In Hollywood, it’s all about the leading role. The actor who gets top billing and is featured prominently in the trailers and posters. But sometimes, the best performances come from the supporting cast, the actors in smaller roles who flesh out the story and provide comic relief or a shoulder to cry on.
We have two things happening here:
1. Actors who are not A-listers taking on small roles
2. A-List actors doing cameos
What is a cameo?
A cameo is a short appearance by an actor in a film or television show. Usually, the actor has a small role and appears for only a few minutes. In some cases, the actor may appear in just one scene.
Cameos are often used to add humor to a film or TV show. For example, an actor who is known for playing serious roles might make a cameo appearance as a clown. Or, an actor who is known for action movies might make a cameo appearance in a romantic comedy.
Cameos can also be used to surprise viewers. For example, an actor who is known for playing good guys might make a cameo appearance as a villain. Or, an actress who is known for her work in drama might make a cameo appearance in an action movie.
Actors who are not A-listers taking on small roles
There’s no shame in taking a small role. In fact, it can be quite beneficial to an actor’s career. Here are a few reasons why:
1. It can help an actor get their foot in the door. A small role is a great way to start working with a new director or studio.
2. It can help an actor hone their craft. Even the smallest roles require actors to prepare and rehearse. This is a great opportunity to practice your craft and improve your skills.
3. It can help an actor build their resume. Every role, no matter how small, is an opportunity to add another credit to your resume. This can be helpful when seeking out larger roles in the future.
There are many factors to consider when deciding whether or not an actor should take a small role. The most important factor is the actor’s career goals. If an actor is just starting out, taking a small role may be a good idea in order to get experience and build their resume. However, if an actor is more established, they may want to avoid taking small roles as it could be seen as a step back in their career. Another factor to consider is the pay. Small roles often come with smaller paychecks, so actors need to decide if the money is worth it. Finally, the actor should think about the time commitment required for the role. A small role might only require a few days of filming, while a larger role could take weeks or even months. Actors need to decide if they have the time to commit to a small role before accepting it.
That last line sounds ironic to me… “Actors need to decide if they have the time to commit to a small role before accepting it.” Usually actors would have to think about committing to a large role due to time restraints. Back to the topic at hand!
A-List actors doing cameos
In a world of blockbuster films and huge movie franchises, it’s easy to forget the cameos. But there are some actors who have taken small roles and made them unforgettable. We’ve seen more and more A-list celebrities taking on smaller roles in films and television. Whether it’s a brief cameo or a supporting role, these actors are using their star power to elevate the projects they’re involved in.
It’s not just about lending their name to a project — these actors are often using their smaller roles to take on new challenges and stretch themselves creatively. For example, Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o took on a voice role in the animated film The Jungle Book. And she’s not the only one — other big names like Emma Stone, Jennifer Lopez and Seth Rogen have all taken on voice roles in recent years.
Paul Rudd in Ghostbusters: Afterlife
One of those actors is Paul Rudd. You might know him as Scott Lang in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but he’s also made cameos in some of your favorite comedies. In Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Rudd played Brian Fantana, a news anchor with a love for cats and cologne. He brought his signature dry wit to the role, and even though it was a small part, it’s one that fans remember.
Another actor who knows how to make a cameo is Danny DeVito. He’s appeared in everything from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia to Batman Returns.
Drew Barrymore played a small role in Scream, but she made a big impression. She was only in the movie for a few minutes, but her performance was memorable.
Now, what kind of film and television fan would I be if I didn’t mention (take a quick second to guess who). Second is over! What did you mean you didn’t guess who…?
Stanley Tucci in Captain America: The First Avenger. Copyright Paramount Pictures
One of the most prolific actors when it comes to cameos is Stanley Tucci. He has appeared in over 30 films and television shows in a variety of different roles. Some of his most memorable cameos include his appearances in The Hunger Games, Captain America: The First Avenger, and The Office.
While it may be surprising to see such big stars taking on such small roles, it’s actually a smart career move.
But why? This is likely due to a combination of factors, including the growth of streaming services and the increased popularity of independent films. Whatever the reason, it’s clear that these actors are willing to take on roles that are less significant both in terms of screen time and pay.
One of the most hilarious cameo I’ve ever seen is in the movie The Holiday starring Kate Winslet and Jack Black. They’re in a video store talking about The Graduate (which starts Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft) and you see Dustin Hoffman browsing DVDs in the background! Ha!
Respect the small role
Respecting the small role is not easy. It requires a certain level of humility and grace that not all actors possess. However, those who do respect the small role understand that even the smallest part can make a big impact.