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10 Characters Who Wandered Into Other Films

Sometimes they can’t let their favourite role gather dust…

Sometimes actors become so attached to a role, or just so synonymous with the character that they can’t be imagined as anything else. It happens to us when we binge watch every season of Friends and it must happen to directors when they cast their slimy tendrils into the pool of hard working actors. Lord knows that they return to the same actors often enough, forming friendships that last entire franchises, but it’s slightly unusual when they don’t even bother to change the actor’s character.

Still, it’s not unheard of and whether it’s done as a bit of sloppy, lazy writing or as an homage to other works it happens more often than you would think! Luckily for those of us who actually pay attention in the back of the cinema (as opposed to snogging the nearest breathing thing), the real big hitters of cinema-land don’t often employ this tactic. It’s left to the lower salary actors to repeat their mistakes / only successes for the lengths of their career.

But we eagle eyed veterans of the over priced Maltesers here at WhatCulture have decided that enough is enough, it’s time to call out those actors who wear the same old character again and again like it’s their favourite pair of pajamas. Surprisingly, first up is…

10. Jerry Haleva As Saddam Hussein In Six Separate Films!

Source //  20th Century Fox

Source // 20th Century Fox

Type casting is a problem faced by every great actor over the years, they become just too good at a particular role to be conceived as anything else. Well, it’s not only a problem faced by good actors, the terrible actors sometimes have a hard time breaking free of the stigma. Jerry Haleva is a fairly well known name around Hollywood, especially rampant during the height of his career in the 1990’s and 2000’s. Unfortunately for Jerry, he’s only ever called upon to perform one part, and boy can he perform that part well!

It’s surprising that he hasn’t been called upon by the American Government to perform some sort of propaganda film at some juncture, but Jerry Haleva is only ever hired to play the one and only former dictator Saddam Hussein! Yes, as weird as it may seem, Jerry Haleva is credited as played Saddam Hussein in no less than six feature films. From 1991’s comedy classic Hot Shots! Jerry started playing Hussein. He continued in Hot Shots! Part Deux, and then again (famously) in The Big Lebowski. If that wasn’t enough reprisals of the role, in Jane Austen’s Mafia he played Hussein again, and then again in The First $20 Million Is Always The Hardest as Hologram Hussein. Finally in 2002 Haleva picked up the fake moustache one more time for the TV movie Live From Baghdad to play Hussein one final time.

That’s certainly one way to build a Hollywood career.

9. Danny Trejo As Machete In Machete And Spy Kids

Source //  20th Century Fox / Dimension Films

Source // 20th Century Fox / Dimension Films

It’s one of hollywood’s least well kept secrets, but that raging lunatic up there – the one that has attached a gattling gun to a motorbike – that’s notorious killer and all round master ass-kicker Machete. Played with incredibly glee by Danny Trejo, Machete is the perfect blend of silly and serious, building a fun action packed world for Machete to show off the remarkable number of ways to kill a man.

Of course, the real meat of this course is Machete’s family life. Antonio Banderas’ Gregorio Cortez is Machete’s brother and he just happens to be a spy along with his wife. In 2001’s Spy Kids, Banderas’ kids also become spies, seeking out their uncle Machete to set them up with the finest spy gadgets and advice this side of 007’s Q. While Trejo played the family’s lovable uncle four times over the last decade or so, he also found time to branch out.

Trejo also reprised the same role for 2007’s pulp zombie film Planet Terror, directed by Robert Rodriguez who just so happened to direct… you guessed it, Spy Kids! Even sticking with the franchise through the three terrible sequels in between making good films, like the upcoming Sin City: A Dame To Kill For.

8. Michael Keaton As Ray Nicolette In Jackie Brown And Out Of Sight

Source //  Universal / Miramax

Source // Universal / Miramax

Michael Keaton (you may have heard of him, he was the best Batman ever) has had ups and downs in terms of career over the years, but nobody can deny his longevity and the string of successful films to his name. In two of these films, Michael Keaton can be found donning the same character, although it is unsurprising in a loose series of film adaptations of novels written by the same author – conveniently filled to the brim with cameos and reprisals.

The first of Keaton’s roles as Ray Nicolette was in Jackie Brown (an adaption of the novel Rum Punch – also a delicious beverage) when Universal began production on another novel adaptation from the same author. Out Of Sight went into production just as Jackie Brown was finishing principal shooting. Even though Jackie Brown was a Miramax production and Out Of Sight was owned by Universal, Out Of Sight director Quentin Tarantino convinced the two behemoths to get along and allow the character to appear in both films with no royalties to be paid.

