Casting Gag

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A Casting Gag is simply when an actor's role in a film in some way mirrors or parodies their Real Life circumstances and/or career and other roles they're famous for. This forms a small joke or minor piece of merriment. Note that the gag is dependent on the casting and the role only rather than some later effected plot or dialogue. It should be fairly easy to describe the gag as "casting actor X (who is Y) in the role of character Z (who is Y)".

Sometimes it may overlap with Actor Allusion for another character where their respective actors have worked together before. However, the two must not be confused. A Casting Gag relies upon casting an actor in a role that reflects on their Real Life history. An Actor Allusion is any character, plot or situation that references a previous plot or role for the actor. There is also Meta Casting, which is when such a gag is used specifically to cause a resonance between the character and the audience.

An actor can use this self-consciously for themselves for Adam Westing. Compare with Playing Against Type where the casting may feel like a joke for the wrong reasons. Contrast with Stunt Casting where the big name actor is not being used for any in-joke but as a piece of marketing to draw in a wider crowd. When the Casting Gag is specifically that the person cast is an Actor Allusion for an already estabilished character, it's I Want You to Meet An Old Friend of Mine. If the Casting Gag is that the actor appeared in an earlier version of the same story, it's a Remake Cameo. Compare also to Cast the Expert.

Examples of Casting Gag include:


  • Jun Fukuyama, who is known for playing Lelouch, has recently been cast as Ryner Lute, another character who possesses an Evil Eye.
  • In Lucky Star, Konata works in a Cosplay Cafe and dresses as Haruhi Suzumiya, both characters having been voiced by Aya Hirano, as well as Wendee Lee in the English dubs (Though Lucky Star as a whole is full of shout outs and other things like these).
  • In the English version of Code Geass, Johnny Yong Bosch stars as an intelligent and occassionally Necessarily Evil pragmatist whose ideals clash with Yuri Lowenthal, his passionate and idealistic childhood friend. In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Yuri Lowenthal stars as a passionate idealist whose ideals clash with Johnny Yong Bosch, his intelligent and pragmatic childhood friend. Amusingly, while their roles are the same, the "right" and "wrong" sides are reversed.
  • In the English dub of Cowboy Bebop, Daran Norris voices both as Andy, a comical character who is Spike's rival during one episode, as well as the antagonist Vincent in the film, who is an Evil Counterpart to Spike.
  • In One Piece, the Japanese voice actors for the Straw Hat pirates also provide the voices for a group of impostors trying to gain infamy by posing as the Straw Hats. They also mix up who is who, such as Sanji's voice actor playing the fake Luffy or Chopper's as the fake Nami.
  • In Dog Days, both Minako Kotobuki and Kana Hanazawa well known for there roles as Mugi and Kuroneko respectively voice Action Girl variants of those characters.
  • In Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai Yuka Iguchi voices Maria who is basically Index with lavender hair and a dark blue habit.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Aaron Dismuke did the voice of Alphonse in the English dub of the first anime, but puberty made it impossible for him to reprise the role for Brotherhood—so he did the voice for Al's father, Hohenheim, as a young man.
    • There also exists another gag: Luci Christian, who played the first anime's incarnation of Wrath, provides the voice of the Truth in Brotherhood. Both characters are strikingly similar in that both meet Edward at the Gate of Truth and end up taking his arm and leg for themselves, keeping them until the end of the storylines they appear in (except Wrath loses both limbs while the Truth keeps Ed's leg). Considering the Truth simply shares the same voice actor as the one it appears before in the original Japanese language, the fact that they had a single person to portray a character that had something in common with one of her earlier roles in the franchise couldn't be called anything less than a tribute.
  • Ga-Rei Zero: Funimation cast many of their most popular voice actors to play the five Agency squad members in Episode 01 only. Why Episode 01 only? ....because they all get killed off! Could be a bit of dark humor on Funimation's part.
  • Real-life Meganekko Mai Kadowaki often plays meganekko, including the protagonist in Kirameki Project.
  • Aoi Yuuki plays the eponymous lead of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, in which there is a side character named Sayaka and one of the key plot elements is using time travel to save a life. In Your Name, she plays a side character named Sayaka, and one of the key plot elements is also using time travel to save a life.


