In Seth Rogen‘s directorial debut This Is the End, a number of well known actors (playing themselves) attend an opulent shindig at James Franco‘s house when the apocalypse brings the party to a grinding halt. Faced with demons and newly murderous celebrities roaming the streets of Los Angeles, Rogen and Franco barricade the doors along with Jonah Hill and Danny McBride. It’s all fun and games to start with but eventually, their various egos will get the better of them.
Featuring cameo appearances from dozens of well-known celebrities, This Is the End has inspired us to compile this list of our 13 favourite film performances by actors playing themselves!
1. Neil Patrick Harris – Harold and Kumar
This is the role that transformed Neil Patrick Harris from being a former child actor and Broadway hoofer into a full-blown Hollywood star. After his second appearance as the skirt-chasing ‘Neil Patrick Harris’ in the Harold & Kumar series, he went public as a gay man. So when it came time for NPH’s re-appearance in the third film, they had some serious ‘splaining to do!
2. Bruce Willis – Ocean’s Twelve & What Just Happened
We all remember that part in Ocean’s Twelve where Julia Roberts’ character pretends to be Julia Roberts in order to con the actual Bruce Willis, right?. You may not, however, remember Willis’ fun cameo as the ranting prima donna ‘Bruce Willis’ in What Just Happened. Based on a true Hollywood memoir by producer Art Linson, there’s a scene in which the main character (Robert De Niro) tries to convince a massive star to alter his look for a project.
This incident was based entirely on an experience Linson had with actor Alec Baldwin, who allegedly refused to shave his beard off for his role in The Edge.
3 & 4. Ben Affleck & Matt Damon – Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
This doesn’t quite rank with the funniest scene Kevin Smith has ever written. In fact, it’s an embarrassing little riff on Matt Damon and Ben Affleck’s finest moment. On the upside, though, we do get to see director Gus Van Sant on-screen for once!
5. Al Pacino – Jack and Jill
It’s accepted that Jack and Jill was a terrible movie. Adam Sandler plays a pair of twins: one’s a curmudgeonly advertising executive, the other one a fart-prone woman! However, the one redeeming feature of the film comes in the form of Al Pacino playing a lusty, eccentric version of himself! As you might expect, it’s not long before Pacino claps eyes on Jill and goes about getting his wicked way with her. Hoo-hah!
6. Bill Murray – Space Jam & Zombieland
The king of the comic deus ex machina, Bill Murray rocks up at the third act to save the day in both of these films! In Space Jam, he’s the much-needed fifth man in Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny’s last-minute comeback; in Zombieland he provides enough Bill Murray to turn a good film into a great one!
7. Sam Jones – Ted
Mark Wahlberg knows he’s got to spend less time messing around with his friends and pay more attention to girlfriend Mila Kunis. But when presented with the opportunity to party with Sam Jones a.k.a. Flash Gordon a.k.a. Saviour of the Universe, how could he say no?
8. & 9. Steve Coogan & Alfred Molina – Coffee and Cigarettes
After perennially popular Alan Partridge, the most successful character in Steve Coogan’s comedy arsenal is that of ‘Steve Coogan’: self-absorbed actor. He’s reared his ugly head in a number of projects including A Cock and Bull Story and BBC’s The Trip — but he’s never been better than in Jim Jarmusch’s short anthology, Coffee and Cigarettes. In one of the film’s best vignettes, Coogan meets up with actor Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2), who claims to have found evidence to suggest they’re distantly related. Coogan is seemingly more concerned about his Hollywood career however, and is less than excited about the discovery.
10. & 11. Ray Romano & Eminem — Funny People (clip contains swearing)
Adam Sandler plays George Simmons, a famous film star who looks and sounds a lot like Adam Sandler. When he’s given only months to live, he starts to consider his own mortality with the help of his celebrity friends, who are allowed to keep their real names for some reason.
This Is the End is now available to buy on early digital release at blinkbox