The best (and some of the worst) TV and film cameos

Prince Charles is rumoured to be appearing in 'Bond 25'. Here are some classic cameos for him to aspire to, and some to avoid

IVER HEATH, ENGLAND - JUNE 20: Britain's Prince Charles (L), Prince of Wales meets British actor Daniel Craig as he tours the set of the 25th James Bond Film at Pinewood Studios on June 20, 2019 in Iver Heath, England.  The Prince of Wales, Patron, The British Film Institute and Royal Patron, the Intelligence Services toured the set of the 25th James Bond Film to celebrate the contribution the franchise has made to the British film industry. (Photo by Niklas Halle'n - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
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The British press has been alight with rumours that Prince Charles is set to take a cameo role in the forthcoming Bond 25. Discussions reportedly began after he was given a tour of the film's Pinewood set by Bond actor Daniel Craig in June. Nothing is signed yet, though if it happens, he wouldn't be the first royal to appear alongside Bond.

The Queen famously played briefly alongside Craig in Danny Boyle’s London Olympics 2012 opening ceremony. Charles is patron of the British Film Institute, so perhaps his contacts there will do the necessary persuading, or perhaps the prince will simply feel it is his royal duty to bring some much-needed foreign currency into the UK’s depleted coffers due to the pound’s ongoing collapse amid the chaos of Brexit.

Whether Charles appears or not in the movie, the celebrity cameo is nothing new. Here are some of our favourites, and not so favourites, from over the years.

Stan Lee – every Marvel film, and more

You couldn't really make a list of favourite movie cameos without writing Stan Lee's name at the very top. From every Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, to non-MCU Marvel films like Sam Raimi's Amazing Spiderman and Josh Trunk's The Fantastic Four, and even totally unrelated films such as comic geek Kevin Smith's Mall Rats, in which Lee plays himself offering romantic advice to Jason (unrelated) Lee's Brodie, the Marvel legend is everywhere. We've gone for Dr Strange as our top pick, purely for the cheeky postmodern gag of Lee playing a bus passenger, laughing as he reads Aldous Huxley's Doors of Perception, essentially saying Huxley's philosophical treatise on interdimensional travel is nonsense, just as Dr Strange smashes into the bus window beside him from another dimension.

Charlton Heston – 'Wayne’s World II'

There was a time in the '90s when Mike Myers was one of Hollywood's hottest properties thanks to his Wayne's World and Austin Powers franchises. The two Wayne's World films in particular were no stranger to cameos, with Alice Cooper, Heather Locklear and the whole of Aerosmith among the familiar faces to pop up as themselves. The greatest cameo moment surely came in the second film, however. Myers' Wayne breaks the fourth wall to complain to the director about the quality of the acting of a garage attendant he has asked for directions, and a crew member quickly slips in shot to whisk the bad actor away and replace him with the Oscar-winning Ben Hur legend, who delivers the directions as if they're a Shakespeare soliloquy, leaving Wayne in tears as he heads on his way. Comedy genius.

David Bowie – 'Zoolander'

Like Wayne's World, there's no shortage of cameos in Ben Stiller's male model comedy Zoolander, with Victoria Beckham, Paris Hilton and Winona Ryder among the celebs sending themselves up in the film. Special mention goes to David Bowie though, a giant among giants on the impressive cast list. Stiller clearly knows what a big deal the rock legend is – when Bowie volunteers to judge a walk off between Stiller's Zoolander and his rival, the director freezes the screen and plasters the star's name across the screen, just in case anyone missed the enormity of the cameo they're witnessing.

Bill Murray – 'Zombieland'

Bill Murray plays himself, made up as a zombie to "blend in" with the encroaching apocalyptic hoards in Ruben Fleischer's horror comedy. After a spot of fan worship from Woody Harrelson, reenacting a scene from Ghostbusters with Harrelson and Emma Stone, and discussing Stone's observation that zombie Bill Murray bears a striking resemblance to Eddie Van Halen, Murray's role is cut short when he plays a practical joke on Jesse Eisenberg, who doesn't know he's only wearing makeup and (spoiler alert) shoots him, leaving time only for a deathbed confession that appearing in Garfield is Murray's one regret.

Cate Blanchett – 'Hot Fuzz'

You could be forgiven for not realising Cate Blanchett is even in Hot Fuzz, given that she spends her entire sub-two-minute, uncredited appearance as a police forensics officer in an all-covering plastic forensics suit, face mask and goggles, but there's some great one-liners squeezed into her brief appearance as Simon Pegg's ex-girlfriend, as well as a brilliant visual gag pay off around the identity of her new beau.