  • Possibly the most illustrious example of this is Sunset Boulevard, in which Gloria Swanson, who was an over the hill, forgotten silent movie actress, plays an over the hill silent movie actress.
    • At the same time, she employs a butler who was once a famous, now forgotten, silent film director. This part is played by the once famous, then forgotten silent film director Erich von Stroheim.
    • When Swanson's character is seen watching one of her old movies, it is actually an old Gloria Swanson movie - directed by Erich von Stroheim.
    • And then there's her card-playing buddies from the Old Days ("the Waxworks"), including Buster Keaton.
    • To complete the circle, Swanson at one point goes to Cecil B. DeMille to beg a part in his new movie. The director played himself, and the scene was shot on the set of his actual then-current movie.
  • Carrie Fisher has a cameo in Scream 3 as "Bianca" who is bitter over losing out for the role of Princess Leia to another actress. She goes as far to state that the actress "must have slept with George Lucas".
    • Also Carrie Fisher, Billie Dee Williams and Ray Park have all appeared in Fanboys because of their roles in Star Wars. The fact that they played different characters added to the level of hilarious.
  • Sigourney Weaver plays a (blonde!) Bridge Bunny in Galaxy Quest, a character significantly at odds to her best known role, Ellen Ripley of Alien. In the same film, Tim Allen is very convincing as a washed up TV star, and Alan Rickman is excellent as a respected Shakespearean actor playing a role far below his ability.
  • In Avatar Sigourney Weaver fights to protect the aliens. And the film is by the same director of Aliens.
  • In Paul, Sigourney Weaver plays the Big Bad that hunts the titular Alien.
  • In Shakespeare in Love, Ben Affleck (who was a big name at the time, possibly less so now) has a small role as a big name actor who is tricked into accepting a small role in Romeo and Juliet.
  • David Duchovny in Zoolander as a conspiracy nut.
  • In the 1970's movie Cannonball Run, one of the racers has the delusion that he is a famous movie star named Roger Moore, and has lots of zany gadgets including an ejection seat in the car. Of course, the character is played by Roger Moore, who was one of the James Bond actors.
  • The 2003 remake of Freaky Friday wanted to do this with Jodie Foster who played the daughter in the original now playing the mother, however she declined.
  • In Clue we get this Stealth Pun Casting Gag:
    • "Mr. Boddy won't be staying with us for very long. In fact, he's just Lee Ving."
  • Sky High: Lynda Carter, former Wonder Woman, as the Sky High Principal.
  • Anthony Hopkins was cast as Titus in the film adaptation of Titus Andronicus.
  • Christopher Walken appears in Pulp Fiction as a former Vietnam POW. Knowing Quentin Tarantino, this is most likely a reference to Walken's role in The Deer Hunter.
  • Arsenic and Old Lace inverted this in the original stage version. The psychotic older brother berates his surgical henchman because someone said he looked like Boris Karloff. In the original Broadway cast, he was PLAYED by Boris Karloff.
  • In Iron Man, the after-credits-appearing character Nick Fury is played by Samuel L. Jackson who serves (with his permission) as the model for the appearance and personality of the Ultimate Universe version of Fury. Within the comic The Ultimates itself, when the team was amusing themselves speculating on who would play them in the movie about their adventures, Fury said that he would of course be played by Samuel L. Jackson.
    • A popular theory is that Jackson agreed to provide his likeness for the Ultimate Universe Nick Fury, with the understanding that if ever there was a movie with Nick Fury, he would get to play the role.
    • Ghostface Killah—who uses "Tony Starks" as an alias, titled his 1996 solo debut album Ironman and opened his 2000 album Supreme Clientele with a clip of the theme to the old Iron Man cartoon—was actually cast in a supporting role in the film as an industrial tycoon (his scene didn't make it to the final cut).
    • Additionally, guitarist Tom Morello appears as one of the terrorists who try to kill the first Iron Man suit. To get the gag you have to remember that he is most famous for playing with "Rage Against the Machine." (Morello later co-scored the sequel)
    • And then there were the endless jokes about casting Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. And now[when?] he will be playing Sherlock Holmes, who had a bit of a thing for cocaine.
  • From Maverick:
    • A Casting Gag played as Actor Allusion, the title character (played by Mel Gibson) is in a bank as it is held up by an unnamed bank robber played by Danny Glover who starred alongside Gibson in the Lethal Weapon series of movies. Maverick acts as though he recognises the voice of the bank robber and pulls down his mask, leading the two of them to share a moment before shaking their heads and walking away.
