Since music videos came to be popular with the rise of MTV in the 1980s, celebrity cameos in music film clips have been a given. In recent years, some unlikely stars have agreed to partake the visual accompaniment for many songs. From Courtney Cox in the 80s to Shia LeBeouf earlier this year, we take a look at some of the best celebrity cameos in music videos.
Whoopi Goldberg, John Travolta, Eddie Murphy and more in Michael Jackson’s ‘Liberian Girl’ With more than 13 celebrities can be spotted in this video, as well as a bunch that no one would recognise today. ;Liberian Girl', a song which begins with Swahili language, and evolves into a song about a (wait for it) Liberian Girl, was dedicated to longtime friend, Elizabeth Taylor, ironically the only celebrity not featured in this clip. Paula Abdul, Whoopi Goldberg, Steven Spielberg, and even Lando Calrission (or Billy Dee Williams) all feature in the clip. But what really makes this one is the appearance of Weird Al Yankovic being mistaken for Michael, and of course catching John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John rehearsing lines for Grease.
Arj Barker in DZ Deathrays’ ‘No Sleep’ One of this year’s most talked about bands DZ Deathrays released 'No Sleep' in March, with Arj Barker making a cameo, or rather dominating this clip. He can’t play instruments, he can’t sing, but damn it can this guy mime! And boy do the band put things at ease when they come and sit next to him, in turns, awkwardly. ...It’s an awkward clip.
Nicole Kidman in Pat Wilson’s ‘Bop Girl’ You may not have liked her dress at the Emmy awards this week, but one thing’s for sure, it’s better than what she’s wearing here. A young Nicole Kidman makes a career highlight in Pat Wilson’s “Bop Girl”, where she mostly puffs a cigarette, and bops along in a drab bridesmaid’s dress. If you wondered how she won an Oscar back in 2003, this video ceases to help with the answer.
Matthew Mcconaughey in Butch Walker And The Widows’ ‘Synthesizers’ If Matthew McConaughey is one thing, it’s a good sport. If Matthew McConaughey is two things, he’s a good sport, and a terrible actor. Here’s a guy that’s capable of playing the same role in everything he’s in. Walks the same, looks the same, and even in a music video where he’s miming to the vocals, he sounds the same. In Butch Walker’s “Synthersizers”, we are granted a look into what life would be like today, if McConaughey was still playing the same character as he did in Dazed And Confused. Oh wait, isn’t that every one of his movies?
Jake Gyllenhaal in The Shoes’ ‘Time to Dance’ He’s an actor who has always balanced his ability to be both sexy and creepy, and this video continues in that same vein. Jake Gyllenhaal is the protagonist of this slasher music video for The Shoes’ “Time To Dance”. In what has clearly been heavily influenced by the style of American Psycho, Gyllenhaal slashes his co-stars, then gets back to day-to-day life, then slashes some more. It’s pretty cool.
Jason Alexander in Nickelback’s ‘Trying Not To Love You’ Comedians In Cars Making Coffee...with Nickelback? Before you make any assumptions, yes this is a terrible music video. After earning the respect of many with his anti-gun rant on Twitter, the Seinfeld actor quickly flushed his kudos down the drain with a job that we only hope paid a lot. It’s gotten over 12 thousand likes on YouTube, yet I haven’t run into a single person willing to say so out loud. Perhaps I’m hanging out with the wrong crowd?
Scarlet Johansson in Bob Dylan’s ‘When The Deal Goes Down’ If Instagram were a film clip, this would be it. Scarlet Johansson is the center of this home-movie styled music video for Bob Dylan’s “When The Deal Goes Down”, and although she doesn’t sing in it, the actress seems completely content looking beautiful next to cars, lying on couches, and laughing on boats in the 70’s setting. The Rich Kids Of Video-Instagram anyone? ...No, but this is actually a lovely clip.
Angelina Jolie in The Rolling Stones’ ‘Anybody Seen My Baby' It's not so much the running down the street in lingerie part that we find a little perplexing. It's that Sir Mick does what anyone looking for their object of affection would do: randomly sing a question to the nearest subway attendant. There is also an old guy grabbing his boobs for some reason.
Zach Galifianakis in Kanye Wests- Can't Tell Me Nothing In 2007, Zach Galifianakis was still a jobbing stand-up working comedy clubs in LA. Despite this, his funnyman talents were making their presence felt online, with Kayne West’s personal trainer bringing the exceptionally bearded buffoon to Mr. West’s attention during a gym session
Jason Alexander/William Shatner/in Brad Paisleys - 'Online' Country star Brad Paisleys's video sees Seinfeld star Jason Alexander, aka George Costanza as a hapless pizza deliveryman with dreams of being a rock star. With cameo appearances by William Shatner and Alexander's on-screen-Seinfeld mother, Estelle Harris, as his parents, this video may be as close as we'll get to a Seinfeld reunion.
Robert Downey Jr. in Elton John's "I Want Love" Everyone's favourite bad boy, Rober Downey Jnr. teamed up with everyone's other favourite bad boy, Elton John for this lavish video clip. Not to be outdone by Downey Jnr himself, Sir Elton and his film clip's star ended up having a gentle macking session when Downey Jnr. presented John with a lifetime achievement award some months after the film clip aired.
Robin Williams in Bobby McFerrin's’ Don’t Worry, Be Happy ‘ The video in itself is fine and features a younger Williams being his crazy self. Really though,we just wanted to get this ear-ache stuck in your head again. You're welcome.