Brad Pitt in 'Deadpool 2'

A real blink and you'll miss it appearance from Brad Pitt in the second film in Ryan Reynold's pet Deadpool project. The A-lister plays superhero The Vanisher, who spends his entire brief appearance invisible and silent until he gets blown into electrical wires on his doomed first mission, nulling his powers of invisibility for around a one-second shot of Pitt being electrocuted. Cameo completists can also spot an equally brief Stan Lee appearance just a few minutes later, almost the entire cast of X-Men sneakily closing a door to avoid having to speak to Deadpool when he is recovering in the X-Men's mansion, a digitally altered Ryan Reynold's voicing Juggernaut, and a heavily made-up Matt Damon as a swiftly eliminated redneck.

Samuel L Jackson in 'Iron Man'

It seems ridiculous to talk about Samuel L Jackson in an MCU movie cameo given Nick Fury’s central role in the series, but cast your mind back to the movie that started it all off back in 2008. There was no Nick Fury, and no Avengers, in that film. At least, not unless you stuck around for the now traditional post-credits scene, when Fury drops in at Tony Stark’s mansion to “talk to him about the Avengers Initiative.” With that, a universe was born.

Christopher Walken in 'Pulp Fiction'

For our final two cameos, we're turning to appearances that it's easy to forget were just cameos, since both stand out as key moments in the respective films they appeared in. Christopher Walken's appearance in Pulp Fiction, delivering a gold watch belonging to a young Butch's late father, lasts just four minutes, but delivers a full movie's worth of emotion, weirdness and humour in a manner that Walken has made his own over the years. Just don't ask him to look after your watch.

Alec Baldwin – 'Glengarry Glen Ross'

Alex Baldwin manages a little more screen time than Walken did in Pulp Fiction in his role as a hard-nosed sales manager in James Foley and David Mamet's adaptation of Mamet's stage play. His speech clocks in around the five-minute mark, but in the process sets the tone for the entire movie, and stands out at the end of the film as one of its defining moments. We never see Baldwin again, but although it was Al Pacino and Jack Lemmon that picked up awards nominations, it's easy to recall Baldwin as one of the movie's leads, despite his brief performance. We're showing a censored version here as the film was notably profanity-laden – so much so that co-star Ed Harris joked that the cast had labelled it "Death of an [expletive] Salesman."

And the worst...

Not all cameos are things of great joy, alas. Sometimes a miscast celeb can utterly ruin an entire scene. Here’s a couple of our tip picks of cameos that might have been better handled by a casting director, rather than the desire to drop a big name onto the cast list.

David Beckham – 'King Arthur: Legend of the Sword'

David Beckham is many things. Supremely talented footballer, underwear model, half of one of the biggest celebrity couplings of the last few decades. What he is not, however, is an actor. And he is definitely not an actor that is suited to play a medieval version of a typical Guy Ritchie cockney hard man. His squeaky voice and wooden delivery render him about as threatening as candy floss. You can’t help thinking that if Ritchie so badly needed a cockney-accented ex-footballer for the role, he’d have been better off digging out his old mate Vinnie Jones’ number.

Ed Sheeran – 'Game of Thrones'

We know, Game of Thrones isn't a movie, it's a TV show, but as home of perhaps the most cringe-inducing cameo in the history of big or small screen history, we're giving this a dishonourable mention. Plenty of fans complained about the show's grand finale, but in reality this cameo is surely the worst crime ever committed by GoT's creators. Sheeran sings a song with his soldier buddies, utters his two lines, totalling nine-words, blankly, then sits looking awkward waiting for the scene to end for the rest of his four-minute spot. It's painful to watch, especially after poor Arya has already been through so much in her short life.

Guns N’ Roses - 'The Dead Pool'

There's nothing overtly wrong with Guns N' Roses performance in this Dirty Harry sequel, because they basically don't have one. They're just standing among a crowd of funeral mourners for a couple of minutes. But I remember a teenage me seeing the film in the cinema at the time and simply wondering why my favourite band of the time were there. They're given no lines, there's no hint in the script that they were friends of the deceased. If you're going to put the biggest rock band of the era in your scene, at least give them a line, or a reason to be there - put them on stage in a dingey club Harry is investigating maybe? But no, they just flit briefly into shot before Clint Eastwood wanders off interrogating a young Liam Neeson. Not necessarily the worst cameo ever, but surely the most incongruous. And Slash even keeps his top hat on...