Now Celebrating its 40th season on the air, Saturday Night Live
Sometimes it’s just easier to play yourself in a movie. Here are 16 examples of actors playing themselves.
- John Malkovich. In 1999, John Malkovich played a heightened version of himself in Being John Malkovich. It’s one of the strangest movies you’ll ever see, as it pokes fun of itself, celebrity culture, and modern religion. Also, Charlie Sheen plays a very wacky version of himself in the movie too.
- Neil Patrick Harris. While the titular characters go on their wacky misadventures, Neil Patrick Harris pops up in Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle. It was the first part of his modern resurgence and one of the funniest bits in the film.
- Albert Brooks. In his directorial debut Real Life, Albert Brooks plays a director named Albert Brooks who wants to document the real life of a real family.
- Joaquin Phoenix. In 2008, Joaquin Phoenix announced his retirement from action. He said he wanted to start a new career as a rapper. While many believed that Joaquin Phoenix was going crazy, his brother-in-law Casey Affleck documented his dissent into madness in the movie I’m Still Here in 2010. He wasn’t going crazy, it was all an act.
- Billy Zane. He plays Derek Zoolander’s best friend in the movie Zoolander.
- Bill Murray. In the middle of Zombieland, the characters meets a celebrity that was holdup in his mansion during the zombie apocalypse. That celebrity is Bill Murray, who pretends to be a zombie for survival reason.
- Michael Cera. He plays a version of himself in the movie Paper Heart. Writer/director Charlyne Yi made a faux-documentary about the nature of true love and Michael Cera is her love interest.
- Die Antwoord. The South African rap duo Die Antwoord play badass versions of themselves in the sci-fi movie Chappie. Ninja and Yolandi Vi$$er also sport their own merchandise and their music is also featured in the movie.
- Everyone in This is the End. James Franco, Jonah Hill, Seth Rogen, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, Michael Cera, and Emma Watson all played very, very heightened versions of themselves in This is the End, a movie about the Biblical Rapture. I’m not sure if the movie would’ve been as funny if they were all played “traditional” characters, but the fact that they all played themselves added to the film’s satirical nature and fun.