    • And the unnamed bank robber also mentions that he's "getting too old for this shit" as he makes his getaway.
    • Further, The film features the often-referenced-in-the-series-but-never-seen father of Bret Maverick—who, just coincidentally, happens to be played by none other than James Garner, who originated the role of Maverick on TV.
  • Very possibly the casting of Robin Williams, TV's Mork From Ork in The Seventies, as Popeye, searching for his long lost father, Poopdeck Pappy, played by Ray Walston, TV's loveable alien from The Sixties on My Favorite Martian.
  • Larry Hagman in Oliver Stone's Nixon, playing a Texas billionaire.
  • Since the new resurgence of superhero films began, the late comic book legend Stan Lee had a cameo in most of the film series of Marvel characters he helped to create, from Spiderman to X-Men.
    • Usually he's just being heroic, but he got to play a character he created, Willie Lumpkin, in the first Fantastic Four movie.
  • The Rocky Horror Picture Show creator Richard O'Brien was probably best-known in the UK during the 90s for hosting The Crystal Maze, a game show in which contestants had to win crystals (and ultimately prizes) by solving puzzles on a large, labyrinthine set. He was later cast in the Dungeons & Dragons film as the master of a large maze from which the heroes have to retrieve a gem.
  • In Kenneth Branagh's film of Henry V, the actor Michael Williams, Judi Dench's husband, was cast as the character Michael Williams after she signed on to the film.
  • At the beginning of Love Actually, Liam Neeson's character is giving a eulogy for his wife, and he jokingly mentions that they had a lot of time to discuss things when she was ill, and one of her suggestions was that he bring Claudia Schiffer as his date to the funeral. This gets a callback later when he tells his stepson that he plans on never finding love again—unless he should run into Claudia Schiffer. At the end, he's at the stepson's school, trying to help him resolve his own unrequited love for a classmate... and he bumps into another parent he's never met before, who introduces herself as Carol Karen (he stammers a bit and calls her Carol, though). She's is played by Claudia Schiffer.
  • Thoroughly unintentional example (they initially refused to even let her audition): Paris Hilton in Repo! The Genetic Opera playing... a rich, slutty, fashion-obsessed heiress cultivating a singing career using her name and infamy rather than talent. Better than it sounds, not least because her face falls off.
  • In Bridget Jones' Diary, Colin Firth was cast to play Mark Darcy, a character inspired by Fitzwilliam Darcy (from Pride and Prejudice) which he played in a series of made for TV films. On top of that, in the original novel, Bridget and her friends are stated to lust after the actor and his famous wet shirt scene.
  • The titular Men Who Stare At Goats call themselves "Jedi Knights." So who should be cast as the reporter writing a story on this covert group of psychic warriors, making such statements as, "I don't understand what a Jedi Knight is"? Ewan McGregor.
    • According to McGregor, the director didn't even realize this, although McGregor himself played it up.
  • Is it just a coincidence that Nestor Carbonell, who played the Mayor in The Dark Knight, also played Batmanuel in the TV show of The Tick?
  • Derek Jacobi, famous for I, Claudius, as a Roman senator in Gladiator and as King Claudius in Brannagh's Hamlet.
    • Jacobi's character in Dead Again stutters, just like Claudius.
    • Jacobi plays the Archbishop of Canterbury in The King's Speech, which is all about another monarch getting over a Speech Impediment, and arguably, the clergyman role could be a Cadfael-based Casting Gag.
  • In David Mamet's adaptation of the play The Winslow Boy, Neil North plays the First Lord of the Admiralty. In the 1948 film of the same play, North had played the title character (a supporting role).
  • The same year Mark Williams was cast as the technology-loving wizard Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter movie series, he was also an enthusiastic presenter in Industrial Revelations, a documentary series about the history of technology.
    • In Half-Blood Prince, after Bill was attacked, he was said to bear a distinct resemblance to Mad-Eye Moody. In Deathly Hallows, Bill was played by Domhnall Gleeson whose father, Brendan Gleeson, played Moody.
    • In the epilogue, Draco Malfoy's wife Astoria was played by Tom Felton's real life girlfriend.
  • Miranda Richardson has been in so many roles that involve beheading—Queen Elizabeth in Blackadder II, the Queen of Hearts in 1999's Alice in Wonderland TV miniseries, Lady Van Tassel in Sleepy Hollow—that it's hard to imagine her role as the chicken-killing Mrs. Tweedy in Chicken Run being anything other than an allusion to her past head-removing roles.
