Cameo appearances are designed to give audiences special little surprises. But sometimes they are so small, viewers can miss them entirely if they're not paying close attention. Here are 12 blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameos.
1. Richard Branson in 'Casino Royale'
When James Bond arrives at Miami International Airport, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson can be seen at airport security. Branson is a big fan of the Bond franchise and had always wanted to be in one of the films. He supplied a few Virgin Atlantic airplanes for Casino Royale's production in Prague, so its co-producer Barbara Broccoli asked him to be in the film as a thank-you.
2. George Harrison in 'Monty Python's Life of Brian'
In 1979, George Harrison co-produced Monty Python's Life of Brian. The British comedy group couldn't finance their second feature film, so longtime fan George Harrison put up his own money and started a production company expressly to fund it. Life of Brian was the first film by Harrison's Handmade Films, as the ex-Beatle also appeared very briefly in a uncredited role (seen above).
3. Chris Isaak in 'The Silence of the Lambs'
During Hannibal Lector's thrilling escape from police custody, recording artist Chris Isaak makes a cameo appearance as a SWAT team commander in Jonathan Demme's The Silence of the Lambs. Demme is a big fan of Chris Isaak's music and tries to cast him in small roles in many of his movies, such as Married to the Mob.
4. Cameron Crowe in 'Minority Report'
During Captain John Anderton's (Tom Cruise) thrilling escape from police, director Cameron Crowe can be spotted as a man reading a newspaper on the subway. Apparently, Cameron Diaz and Paul Thomas Anderson are also passengers on the subway train, but their cameos didn't make the final cut.
5. Lloyd Kaufman in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
Director James Gunn cast his mentor Lloyd Kaufman, the president and founder of Troma Entertainment, in a small role as a prison inmate in Guardians of the Galaxy. Kaufman can be seen when Star-Lord, Gamora, Rocket, and Groot first arrive in the Kyln space prison.
6. Chris Martin in 'Shaun of the Dead'
Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland from Coldplay make a brief cameo appearance at the tail end of Shaun of the Dead, but Martin also plays a decaying zombie in the comedy's climax outside of the Winchester pub.
See Also: 11 Disney Character Cameos in Other Disney Movies
7. Ron Jeremy in Ghostbusters
Adult film star Ron Jeremy has an uncredited role as "Man Behind Barricade" in Ghostbusters. He appears about an hour into the movie and can be seen in a crowd of people looking up after the containment unit explosion at Ghostbusters HQ.
8. Glenn Close in Hook
Before she earned an Academy Award nomination in Albert Nobbs, Glenn Close played Gutless the pirate in Steven Spielberg's 1991 film Hook. Gutless is the bearded pirate that Captain Hook punishes with a stay in the "boo box."
9. Peter Jackson in Hot Fuzz
Jackson was a big fan of Shaun of the Dead and invited Edgar Wright to New Zealand to hang out on the set of King Kong. While on set, Wright told Jackson about Hot Fuzz and the Lord of the Rings director jumped at the chance of making a cameo. During Nicolas Angel's career highlights montage, Jackson makes a cameo appearance as the man dressed as Father Christmas who stabbed Angel's hand.
10. Cate Blanchett in Hot Fuzz
At the very beginning, Cate Blanchett plays an uncredited role as Janine, Nicolas Angel's forensic scientist ex-girlfriend. Most of Blanchett's face and head were covered beneath protective goggles and a face mask, but her voice is clear and distinct. She wanted to be in the film because she was a big fan of Edgar Wright's previous movie Shaun of the Dead.
See Also: 25 Movie Cameos by the Authors of the Original Books
11. Ian Brown in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Ian Brown from the Britpop band The Stone Roses made a very brief cameo appearance in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. He played a wizard reading Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time in the Leaky Cauldron pub. Alfonso Cuarón asked if the British rock star wanted to be in the movie and Brown agreed when his son expressed an interest in visiting the set.
12. Spike Jonze in The Game
At the end of The Game, Spike Jonze plays one of the paramedics who helps Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas) after he falls through a hotel's glass skylight. The Game's director David Fincher and Jonze are good friends and both got started in filmmaking through the music video industry.