been a walking cliché.

Eminem did win an Oscar, but not for his acting. He took home a best original song trophy, but most critics agreed that his take on a poor white Detroit kid using rap to improve his life was better than average. His “roughed-up urban ghetto impression of James Dean” bagged him an MTV Award, but since then he has shied away from Hollywood (except for a brief cameo in Funny People) because he doesn’t “choose to rub elbows with the whole Hollywood scene.”

Many musicians have been sucked in and spit out by the Hollywood scene, but others, like David Bowie, Tom Waits (who appears in TIFF’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus) and Dwight Yoakam, show that some musicians have staying power on the big screen.