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Are Star Cameos in Films too Distracting?

Or are they worth it?

There's nothing cooler than going to the theater and seeing your favorite comic book characters on one giant screen. However, sometimes there are elements that can distract you from the story. What element is that you might ask? Well, cameos of course. It happens more often than you think. A big named actor takes a day or two to pop into a few scenes of a film and the crowd applauds. The idea seems good and all, but is is really worth it?    

   The king of comic book movie cameos: Stan "The Man" Lee
Guess who else is getting a cameo?   

== TEASER ==        
Recently, SuperHeroHype reported that comedian/actor Denis Leary will have a role in the upcoming Spider-Man reboot film as Police Captain George Stacy, the father of Peter Parker's love Gwen Stacy, who will be played by Emma Stone. In addition to that, Martin Sheen is playing Ben Parker. Denis Leary and Martin Sheen are two highly recognizable actors, and while Martin's character won't be too distracting, since Ben is most likely going to "bite the bullet," but what about Denis Leary, or better yet, what about other big names who show up for smaller roles in films? 
 Foul Mouthed Denis Leary
Although he's the star of Rescue Me on FX, many people mainly remember Denis Leary as a stand-up comedian with a foul mouth and a cigarette in his hand. For the people that recognize him as that person, it becomes really hard to separate. Not trying to discredit his acting ability, which has come a long way since he was in Judgment Night and The Ref, many people may see him on the screen and will immediately start remembering the stand-up routine or the song "I'm an A**hole" instead of paying attention to the actual scene. The same could be said for Martin Sheen as well, who played the President of the United States of America on the West Wing. However, these two actors fail in comparison to the kings of cameos: Stan Lee and Bruce Campbell.   

The Kings of Cameos

If there are two people fans were looking out for in comic book movies, over the past decade, it was Bruce Campbell and Stan Lee. Although Campbell stuck strickly to doing spots in the Spider-Man films (mainly because he was friends with director Sam Raimi) and his bit part in the super-hero film Sky High, he is notable for the character Ash in the Evil Dead films. In the Spider-Man films he's played a ring announcer, a snooty usher, and a Maître d'.  The other king of cameos is Marvel writing legend Stan "The Man" Lee who has most notably cameo'd as Larry King, Hugh Hefner and comic book postman Willie Lumpkin. Now, while it may be great to see these legends on the big screen, it truly is distracting. Why? Because that's what the audience is waiting for.     
 Bruce Campbell says 'Get lost'
When a new Marvel film comes out, and a fan sits down to watch the film, the entire time, many of them are thinking "Who's Stan Lee going to play in this film?" (at least some of us do!) While it's really cool to see them on the big screen, some people just wait for it to happen instead of getting into the story. The other problem is that if an audience member see one of these guys on the screen, without knowing they were going to be in the film, they don't see the character they are playing. They see the actor. It can rip the audience member out of the film and jolt them back into reality. 
 
What's a person to do? Cameos can't just disappear. They're a staple to the comic book movie world, and sometimes the "regular" movie world; however, they can be super distracting. Possible solution: recurring cameos. Have the actor do his or her cameo piece in one film, but keep coming back as that character. A prime example of this is Samuel Jackson in the Marvel films. The first time many people saw him as Nick Fury, there was the original "cameo-effect" much like Stan Lee, but after the audience saw Jackson in more films as that same character, the audience became more accustomed to the character and not the actor. This solution only works with franchise films or the DC/Marvel world, but it's a start. 
    Sir, I'm gonna have to ask you to exit the donut. 
What do you guys think about cameos? Love em? Hate em? Are they too distracting for you?    

Follow Mat "Inferiorego" Elfring on Twitter: @inferiorego
73 Comments
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Posted by Cherry Bomb

 
What really annoys me is when characters that are highly publicised in movies end up with cameo's in the final film. 
 
Hence ...  Emma Frost in X-Men Origins: Wolverine 
 

Posted by Icarusflies

I like the cameos. They're a lot of fun.

Moderator Online
Posted by MannyMAR

I like cameos for the most part as long as they are in the context of the scene and the actors don't totally hijack the movie. I've always dug Stan Lee cameos because of the sometimes subtle, sometimes bombastic nature of them. Sam as Nick Fury was a bit harder for me to process because it came out of nowhere and felt like, "Hey we're gonna make a bunch of hero flicks and then cash in with the Avengers movie." 

Posted by Decept-O

Naw, cameos are all good.  Nothing wrong with them if you ask me.  Well you did, basically, but that's besides the point.  :0)  
 
I think it even adds a bit and shows people how much of a geek you are at times.  Like pointing out Stan Lee to friends, girlfriends, and family can be fun for you---but perhaps not for them!  Some don't care but I think its fun.   
 