Nicolette’s appearance in Out Of Sight is extremely short, especially when compared to his larger role in Jackie Brown but he appeared alongside Dennis Farina (who cameo’d as Karen Sisco’s father, from his previous role in another book adaption – Get Shorty) and alongside Samuel L. Jackson who goes completely uncredited in Out Of Sight, as he is supposedly playing a completely different character to his earlier incarnation in Jackie Brown.

Tarantino’s convoluted cast or what?

7. Kevin Smith And Jason Mewes As Jay And Silent Bob In The View Askewniverse And Scream 3

Source //  View Askew / Dimension

Source // View Askew / Dimension

Kevin Smith is a ridiculously talented man when it comes to making, producing, writing, acting in, being around and general exuding movies. Over the course of his multifaceted and frankly astonishing career (he produced Good Will Hunting for pete’s sake!) he has had the chance to don many roles, and so has his partner in screen time, Jason Mewes. But there are two roles that they return to time and time again, it is their bread and butter so to speak and they wear the old character like a favourite raincoat. Jay And Silent Bob.

As Jay And Silent Bob, the couple have been in around eleven movies and counting with Clerks 3 set to be released after 2015. That’s not to mention the TV appearances which number well into the twenties. They don’t seem inclined to stop any time soon, even with the last few films being direct to TV excuses for them to travel the world, such as 2012’s Jay And Silent Bob Get Old: Teabagging In The UK and 2012’s other sleeper hit, Jay And Silent Bob Go Down Under and 2013’s Jay And Silent Bob Get Irish; The Swearing O’ The Green.

Not only do the characters appear in their own film series, they’ve also appeared in biblical classic Dogma (from which comes the best gif of all time, see below), Mallrats, Clerks, Scream 3, Lucy You Love It, just to name a handful! These two actors are tireless in their work to run these characters into the ground and for that, we salute them!


6. Bruce Willis As John McClane In The Die Hard Franchise And Loaded Weapon 1

Source //  20th Century Fox / New Line Cinema

Source // 20th Century Fox / New Line Cinema

Yippie-Ki-Yay, MotherFu… uh, excuse us.

Yes, the gun toting everyman hero John McClane (played perfectly by Bruce Willis) has not only captained his own beloved franchise, Die Hard, but has been known to step outside of those boundaries and visit other films not entirely within his usual repertoire. Not only that, but the character has wandered off without the superstar face behind the catchphrase. The character of John McClane has appeared in films like 2006’s Coffee Or Not Coffee played by Bruno Mercere rather than the perfect Bruce Willis. This is probably because Bruce doesn’t get out of bed for less than ten thousand big ones a day.

In Die Hard With A Sponsor McClane was played by Clint Fletcher and in Die Hard With A Pension he was played by Matthew Jackson. But the main man himself Bruce Willis took his role of John McClane over to National Lampoon’s take on the buddy cop genre, 1993’s Loaded Weapon 1 starring alongside Emilio Estevez and Samuel L. Jackson.

Willis only appeared in the film as it was a personal favour to his brother David Willis who was the producer of the film. Small word when you’re rich and famous, huh?

5. Tommy Lee Jones As Samuel Gerard In The Fugitive And U.S. Marshals

Source //  Warner Bros.

Source // Warner Bros.

Tommy Lee Jones has an air of authority that has seen him actually command real criminals to drop their weapons and they did. Although that is unconfirmed and we’ve been told off before for telling porkies.

Still, the man has a real gravitas about him which made him perfect for his role in Harrison Ford’s epic cop chase movie The Fugitive, where Jones played Samuel Gerard – U.S. Marshals super tracker. Except, that isn’t the only movie super sleuth Samuel Gerard has flexed his considerable tracking skills in, and only sometimes accompanied by the dour faced Tommy Lee Jones.

The character has also appeared in Warner Brothers’ Tiny Toons Spring Break in 1994 played by Maurice LaMarche and has been lampooned in Robot Chicken played by none other than Robot Chicken co-creator Seth Green. But between the in-character homages, Tommy Lee Jones actually did reprise the role in a very similar movie indeed.

1998’s U.S. Marshals saw Tommy Lee Jones bring his old blue coat out of storage and back onto the silver screen for one last ride into tracking fame, this time hot on the heels of Wesley Snipes and supported by Robert Downey Jr.. Although the line is blurred whether this is an actual sequel or a remake or somewhere in between, the distinction is clear enough that Tommy has earned his place right here.

4. Dan Aykroyd As Raymond Stanz In The Ghostbusters Franchise and Casper

Source //  Columbia / Universal

Source // Columbia / Universal

A reappearance of the character that almost everyone is bound to have seen, unless you happen to be an octogenarian (and even then it’s surprising) is Dan Aykroyd’s reprisal of his most famous role, Ray Stanz – Ghostbuster extraordinaire!

