From George RR Martin to Sly Stallone: Our Favorite Creator Cameos

March 22, 2013
Source: Matthew Simmons/Contributor/WireImage/Getty Images

This week it was reported that George RR Martin, creator and author of the Game of Thrones series of books, will make a cameo in season three of the HBO series. Then, not even twenty-four hours later, it was announced that comic scribe Mark Millar and artist John Romita, Jr. will appear in the film adaptation of the comic they wrote, Kick-Ass 2.

Both are cool little nuggets, but these kinds of cameos are hardly a new trend. Creators have been showing up in the works they wrote, produced, and/or inspired for decades. Sometimes these cameos are obvious, but other times they're subtle.

Here are a few of the more interesting creator cameos from film and television over the years.

Stan Lee in, like, every Marvel film

Stan "The Man" Lee, one of the guys at the forefront of Marvel's reinvention of the super-hero genre in the 1960s, appears in almost every single film based on a Marvel comic. Usually it's to deliver a one-liner or to serve as a visual gag. But in the 2005 film version of "Fantastic Four" he shows up as beloved side character from the comics, Willie Lumpkin, who delivers mail to the Baxter Building. While not his own work, he also makes a cameo in Kevin Smith's "Mallrats" as himself, acting as a deus ex machine and sage advisor for the main character while alternately tolerating Jason Lee's absurd and gross line of questioning about super-hero anatomy.

The real Hunter S. Thompson in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas"

Source: Universal Pictures

The central character of the book and subsequent movie, Raul Duke, is basically a stand-in for Thompson himself. In the film, Duke flashes back to his first acid trip and sees the real Hunter S. Thompson playing cards. Rather than just walk by, the character acknowledges that he's seeing himself and freaks out.

Alfred Hitchock in all his films

Hitchcock inserted himself into all of his films, an act he compared to an artist signing his painting. Sometimes he could be clearly seen on-screen, but other times it was so subtle that it was nearly impossible to catch on first viewing. In "Lifeboat," for instance, his face appears only briefly in a newspaper advertisement.

Charles Bukowski in "Barfly"

Source: Cannon Film Distributors

The 1987 film penned by the controversial writer and poet featured a cameo of the man himself in the scene where the main character, Henry (Bukowski's counterpart), first meets his primary love interest Wanda. Bukowski based much of the story on his own experiences while living in Los Angeles.

Martin Scorcese and Quentin Tarantino

In what may be a nod to Hitchock (whom both cite as an influence), directors Scorcese and Tarantino have a habit of giving themselves roles in their own films. Unlike Hitchock, however, they are often speaking roles and in Tarantino's case help drive the film's plot (or plots, plural, as is the case with "Pulp Fiction").

Peter Jackson in "Lord of the Rings" and "Dead Alive"

Source: Trimark Pictures

Peter Jackson, on the other hand, has more traditional "blink and you'll miss him" cameos in his own films. He shows up eating a carrot in "Fellowship of the Ring," throws a spear at an orc during the Battle of Helms Deep in "The Two Towers," and switches sides (and is subsequently killed) during a battle sequence in "Return of the King." He also appears in his cult classic gorefest "Dead Alive" as a mortician's assistant.

J. Michael Straczynski in "Babylon 5"

In one of the cooler and more meaningful creator cameos, "Babylon 5" creator and writer J. Michael Straczynski appears in the finale to turn the station's lights off. Saying anything else would probably spoil this grand epic.

Larry David in "Seinfeld"

Source: Matthew Simmons/Contributor/WireImage/Getty Images

One could hardly qualify his turn in "Curb Your Enthusiasm" as a cameo since it's, you know, all about him. But before "Curb" there was "Seinfeld," which he co-created with Jerry Seinfeld. He played a cape-wearing lawyer meeting with George's father, but his most memorable role may be as the voice of George's eventual boss at the New York Yankees, George Steinbrenner. Steinbrenner was actually signed on to play himself, but the idea was scrapped because his performance was…well, let's be nice and just say it wasn't up to the kind of high standards he held his players to.

By the way…our sister station TV Land recently started airing Curb Your Enthusiasm. You can catch full episodes at TV PRETTYYYYYY PRETTYYYYYYYYY PRETYYYYYYY GOOD, if we do say so ourselves.

Sylvester Stallone in "Staying Alive"

This sequel to "Saturday Night Fever," written and directed by Stallone, followed its hero Tony Manero (played by John Travolta) out of the disco and into the exciting world of interpretive dance. It worked about as well as you'd expect for a movie about Tony Manero doing interpretive dance. Perhaps the highlight of the film came when Travolta was strutting down the street and literally bumped into Stallone, who for some reason was dressed like a cartoon pimp.


Bruce Campbell in "Darkman"

Source: Rosebud Releasing/Anchor Bay Entertainment

Campbell was a frequent collaborator and friend to the movie's director, Sam Raimi. Raimi actually wanted him to play the main role, but the studio insisted instead on Liam Neeson. As much as we love Bruce, in hindsight it was the right call to make. Thankfully, he still makes an appearance as the last disguise worn by Darkman.

Majel Barrett-Roddenberry in the various "Star Trek" series

Series creator Gene Roddenberry's wife Majel was an accomplished actress and producer herself. She appeared in the original pilot as the original (unnamed) second-in-command under the original main character, Captain Pike, before the entire show was overhauled and Kirk took the helm. She appears in later episodes as a nurse infatuated with Spock. She would later become the focal point in episodes of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "Deep Space Nine" as Luxwana Troi, the mother of main character Deanna Troi and a love interest of DS9's chief security officer, Odo. Her most famous role was as another non-human…or make that a non-entity. She provided the voice of the computer for all the series up to and including "Star Trek: Voyager," as well as the vast majority of the films.

Sam Raimi's car in the "Evil Dead" series and subsequent films

Source: Rosebud Releasing/Anchor Bay Entertainment

When Sam Raimi is directing, you can count on seeing two things at some point: Bruce Campbell and Raimi's classic 1973 Oldsmobile. It makes an appearance in all of the "Evil Dead" films, including the new one that comes out April 5th. It also appears in Raimi's first "Spider-Man" film as Uncle Ben's car.

Did we miss any obvious ones? Yell at us in the comments!

And speaking of Evil Dead, check out the extended interview our own Katie Linendoll did with director Fede Alvarez, Bruce Campbell, and the cast of the new Evil Dead! The epic, critically acclaimed gorefest comes out April 5th.

SXSW 2013: Evil Dead Extended Cast Interview
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