I think some will say they want to see Bruce Campbell do more than just cameos and I'd have to agree.   He needs to be a villain in a Spidey movie.    
 
Was it official though regarding Leary being in the movie?  I find that one a bit odd to say the least.  I think its just rumor based off his firefighter role in Rescue Me. 
Posted by Decept-O
@Cherry Bomb:
Thankfully, I never saw that movie.  So that's what I missed.  Lucky me.
Posted by Cherry Bomb
@Decept-O:  I liked Emma's little scene. [: 
Posted by NexusOfLight

I don't really see how a fifteen to thirty second little clip out of what tends to be two hour movies causes you to be distracted from the over arching story.

Posted by Doctorchimp

Cameos....are just cameos to me, the only ones I could think of looking forward to is Bruce Campbell in the Spider-man. I didn't spend the entire time watching the movie looking for him though.  
 
It's one thing to keep an eye out for Stan Lee, but if you're the type of person who has the movie experience derailed because of your anticipation of a fucking cameo, well maybe there are some things you need to work out. 

Posted by ShirEPanjshir

I really don't mind them at all. As said: I really don't feel that an appearance of a few seconds can totally ruin a film or something. As long as they are part of a plot and not completely forced in, it's okay for me.

Posted by Decept-O
@Cherry Bomb:
OK.  Just looks a bit odd to me.  Then again I am judging this off one picture.  Just can't bring myself to see the movie.
Posted by logan48227

I don't have any problem with cameos by recognizable stars in superhero movies. If done well, it makes the film seem more important since some star power decided that they couldn't miss out on being in the movie. 
 
And if a 15-20 second cameo from someone takes away from your story, then it probably wasn't an interesting story to begin with.

Posted by Hellos

I love the Stan Lee or other camios like Nick Fury's to make the world look a lot bigger than just Iron Man. I was not a fan of Cameo hell in Wolverine Origins however or the mutilation of DP.
Posted by The Impersonator

Too many character cameos in Wolverine film bothered me.
Posted by Om1kron

So when in the world did Nick Fury become black and Terry Fitzgerald become white. GODAMN YOU HOLLYWOOD.  
 
As if having some big named person playing them isn't enough.

Posted by CrimsonInuTears

Cameos are fun for the most part. I mean really, can anyone say they don' love seein Samuel Jackson in some no name role just because? ^_^

Posted by Gambit1024

Cameos are goo when they deserve to be there. Like Sten Lee or any other comic book creator is fine if they had a lot to do with the character's history, but if it's an unnecessary character (Cyclops, Blob, and Emma Frost in Wolverine) then they shouldn't even bother. 

Posted by Video_Martian
@Cherry Bomb said:
"  
What really annoys me is when characters that are highly publicised in movies end up with cameo's in the final film. 
 
Hence ...  Emma Frost in X-Men Origins: Wolverine 
 

"
Cherry Bomb!  Nice to hear from you again! =D
Posted by Lovenuggets

 Hmmm In SpiderMan...I did not mind Stan Lee out all..but the other dude..was kinda pissing me off lol...as for Samuel L Jackson...who the hell dosen't like him? the Man is insanely awesome!    

Posted by ComicCrazy

Personally I vey much enjoy most of the cameos.
Posted by mickoreo_LZ

Take 'em or leave 'em. Doesn't really matter and doesn't really affect movies that much

Posted by Mr. Dead Pool

Meh I don't mind it. In fact the only thing good I remember about Spidey 3 was the AWSOMENESS that is Bruce Campbell

Posted by RWBcomics

I wouldn't undersell the acting talent of Dennis Leary. When I watch Rescue Me, I don't see Dennis Leary, I see Tommy Gavin. It might be because he, as one of the head writers of the show, has tailored the character to his strengths and allowed himself a character who he can fully embody but his performance as Gavin especially in the earlier seasons is heartwrenching to watch and easily one of the most compelling performances on television.
 
Ultimately, film making is a collaborative process and what decides whether or not actor x is believable in a part is a lot bigger than JUST casting. The costume, and the performance the SCRIPT and DIRECTOR allow are just as important to the outcome as the casting.
 
Take JK Simmons for example. To look at his previous body of work, not a lot of people would peg him for the best casting choice as J. Jonah Jameson, but thanks to faithful writing a tremendous transformation with costume and attention to detail on both his part as an actor, and I am sure Sam Raimi's part as a director who coached the performance out of him-- JK's portrayal of JJJ was one of the consistent highlights of ALL THREE (Yes, EVEN THAT ONE) of the first Sony films.

Posted by chalkshark

It always takes me out of the movie, but I usually recover pretty quick & settle back in.  At least with Stan Lee's I'm expecting it.