  • Sean Connery was cast as Indiana Jones' father in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade because Spielberg and Lucas considered that the only man who could play Indy's father was James Bond, and because in a meta sense, James Bond was the father of Indiana Jones. Raiders of the Lost Ark came about when Steven Spielberg told George Lucas that he wanted to make a Bond movie; Lucas pitched his "Indiana Smith" character as a rights-free alternative, and the rest is history.
  • John Hurt, who played the lead role of Winston Smith in British movie 1984; was in 2006 cast as the dictator for the film V for Vendetta, which bore a similar setting. The dictator's face is seen displayed over several screens throughout the city, all in a very Big Brother-esque way.
  • Matt Damon as the hero and Greg Kinnear as the Big Bad in Green Zone. Both had previously starred as conjoined twins in the Farelly Brothers comedy Stuck On You.
  • In Enemy of the State, Gene Hackman plays a character who seems like a good-guy version of his "professional eavesdropper" character in The Conversation. This is referenced when a photograph of Hackman's character from that earlier film is used as a file photo in Enemy of the State.
  • In Piranha 3D, Richard Dreyfuss has a cameo at the beginning as a character who is practically Matt Hooper from Jaws.
  • Blades of Glory manages to make incest both funny and pretty much a foregone conclusion by casting real-life husband and wife Will Arnett and Amy Poehler as fraternal twins Stranz and Fairchild Van Waldenberg.
  • Hot Fuzz casts Edward Woodward as the equivalent of his antagonists from The Wicker Man
  • In Airplane!, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who's cast as pilot Roger Murdock, is identified by a boy on the plane as being Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The boy continues to ask Murdock why he doesn't put more effort into his basketball, to which Murdock heavily implies he's Kareem Abdul-Jabbar hiding as a pilot.
    • Also, there's one scene in a mental hospital for soldiers with PTSD. One of the soldiers thinks he's Ethel Merman, and he's played by none other than Ethel Merman herself.
      • Additionally, casting Peter Graves, Robert Stack, and Leslie Nielsen was in-and-of-itself a Casting Gag because they had never acted in comedic roles before Airplane!.
  • In The Flintstones movie, Fred has a secretary named Sharon Stone (a reference to both the actress and the non-stop "rock" puns common in the TV series). The producers wanted Sharon Stone to be played by...Sharon Stone, who had to turn down the role as she was working on another movie (the part was taken by Halle Berry). Stone has since expressed her regret for not appearing in the Flintstones.
  • David Rasche plays a senator in Clint Eastwood's Flags of our Fathers. Rasche is most famous for spoofing Eastwood's Dirty Harry character as the trigger-happy, fascist Cowboy Cop Sledge Hammer!.
  • In A Fish Called Wanda, George Thomason is played by Tom Georgeson.
  • In Unknown, Aidan Quinn plays the sinister impostor "Martin B", who steals the identity of Martin Harris (Liam Neeson). They had both played best friends in Michael Collins, and Neeson suggested that he be cast opposite him as the villain.
  • Maybe: In Atlas Shrugged Part 1, one of Dagny's enemies is played the actor who was both Quark, an alien who's "Hat" is greed and business prowess and Andrew Ryan, extreme business-liberal and parody of Atlas author Ayn Rand.
  • In the original version of The Parent Trap, the father's evil girlfriend is named Vicky. In the remake, the evil girlfriend Meredith's mother says, "You may call me Aunt Vicky." She was played by the same actress who played Vicky in the original.
  • In Battle Beyond the Stars Robert Vaughn plays the Recycled in Space version of his character from The Magnificent Seven.
  • In Lord of the Rings, Gimli nudges Legolas's bow so that the intended warning shot would nail one of Sauron's pirate reinforcements right in the chest. the pirates were all played by the production staff and the pirate that gets killed? Peter Jackson, the director.
    • Ian Holm plays Bilbo, but was Frodo, Bilbo's nephew in the 1981 radio drama.
  • Tim Burton has a brief cameo in Singles, playing a disheveled, artistic amateur film director.
    • Also in Burton's Dark Shadows, Chloe Moretz, who previous played a vampire in Let Me In, plays...a werewolf
  • In North, Kelly McGillis has a cameo as an Amish woman and Alexander Gudunov as her husband- they famously played Amish people in Witness.
  • Porn stars cast as porn stars:
    • In Boogie Nights, several porn stars (most notably Nina Hartley) had bit parts in the movie.
    • In The Big Lebowski, Asia Carrera had a cameo as one of the actresses in the fictional porn film Logjammin'.

