James Badge Dale ‘Gaunt young man’ in Flight
A veteran of hard-bitten parts in 24, The Pacific and CSI, Dale had a single-scene outing in Flight, playing an emaciated cancer patient who exists to act as a wheezing existential cupid to Denzel Washington’s boozy pilot and Kelly Reilly’s friendly junkie.
Rhea Perlman ‘Mikvah lady’ in The Sessions
Perlman’s Jewish bathhouse attendant who gives Helen Hunt advice and a towel in The Sessions comes four years after her role in the sixth Beethoven movie, which went straight to video.
Jonah Hill ‘Bag Head #2′ in Django Unchained
After an Oscar nod for Moneyball transformed Jonah Hill, fat one from Superbad, into Jonah Hill, esteemed character actor, his career suffered an identity crisis. On the one hand, the schlubby best-friend parts still needed filling on the other, worthier roles were now up for grabs. This dichotomy resulted in Hill turning down a cameo as an exasperated Klansman due to a scheduling clash with abysmal sci-fi comedy The Watch. But a heartfelt letter to Tarantino convinced the director to move shooting dates to accommodate him.
Gérard Depardieu ‘Cook’ in Life of Pi
Given the film is basically a two-hander between a total newcomer and a CGI tiger, Fox made a canny decision in not selling Pi on the strength of name recognition. Still, those who turned up to see Gérard Depardieu might have been disappointed by his two-minute turn as a growling chef.
Adam Driver ‘Samuel Beckwith’ in Lincoln
He’s not just an unstable carpenter on HBO’s Girls. He has also worked, on film, with Clint Eastwood, Noah Baumbach, the Coen brothers and Steven Spielberg. But the spectre of his iconic televisual namesake loomed large during his two-scene appearance in Lincoln, at any moment apparently ready to break off telegraph duties and place a booty call instead.
John Barrowman ‘Jeremy’ in Zero Dark Thirty
Barrowman has racked up big screen bit parts in De-Lovely, Shark Attack 3, and Megalodon. But none sparked controversy like Zero Dark Thirty, in which he plays a CIA operative for one scene. If anything was liable to break the illusion for UK audiences, it was the sight of Captain Jack Harkness sharing a lift with Tony Soprano.
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