Posted by The_Martian

It depends how they do the Cameos. I don't mind Stan Lee's little  cameos like walking in the background while talking to Lou Ferrigno(Hulk) or handing Sue Storm mail(Fantastic Four). It bugs me when they stop the film to deliver some corny line that breaks up the entire storyline and just seemed awkward and strange for any normal person to say. 
 

Posted by Sobe Cin
@Om1kron:
Ultimate comics is responsible for the Samuel L. Jackson- Nick Fury.  And from what I've read D.B. Sweeney (The actor who played Terry Fitzgerald) happened to be friends with the creator of Spawn.
Posted by EnSabahNurX
@Cherry Bomb said:
"  
What really annoys me is when characters that are highly publicised in movies end up with cameo's in the final film. 
 
Hence ...  Emma Frost in X-Men Origins: Wolverine 
 

"
Agreed ^___^ also wish emma looked more like a glassy crystal than thousands of mini diamonds
Posted by greenenvy

only if its necessary and does not make the film goofy/stupid humor. 

Posted by doordoor123

It really depends on the cameo. If its done right with the right people then i LOVE them. 
BTW... mat??? :)

Posted by justafan
@Om1kron said:
" So when in the world did Nick Fury become black and Terry Fitzgerald become white. GODAMN YOU HOLLYWOOD.   As if having some big named person playing them isn't enough. "
in the ultimate spider-man comics Nick Fury is black and like you've might have noticed in most marvel movies the ultimate universe has influenced some aspects of them and for example while making finishing touches for the spider-man movies not only did they ask stan lee's opinion but also the ultimate spider-man's writer.
Posted by Mercy_

The only thing distracting me right now is Mat's avatar.

Moderator Online
Posted by MintBerryCrunch
@Cherry Bomb said:
"  
What really annoys me is when characters that are highly publicised in movies end up with cameo's in the final film. 
 
Hence ...  Emma Frost in X-Men Origins: Wolverine 
 

"
100% agreed! Everything gets hyped and it ends up being such a waste!!!
Posted by Band Lone

I like Cameos.. way better than Oreos in my opinion..

Posted by tobiasPUNK

I think cameos are awesome! As long as they're not terrible actors (like whenever you see a musician or sports personality try and act). And also any form of pop star acting (Britney Spears on How I Met You Mother).
 
But whenever I see Stan Lee in a Marvel movie it warms my heart and makes me happy to know the movie has his approval. Plus Stan Lee is a God!

Posted by queenfrost_
@Cherry Bomb said:
"  
What really annoys me is when characters that are highly publicised in movies end up with cameo's in the final film. 
 
Hence ...  Emma Frost in X-Men Origins: Wolverine 
 

"
You call that Emma Frost?
Posted by thatlad

I didn't know who Bruce Campbell was prior to the Spider-man films so all I saw was a guy who performed well in a well-executed humourous scene. Afterwards I got kind of curious and looked him up. 
 
 For other cameos they can have a similar effect, it's like the point G-man often makes, of the massive audiences who see these films only a minority read comics so some may not be aware of the relevance of Stan Lee or Nick Fury. When they hear those cheers (you know there's always one!) from the comic reading minority during a film it may pique their interest.  
"Hey that's sam jackson, why's he in this small role? What's that all about?" 
"Who's that hugh hefner lookalike? Why's everyone interested in that?" 
 
So far these cameos have fitted in well within the film, I think they don't go as far as to 'take you out' of the film. Let's face it you know you're watching a film.  
The key is being smart and not using them as a selling point, examples being Will I.Am "look it's his first acting role come see this film" or like someone else mentioned character cameos "look we've got emma frost and cyclops in this film" it's gratuitous and didn't add to the story.

Posted by They Killed Cap!

I just don't like Smauel Jackson soooo yeah.

Posted by N7_Normandy

I'm not a huge fan of cameos.  If they make sense, and the cameo is simply a role in the film, then it's fine.  However, if they are thrown in simply for the sake of the cameo, then I take issue.

Posted by Shadowdoggy

for me, it's too hard to take a well known actor as an already highly recognizable comic character 
I believe one of the reasons the original Star Wars were so successful was because they had relatively unknown actors as almost every lead 
you saw Han and you thought "it's Han"  
I see Samuel Jackson and I think "Royale with cheese" even when he's got a patch on  
the other thing about big stars (Ryan Reynolds, this means you) they dont' seem to care as much 
they get paid MILLIONS and MILLIONS of dollars for these roles and they just seem to be phoning it in 
it bothers me because I know there are hundreds of lesser known actors who would DIE for the chance to play a character they really love and understand 
here's a crazy idead: hire actors who have actually read comics and know what the hell they're reading
Posted by Agent9149
@Cherry Bomb said:
"  
What really annoys me is when characters that are highly publicised in movies end up with cameo's in the final film. 
 