Live Action TV

  • Doctor Who:
    • A blend of this trope and Real Life Relative turns up in the episode "The Doctor's Daughter", where the titular character is played by Georgia Moffett, real-life daughter of the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison.
    • Derek Jacobi appeared on the show as Professor Yana, who, unknown to everyone (including himself) was actually The Doctor's old nemesis The Master. Jacobi had previously played The Master in an animated Doctor Who story.
  • Smallville: The presence of any actor from a previous Superman series, Christopher Reeve, Dean Cain etc. There was also Tom Wopat turbing up as an Actor Allusion to John Schneider but the one that takes the biscuit is the (possible unintentional) casting of Annette O'Toole, Lana Lang in Superman III, as Martha Kent (though the crew didn't actually know about her former role when she was cast).
  • Cameo Version: In an episode of Roseanne, Roseanne and Jackie are getting makeovers at a health spa. The makeup artist talks about "less is more" and letting their faces tell their own story. When she turns around, we see for the first time it was Tammy Faye Bakker.
  • Former Power Rangers cast members have come back just to voice a Monster of the Week. The most extreme example is in Power Rangers Samurai, where the Red Ranger's Worthy Opponent is played by Rick Medina, who was himself a Red Ranger in Power Rangers Wild Force.
    • Forever Red is a big example of this as three of the Machine Empire Generals were voiced by Walter Jones (Mighty Morphin Black Ranger), Catherine Sutherland (Mighty Morphin Pink Ranger & Zeo Ranger 1) and Archie Kao (Blue Galaxy Ranger).
    • This is far more common in Sentai series, however. In particular: Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger brought back had several former Sentai actors as the many faces of Shurikenger. When changing to Shurikenger, most used the henshin poses from their show - and even when that was impossible in one case, due to a lack of a pose, Ohba Kenji simply did the Gavan henshin pose.
    • In Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, Engine Machalcon joins the crew to assist in using the Go-Onger ultimate power. As a Japanese Pirate crew, the Gokaigers are often compared to the Straw Hats, so who else should voice Machalcon but Hiroaki Hirata aka Sanji!
  • Casting Dean Stockwell to play against Scott Bakula in Star Trek: Enterprise.
  • There is an episode of Dragnet, where they meet a priest who explains that they are looking for a plaster doll of the baby Jesus that was taken from the church. So they question the altar boy, and an old man who runs a pawn shop. Maybe ten years later, they do a remake of the show. They get the actor who played the altar boy, to play the priest, and they get the same man to play the part of the pawnbroker.
  • In Mission: Impossible, Barney Collier's son Grant is played by Greg Morris's son Phil.
  • In the new Battlestar Galactica, casting Richard Hatch (who played Captain Apollo in the original series) as terrorist-cum-politician-cum-dictator Tom Zarek. In the episode he first appears on, both Zarek and Apollo turn their heads when someone calls out "Hey, Apollo!"
    • For bonus points, he spends most of his first episode giving Hannibal Lectures to Lee "Apollo" Adama.
      • For bonus-bonus points, the armour-piercing lecture was about what it meant to be the Great Captain Adama's son.
    • This also works well with the setup that the events of BSG happen over and over again with everyone being reincarnated into a different role every time.
      • In that case James Callis as Baltar was just a Dirk Benedict stand-in...