Apart from ruling the roost when it comes to the classic ghostbusting films Ghostbusters (1984) and Ghostbusters II (1989), Ray Stanz took up his proton pack for a solo gig when times were hard. He appeared as a cameo in a little known horror film about a child who dies of pneumonia and comes back to seek revenge. 1995’s Casper featured a slew of occult investigators and paranormal exterminators trying their hand at clearing the mansion where the film is set, of the titular ghost and his frenemies – Stretch, Stinkie and Fatso.

Rodney Dangerfield, Clint Eastwood and Mel Gibson also provided their own impersonations of themselves in the film, going completely uncredited. In the end, it’s all for the kids, we suppose? And for the adults who have to sit through this thoroughly enjoyable film!

3. John Hurt As Kane In Alien And Spaceballs

Source //  20th Century Fox / MGM

Source // 20th Century Fox / MGM

In one of the most haunting and disgusting deaths on screen in the history of true horror cinema, John Hurt’s Kane from Alien (1987) has wandered slightly from the ship where he was second in command, The Nostromo. He also remarkably made a complete and full recovery from death and the absence of a chest plate in order to appear in Mel Brooks’ sci-fi comedy spoof Spaceballs, again played by John Hurt.

Not only has Kane had the honour (if you can perceive it as such) of being the first on screen death of the Alien franchise, he has also become a very popular character with fans and in pop culture in general, as his appearance on Robot Chicken proves, where he was played by Seth Green.

A far cry from the haunted War Doctor we’re all familiar with, but a shining example of the versatility and talent of this incredible actor.

2. Lisa Kudrow As Ursula Buffay In Friends And Mad About You

Source // NBC

Source // NBC

Lisa Kudrow is well known for playing both her own character Phoebe Buffay and her character’s evil (kind of… well, definitely) twin sister Ursula Buffay. But the character of Ursula Buffay had an older story that Phoebe was unaware of. In the early seasons of TV sitcom Mad About You, Lisa Kudrow played the role of a waitress in New York named Ursula… who happened to be the exact same age as Phoebe.

Both Mad About You and Friends shared the Thursday night slots and were both produced by NBC. Furthermore, although reportedly never intended from the beginning, the characters of Ursula and Phoebe eventually meet and are shown to be identical twins in Friends. But the crossovers don’t stop there. As part of a special night of NBC sitcom crossovers, characters Jamie and Fran from Mad About You visit Central Perk and mistake Phoebe for Ursula. Were that not enough, Jamie causes a blackout later in season three of Mad About You across New York, a blackout which is experienced in the Friends episode “The One With The Blackout”. The blackout continued into another NBC sitcom Madman Of The People, tying the three shows to the same universe, as they all aired on the third of November 1994. The only NBC sitcom to not take part was Seinfeld, which ignored the blackout premise completely. Spoilsports.

Other Friends stars Ross Geller (David Schwimmer) and Chandler Bing (“Could I BE any more Matthew Perry?”) had their own stints in wandering across the spectrum of TV sitcoms, with Schwimmer taking Ross Geller over to an episode of Single Guy and Perry taking Chandler Bing over to an episode of Caroline In The City.

The more you know.

1. Rob Schneider As Adam Sandler’s Only Friend In Every Happy Madison Production

Source //  Happy Madison

Source // Happy Madison

Where to start with this one? Rob Schneider and Adam Sandler have long since appeared as cameos in each others films until a recent marked departure from the trend, indicating some kind of falling out? Perhaps, but we’ll leave the speculation for the tabloids, although it has been rumoured for a number of years that politics got in the way of friendship. The story goes that after breaking out into fame together on Saturday Night Live between 1990 and 1994, they both agreed that if one were to get the lead in a film, he’d use that position to get the other a cameo, ensuring that neither of them would be out of work for long.

Together, they’ve cameo’d in around eighteen films together, with the majority of the split going towards Schneider cameoing in Sandler’s films. From as early as 1996’s The Waterboy all the way through 2004’s 50 First Dates and continuing up to 2010’s Grown Ups, Schneider has been screaming “You can do it!” in a strange voice as, ostensibly, the same character (ish… with notable exceptions like Schneider playing the larger role of Ula in 50 First Dates).

It’s a shame the trend isn’t set to continue, as it’s usually the high point in a terrible-yet-enjoyable Adam Sandler comedy. Until they have a good cry and hug it out, here’s a supercut to tide you over.

Woops, that was South Park, wasn’t it?

If we’ve missed any of the greatest cameos time forgot, or not spotted any wandering characters that we really absolutely should have, let us know in the comments down below! Come on, You Can Do It!