Hence ...  Emma Frost in X-Men Origins: Wolverine 
 

"
yess...i was like why even have her in the film
Posted by Catastrophic

Texas Ranger: Earl McGraw and son No: 1! Hehehe.

Posted by Tainted-Cell

Stan Lee's cameos, in my opinion are illustrating an old man's love for the characters of the film. There hasn't been a single appearance of his that has warranted outrage or indignation from fans and non-fans alike. It's not like he was among the crowd of New Yorkers in the first Spider-man movie who started pelting Osborn with crap in the middle of a fight scene....
So far his biggest and most important cameo has been in the Incredible Hulk - a role that could have been played by any actor or extra, so why not put him in there?
 
Do I think cameos are too distracting? Nope. I loved Bruce Campbell's appearances in the Spider-man movies, I thought it was only fitting that Lou Ferrigno appear in some form for both Hulk movies and had to smile when Bill Bixby flashed on the tv for a moment. 
 
With Nick Fury, I don't see it as a cameo. The Marvel movies are being made into on-screen comic books with its own established universe. This is a supporting character in the universe, fulfilling his role from the comics. Even though Samuel L Jackson just plays himself.... just like Robert Downey Jr....

Posted by Achilles.

The only cameo I enjoyed was Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool but then they ruined him and turned him into BarakaPool

 Cool


 Not cool
Posted by dewboy01

we need every suprising scenes for the comic book vans.
Posted by Cherry Bomb
@agent9149 said:
" @Cherry Bomb said:
"  
What really annoys me is when characters that are highly publicised in movies end up with cameo's in the final film. 
 
Hence ...  Emma Frost in X-Men Origins: Wolverine 
 

"
yess...i was like why even have her in the film "
I know, right? She was featured pretty heavily in the trailers. They named her and everything, gave her like a mini interview and she has 3 mintues of screen time
Posted by Cherry Bomb
@EnSabahNurX said:

" @Cherry Bomb said:

"  
What really annoys me is when characters that are highly publicised in movies end up with cameo's in the final film. 
 
Hence ...  Emma Frost in X-Men Origins: Wolverine 
 

"
Agreed ^___^ also wish emma looked more like a glassy crystal than thousands of mini diamonds "
I thought the same, but then I thought ... this is what it would actually look like if someone could turn themselves into diamonds. I don't think non-fans would assume that she could transform into glass. 
 
@mr.obvious said: 

Cherry Bomb!  Nice to hear from you again! =D "
Missed me? haha.    (:  
Posted by MSBoyd23

So who gets the cameo for Runaways? Stan Lee or Brian K. Vaughn? 

Posted by Agent9149
@Cherry Bomb: 
i know..i sat and watched the movie waiting for ema frost to appear and when they showed that 10 seconds of nonsense i stopped watching it...i was so angry they made such a big noise abouit it and brought nothing
Posted by Dr_Sarcasmic

This isn't any different than when a comedian or musician brings a special guest to a show.  It creates an excitement factor that even non-comic book fans enjoy and look forward to.  It'd be great if there were re-curring roles for said cameo stars but often these stars are in the  movie as a favor to the actor or director (just look at the uncredited role that Brendon Fraiser took on in G.I.Joe).  And yes, the marketing side of the movie industry uses this to get people in the seats - it is a money gamble after all when a movie is made.  Not everyone is a comic book fan that goes to see comic book movies and cameos bring something special to the table.  Sam Jackson's cameo was fun and unexpected - and it also changed the dynamic's of that chain of Marvel movies by introducing the Ultimate universe version of the character.  It was something fan-boys could explain to non-fans who would possible become fans now because of it.  In some instances, cameos can even make the movie better than it is (though not a comic book movie, watch The Ten and you will see what I mean).  As for recurring roles, it'd be nice but probably not possible.  Hollywood can be complex and ridiculous at times, especially when it comes to comic book adaptations.  Really though as a movie fan and a comic book fan I can't imagine it to be so distracting as to ruin the movie experience.  Bruce Campbell, in my opinion, was the only redeeming factor of Spider-Man 3.   
Oh, and Denis Leary getting a PART, not a cameo, means he probably auditioned for the role.  He has, since Rescue Me, tried moving away from his one-sided image as a chain smoking, Nyquil chugging, ranting lunatic.  It is more than likely a publicist play to further that attempt more than it is a 'cameo'.  

Posted by Cherry Bomb
@agent9149:  Awww :(  
I completely agree. The actress who played Emma in X-Men Origins is sooo beautiful, completely perfect for a young Emma, they just didn't really give her much potential in that movie.  
 

Posted by Theodore

I enjoy them.
 
 
I loved Bruce Campbell in the Spider-man movies.

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