  • And Dirk Benedict, Starbuck in the original series, does a great double-take as Faceman in The A-Team, when a Cylon centurion passes him at the Universal Studios. The moment is preserved in the credit sequence, of course.
  • In the Stargate SG-1 episode 200, Vala Mal Doran (played by Claudia Black), when challenged to come up with a more obscure property to rip-off for her movie pitch, launches into a full-blown parody of Farscape which basically consists of the SG-1 cast as the Farscape crew repeating every single one of Farscape's alien curse words in the shortest span possible.
    • There's also a slight subversion in that Ben Browder doesn't play Crichton in the parody—Michael Shanks does. Browder plays Stark.
      • When Vala and Mitchell first meet, Mitchell asks her if they've met before.
  • A rare non-comic example: Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High would often pick which plots happened to who based on the actors' real lives. For instance, 13-year-old-Joey takes a car out for a joyride... after Pat Mastroiani, who played him, really did take the set crew's van out for a joyride. When the writers wanted to do a storyline about a kid losing his parents, they made it happen to Wheels... whose actor, Neil Hope, had lost his father years before. Kathleen was beaten by her abusive boyfriend... and the actress who played her had been date-raped at age 14. (The writers have not said whether they knew that last bit at the time they wrote the abuse story.)
  • Tim Curry once guest-starred in an episode of Will and Grace in which he plays a character with a feminine aspect to him (In this case, it's the character's name, Marion) flirts with several characters, makes a reference to crossdressing, and even tries to trick one character's fiance into climbing into bed with him. Sounds pretty similar to a certain Sweet Transvestite, doesn't it?
    • An episode of the short-lived 1997 series Over The Top had Tim Curry dressing in drag. Now, why does that sound so familiar?
    • This is apparently his thing. He and Meatloaf also showed up as a pair of conservative straw-men trying to stop Glee's Rocky Horror production.
  • Both versions of The Outer Limits did adaptations of Eando Binder's story "I, Robot", and Leonard Nimoy appeared in both, as a reporter in the original and the robot's lawyer in the remake. Similarly, when the new Outer Limits remade "A Feasibility Study" from the original series, they cast David McCallum, who had been in two episodes of the original (though not that one).
  • In an episode of Happy Endings, Brad, played by Damon Wayans Jr., is expecting a visit from his father. When he arrives, he is played by none other than Wayans' father, Damon Wayans, Sr. (In the episode, both Wayans also make reference to the 1990s Bulls. The senior Wayans is close friends with Michael Jordan.)
  • The British show Doctors once had a Patient of the Week who was an actor best known for his role as a mysterious time-traveller in a decades-old children's programme. Any plausible deniability that Doctor Who was meant was scotched when they cast Sylvester McCoy, a.k.a. the Seventh Doctor, in the role.
  • In Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, the head of MI-6 (one the suspects who may be the Russian mole) is played by Michael Aldridge. A few years later, one episode of Yes Prime Minister had Michael Aldridge as the head of MI-5, bringing Hacker the news that his predecessor had been a Russian mole...
    • Although he wasn't in the former.
  • In the 2000 ITV telemovie of The Railway Children, Jenny Agutter played the mother. In the 1970 film, she had played the eldest daughter.
