Sir Ian’s toothy terror steals Neil Tennant’s lady, Donald Sutherland makes it rain and Robin Williams adds an almost unbearably poignant edge to Bobby McFerrin’s iconic hit. Join us as we look back at some of our favourite cameos from movie stars in music videos. Read part two of our list here.
SIR IAN MCKELLEN – ‘HEART’ BY PET SHOP BOYS
As we recently learned, Neil Tennant is a bit of a film buff, so this video for their 1987 hit is suitably cinematic. Tennant and his new wife choose their honeymoon destination badly, running into McKellen (doing his best Christopher Lee impression), who plays a vampiric count with designs on the blushing bride.
DONALD SUTHERLAND – ‘CLOUDBUSTING’ BY KATE BUSH
Bush’s beautifully symphonic ballad tells the story of Wilhelm Reich, a scientist and psychoanalyst who supposedly invented the titular rain-making machines, but ended up dying in prison after being accused of fraud. The video sees Sutherland star as Reich, with Bush playing the daughter who fulfils his ambitions.
CHEVY CHASE – ‘YOU CAN CALL ME AL’ BY PAUL SIMON
Chances are when you read the headline, this is the first one you thought of. The song might be overplayed now but it’s still impossible to deny its infectious energy and downright brilliance. Emphasising Paul Simon’s famous shortness by putting him next to all 6’4” of Chevy Chase is a masterstroke.
JAKE GYLLENHAAL – ‘GIVING UP THE GUN’ BY VAMPIRE WEEKEND
We neatly step from Paul Simon’s African-inflected rhythms to a band who quite successfully adapted that sound for a new generation of indie kids. This sporty video – for one of many highlights from Vampire Weekend’s second album Contra – enlists a hilariously OTT Jake Gyllenhaal alongside RZA and the Jonas Brothers. The girl is the band’s friend Jenny Murray, who also appeared in the Richard Ayoade-directed video for ‘Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa’.
ALEXANDRA DADDARIO – ‘JUDY FRENCH’ BY WHITE REAPER
Percy Jackson, Baywatch and True Detective star Daddario does the impossible and makes white denim jackets look good as she rocks out and mimes along to the power pop quartet’s Cheap Trick-indebted 2017 single.
ROBERT DOWNEY JR – ‘I WANT LOVE’ BY ELTON JOHN
Downey Jr has impressively rewritten his own story by returning to Hollywood’s highest echelons after a troubled period of drug addiction and stints in prison and rehab. His comeback started with this video, shot in a single take by Sam Taylor-Johnson. The words mightn’t be his own, but it’s not hard to draw parallels between Elton’s plea for connection and understanding and Downey Jr’s own story.
ROBIN WILLIAMS – ‘DON’T WORRY BE HAPPY’ BY BOBBY MCFERRIN
There’s always been an ironically melancholic tinge to McFerrin’s song and that has only been exaggerated by the suicide last year of the video’s star Robin Williams. His somber face gradually cracking into a smile now borders on heartbreaking. If you’re wondering who the third guy with McFerrin and Williams is, that would be none other than Legion’s Bill Irwin.
CHRISTOPHER WALKEN – ‘WEAPON OF CHOICE’ BY FATBOY SLIM
Another very famous one, this time featuring Christopher Walken, ex-dancer and scene stealer in Pulp Fiction, Annie Hall and True Romance. We’d usually object to any use of Walken that doesn’t feature him speaking, but his moves in this are pretty damn special.
RACHEL HUNTER – ‘STACY’S MOM’ BY FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE
The power poppers behind ‘Radiation Vibe’ and ‘Sink To The Bottom’ scored their biggest hit with this unabashedly bubblegum single. Of course, Kiwi actress and model Rachel Hunter in a bikini (and less) probably didn’t hurt the song’s popularity. Fun fact: FoW frontman Adam Schlesinger wrote the titular song from That Thing You Do.
ZACH GALIFIANAKIS – ‘CAN’T TELL ME NOTHING’ BY KANYE WEST
Seeing as we’re currently in the middle of his very public, Trump-sponsored breakdown, it can be hard to remember how special Kanye once seemed. This song is a reminder of that irretrievable era and it’s only improved by the completely insane video starring Zach Galifianakis and Will Oldham (aka Bonnie ‘Prince Billy) as OG farmers.