Sarah Michelle Gellar in The Stone Temple Pilots’ ‘Sour Girl The clip for 2000’s ‘Sour Girl’ features a gothic- looking Sarah Michelle Gellar dancing moodily with the always-shirtless lead singer of The Stone temple Pilots, Scott Weiland. The real trip though comes in that the mostly gothic landscape is punctuated by a series of Teletubby-like dancing puppets
Michael Cera in Islands' ‘No You Don't’ In this video for Canadian indie-rockers Islands' single 'No You Don't fellow Canadian and all round heartthrob Michael Cera seems to be experiencing a drug trip of the strangest kind. The clip is rife with multiplying limbs and rainbow visuals. We want what he's having.
Christopher Walken in Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice" It's debatable who has the most fun in this: director Spike Jonze and Fatboy Slim for getting Christopher Walken to dance throughout the whole song, Walken, a trained musical theater dancer who rarely gets to show off this particular talent, or the viewer, who once again can revel in Jonze's surrealistic, absurdist tendencies.
Seth Rogan, Elijah Wood, Danny McBride, John C Reilly, Will Ferrel & Jack Black in The Beastie Boys’ ‘Fight For Your Right Revisited’ Continuing the tale first told 25 years previously in the original ‘Fight For Your Right’ video, the Beasties' mini-movie sees the the hip hop crew break into a liquor store, drop acid with groupies and get into a breakdance competition with time-traveling future versions of themselves.
Natalie Portman in Devendra Banhart's -Carmensita Natalie Portman was returning a favour by appearing in this video – Devendra Banhart had recorded a song for her own charity album – but she’s clearly having a whole lot of fun in the singer-songwriter’s Bollywood homage which features Portman as the desirable female lead.
Macaulay Culkin in Sonic Youth’s ‘Sunday’ New York noise-rockers Sonic Youth only make fleeting appearances on camera, allowing the Uncle Buck star to smooch his then wife, Rachel Miner, take off a top hat in slow motion and blows kisses to no-one in particular.
Winona Ryder, Giovanni Ribisi & John C Reilly in Jon Spencer Blues Explosions’ ‘Talk About the Blues’ Giving themselves a break from playing instruments and singing and so on, bandmates Jon Spencer, Judah Bauer and Russell Simins act out a bizarre crime caper in this, the video for their first single off 1998’s ‘Acme’ LP.
Ron Howard, Forest Whitaker, Samuel L Jackson & Jake Gyllenhall in Jamie Foxx's ‘Blame It’ There are motley crews, then there’s Ron Howard, Forest Whitaker and Jake Gyllenhaal rocking up to Jamie Foxx’s vodka party. Also aided in his endeavour by the likes of Quincy Jones, Cedric the Entertainer, Morris Chestnut, Clifton Powell, Alex Thomas, DeRay Davis, Joe, Mos Def, Tatyana Ali, Jalen Rose, Bill Bellamy, Ashley Scott, Electrik Red, Dawn Richard, Keshia Knight Pulliam and LeToya.
Bruce Willis in The Gorillaz’ ‘Stylo’ Co-starring with Bruce Willis in this music video for the Gorillaz track 'Stylo' are the ever-present Noodle, 2-D and Murdoc. But not to be outdone by his animated co-stars, Willis does what he does best and kicks some serious ass in the clip.
Charlize Theron in Brandon Flowers ‘Crossfire ‘ Brandon Flowers tied up and bloody, Charlize Theron Tomb-Raider-ish and sexy. The Killers frontman has made the most of Theron’s talent in this video which features her exercising some swift sword wielding ability as she fends off masked ninjas to save the woman in distress, Flowers. It’s an engaging little action/love-story, and one thing’s for sure, these kids are way too cool for school. NINJA SCHOOL! I joke, I joke.
Adrien Brody in Tori Amos’ ‘A Sorta Fairtytale ‘ You may think Adrien Brody has a big nose, but it’s nothing compared his arm for a body in this Tory Amos music video. Brody has always come off as a little weird ever since he kissed Halle Berry at the Oscars, this video does little to dispel that sense of awkwardness. Although an arm for a body does suit him well. Can’t say that about many people.
Ben Stiller in Travis' ‘Closer’ No stranger to music videos Ben Stiller makes another appearance,this time doing his old pals Travis a solid with a day-long shoot on their LA-set video for ‘Closer’.
Paddy Considine in The Arctic Monkeys’ ‘Leave Before The Lights Come On’ This video, like Richard Ayoade’s film Submarine, marries the talents of Arctic Monkey's front man Alex Turner, who wrote the soundtrack to the film. and Irish actor Paddy Considine, who starred in the film.
Courtney Cox in Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Dancing In The Dark’ In Brian De Palma’s video for ‘Dancing In The Dark’ Bruce Springsteen plucks out an actress trained to deal with these kind of situations. Yup, that pixie-cropped 20 year-old is Courteney Cox.
Shia LeBeouf in Sigur Ros’ ‘Fjögur píanó’ Unveiled as part of the Icelandic celestial quartet’s ‘mystery film experiment’ for their latest album Valtari, the video for ‘Fjögur píanó’ finds Shia Le-in-the-buff going all arty (re: naked) for this very not safe for work clip. Featuring the Transformers star in various states of emotional distress, physical duress and most controversially – undress. The nearly eight minute short is directd by Award-winning documentarian, Alma Har’el, who calls his film “a man and woman locked in a never-ending cycle of addiction and desire,” starring Shia’s grizzly man-bush.
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