    • This leads to a truly ironic moment when Jemima Rooper who plays Roberta asks her mother "Didn't you use to play on railway lines when you were a kid
  • In F Troop, Sergeant O'Rourke is played by Forrest Tucker, who once portrayed a "O'Rourke" Cavalry Sergeant on Gunsmoke.
    • Also from F Troop, Trooper Duffy (Bob Steele) is an elderly cavalryman who claims to be the sole survivor of the Alamo. Steele was previously a 1930s and '40s western star, and had once been in a movie about meeting Davy Crockett at the Alamo.
  • In Arrested Development, after firing lawyer Barry Zuckerkorn (played by Henry Winkler), Bob Loblaw is hired and played by Scott Baio, who also replaced Winkler on Happy Days. This is specifically mentioned by Loblaw. Gets even better when you remember Ron Howard is running the show.
    • In one episode Barry literally jumps over a shark.
    • In the episode where Tobias goes to prison to study a film role, he gets in because the warden is an appreciator of film...and played by James Lipton, who was mocked mercilessly at the end of David Cross' stand-up special The Pride is Back.
    • In an episode called "Family Ties", a woman who Michael believes to be his sister (but ultimately isn't) is played by Justine Bateman, Jason Bateman's actual sister. Also, her most famous role was in Family Ties.
  • In the 8 Simple Rules episode "Old Flame", an old boyfriend of Cate (Katey Sagal) shows up, played by Ed O'Neill (who played her husband on Married... with Children.)
  • George Takei played Rome London on Suite Life On Deck in an episode that parodies 'Star Trek'. He even played a direct descendant of London and acts very much like a young teenage girl.
  • In Community Troy (played by Donald Glover) convinces Abed of a variety of absurd things including that he is related to actor Danny Glover.
    • Except that Donald Glover isn't related to Danny Glover.
      • But still, the character is making an allusion to his actor's last name.
    • French Stewart appeared on the show playing a professional impersonator of French Stewart.
  • In My Name Is Earl Burt Reynolds plays the character Big Chubby. His son, Little Chubby, is played by Norm MacDonald: the actor who plays Burt Reynolds in the Saturday Night Live Celebrity Jeopardy skits. In fact, Little Chubby pretty much is the Celebrity Jeopardy version of Burt Reynolds. He even has the same laugh.
  • Clive Mantel played Little John in Robin of Sherwood, and so there seems to be this involved in Game of Thrones, where he plays Jon Umber, generally known as The Greatjon.
    • Amusingly, in the books at least the Greatjon has a son even bigger than he is who is called Smalljon.
    • Casting Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell seems like an example of this. Dormer played Anne Boleyn in The Tudors- Anne is a beautiful young woman whose family is involved in court machinations, has a close bond with her gay brother, and ultimately finds herself tried for promiscuity before a Kangaroo Court. Margaery is a beautiful young woman whose family is involved in court machinations, has a close bond with her gay brother... (you get the point) This is likely a deliberate choice as Margaery and the Tyrells are a sort of heroic subversion of the type of scheming and debauched royals who get HBO series (i.e. The Boleyns and Margaery's rival Cersei/The Lannister family).
  • Sesame Street had a recurring sketch that parodied Miami Vice as Miami Mice. The American sketches in the German Sesamstrasse were dubbed by the same studio as Miami Vice, so the voice artists who already played Crocket and Tubbs played their rodent equivilents.
  • Mass Effect 2: Tricia Helfer of Battlestar Galactica voices your ship's AI.



  • Cate Blanchett is currently[when?] playing the title character in an Australian production of Richard II. Richard and Queen Elizabeth I have famously been compared—Elizabeth herself allegedly even said "I am Richard II; know ye not that?"
  • Anne Hathaway's just-announced[when?] role as the lead in the Shakespeare in the Park production of Twelfth Night might also qualify, though it's more of a casting pun.
    • They should make a movie about Shakespeare's life just so they can cast Anne Hathaway as Anne Hathaway.
  • In Hamlet Polonious has a line about having played Julius Caesar as a a student. This has led to speculation that the actor playing Polonious did indeed play Julius Caesar...and that the same actor played both Brutus and Hamlet, therefore killing Polonious twice.
  • Jesse L. Martin, the original Collins in Rent, was in the Rock Opera Bright Lights Big City as the protagonist's best friend, who expressed disdain for "yuppies" and enjoyed using certain, um, recreational substances.
  • Darren Criss, known for playing Harry in A Very Potter Musical, eventually took over Daniel Radcliffe's role in How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying on Broadway.
    • Is that a casting gag or just unintentional? It's still awesome anyway.

Video Games

Web Original

Western Animation


King: "Do you have any idea what it's like living in someone's shadow?!"

    • Not to mention Nathan Fillion as Vigilante... a cowboy who flies a spaceship with Gina Torres' character, Vixen. Vigilante is also very unhappy about the events of a previous episode's war-scale crisis.
    • Also Arte Johnson was brought in as Virman Vundabar, who voiced him essentially as his Wolfgang character from Laugh-In, complete with a "Very interesting ..."
    • Another joke was the casting of the Royal Flush Gang (Justice League version). All of the voice actors cast were the ones that played the principal characters in Teen Titans.
    • A somewhat obscure but particularly clever example of this was casting Fred Savage and Jason Hervey (the brothers from The Wonder Years) as Hawk and Dove, only reversing the relationship dynamic by casting Savage as Hawk and Hervey as Dove.
      • Legend has it originally Savage and Hervey had the opposite roles, but for one take they decided to switch characters, and the director decided it worked better.
    • She's brought in Adam West and Julie Newmar to play the Waynes alongside Batman the Animated Series alumni Mark Hamill, Kevin Conroy and Richard Moll as The Spectre, The Phantom Stranger and Lew Moxon for the Batman the Brave And The Bold episode "Chill of the Night".
    • Arguably the best casting gag of the DCAU was when Adam West was cast to play a washed up, Type Cast actor by the name of Simon Trent, who prior resents his role as a live-action TV hero.
      • In the tie in comic Batman Adventures, an in-universe example occurred as Bruce Wayne had some creative control in producing a new Grey Ghost movie and chose Simon Trent to play the mayor.
    • Henry Rollins, an anti-authoritarian and passionate rock musician, was cast as Mad Stan, an anti-authoritarian and passionate anarchist with a penchant for high explosives.
    • In Batman the Animated Series, Thomas Wayne is voiced by Richard Moll; who also voiced Harvey Dent and was one of Bruce's few friends in Gotham. Another gag is seen by the roles of Martha Wayne and Selina Kyle/Catwoman (both of which are some of the most important women in Bruce's life; judging from The Cat and the Claw) played by Adrienne Barbeau.
  • Just before the resurgence of superhero movies stated above, Stan Lee has already been making cameo appearances in assorted Marvel Comics animated series, specifically the Spider-Man ones. The first season of the most recent one, Spectacular Spider-Man, already has this covered. Of special note is his cameo in the 90s Fox Kid's Spider-Man - as himself, when Spider-Man travels to an alternate universe, implied to be ours, where Spider-Man is a comic book character.

Stan Lee: Now how do I get down from here... Maybe the Fantastic Four will swing by...