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25 Movie Cameos by the Authors of the Original Books

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Getty Images

Many of you probably know that our friend John Green has a movie coming out in a few weeks. But when The Fault in Our Stars hits theaters, don't expect to see John up there on the silver screen. Though he filmed a cameo ("Girl's Father"), it was ultimately cut. "I was hugely relieved when I got the call when they had cut the scene," he told Vulture. "I was terrible. Terrible."

Not all author cameos are destined for the cutting room floor, though. Keep your eyes peeled for these sneaky appearances the next time you’re enjoying a movie based on a book.

1. Kathryn Stockett // The Help

The author of The Help has a bouffanted cameo as part of a scene involving the Junior League. Her mother, sister, and some friends also appear.

2. Stephenie Meyer // Twilight

It’s a very subtle cameo. See if your eagle eyes can spot it.

3. Michael Morpurgo // War Horse

Morpurgo and his wife, Clare, both filmed a cameo for the movie. This isn’t the first time Morpurgo has popped up for a bit part in War Horse, though. He’s also made small appearances when the play adaptations of his books have been performed in London and New York.

4. Stephen King // Pet Sematary 

The author cameos in many of his movies—Thinner, Rose Red, The Storm of the Century, The Stand, The Shining, The Langoliers and Sleepwalker, just to name a few. But I like the one in Pet Sematary, above.

5. Louis Sachar // Holes

The famous children’s and YA author plays a character named Mr. Collingwood in a flashback scene. See him at 0:33. 

6. Sara Gruen // Water for Elephants.

In a scene that will make Edward Cullen fans green with envy, Robert Pattinson brushes by an “astonished woman” watching Rosie the elephant steal produce. That woman is Gruen. Many of her family members also appear in the scene.

7. S.E. Hinton // The Outsiders

Hinton—whose real name is Susan Eloise—appears as the nurse in Dally’s hospital room. Check out her extremely brief appearance at the beginning the clip above.

8. John Irving // The World According to Garp

Anyone familiar with Irving’s love of wrestling won’t be surprised that he chose to appear as a wrestling referee in the movie adaptation of The World According to Garp, a role that required a fair amount of scuttling around on the floor.

9. Peter Benchley // Jaws

Jaws still via

The author who made millions of people question their summer vacation plans plays a reporter in a brief scene in the 1975 film adaptation, which Benchley co-wrote.

10. William Peter Blatty // The Exorcist


Early in the movie, before the pea soup really hits the fan, Reagan’s actress mother is working on a movie. Blatty plays the producer of the film in a short on-set scene, asking if one of the scenes is really necessary. It's a case of art imitating life, because Blatty had many similar disputes with The Exorcist director William Friedkin.

11. John le Carré // Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy 

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy still via

He plays a guest at the MI6 Christmas party. The author can be found standing next to a spy dressed like Lenin.

12. V.C. Andrews // Flowers in the Attic 

Andrews died shortly after filming her very brief cameo, missing the movie’s 1987 premiere.

13. Fannie Flagg // Fried Green Tomatoes 

Flagg plays the workshop leader of a women’s seminar that Evelyn attends (before she's empowered by Towanda, of course).

14. Sapphire // Precious 

You can spot the mono-named author as a woman at a day care center near the end of the movie.

15. Hunter S. Thompson // Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas 

Johnny Depp looks at "himself"—the real Hunter S. Thompson—at 0:25.

16. Kurt Vonnegut // Mother Night 

At 1:17 in the clip above, Vonnegut appears as one of the many people passing Campbell on the sidewalk.

17. Jennifer Weiner // In Her Shoes 

She plays "Smiling woman in Italian market." 

18. Jean Shepherd // A Christmas Story 


The writer has a memorable scene as the man who sends Ralphie and his brother to the end of the Santa line.

19. Emily Giffin // Something Borrowed


In a nod to her chick-lit career, Giffin appears in a scene where she's reading a book on a park bench. The novel just happens to be Something Blue, the sequel to Something Borrowed.

20. Jacqueline Susann // Valley of the Dolls 


Despite hating the movie made from her best-selling book, Susann made a cameo as a reporter.

21. Jonathan S. Foer // Everything is Illuminated 

There's scene where movie Jonathan (Elijah Wood) is visiting his grandfather's grave. In the background, a groundskeeper is blowing leaves. The man keeping the cemetery tidy is the real Jonathan S. Foer.

22. Amy Tan // The Joy Luck Club

She plays a guest at a house party.

23. Irvine Welsh // Trainspotting 

Unlike most of these cameos, Welsh actually has an extended part. He plays Mikey Forrester, the dealer who supplies the opium suppositories that result in one of the most, uh, memorable bathroom scenes in the history of cinema. 

24. Charles Bukowski // Barfly

When the camera lingers a beat or two too long on an older gentleman enjoying a beer, you'll know you've spotted Bukowski.

25. James Dickey // Sheriff Bullard in Deliverance


It seems that the author's presence on the set was distracting to the actors, so they asked director John Boorman to ask Dickey to leave. To soften the blow a little, Boorman offered Dickey the part of the sheriff. Though Dickey originally declined ("I ain't coming back; get yourself another boy"), he eventually returned to give this impressive performance.

A much shorter version of this post appeared in 2012.

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Pop Culture
Is the True Identity of Voldemort's Pet Snake Hidden in the New Fantastic Beasts Trailer?
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

In the Harry Potter series, many of Voldemort's horcruxes were give rich backstories, like Tom Riddle's diary, Marvolo Gaunt's ring, and of course, Harry himself. But the most personal horcrux containing a fragment of Voldemort's soul is also the biggest mystery. Voldemort carries Nagini the snake with him wherever he goes, but we still don't know how the two met or where Nagini came from. Fans may not have to wait much longer to find out: One fan theory laid out by Vanity Fair suggests that Nagini is actually a cursed witch, and her true identity will be revealed in the next Fantastic Beasts movie.

On March 13, the trailer dropped for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the second installment in the Harry Potter prequel series written by J.K. Rowling. The clips include lots of goodies for fans—including a first look at Jude Law as young Dumbledore—but one potential bombshell requires closer examination.

Pay attention at the 1:07 mark in the video below and you'll see Claudia Kim, the actress playing a new, unnamed character in the film. While we don't know much about her yet, Pottermore tells us that she is a Maledictus or “someone who suffers from a ‘blood curse’ that turns them into a beast.” This revelation led some fans to suspect the beast she transforms into is Nagini, the snake destined to be Voldemort's companion.

That isn't the only clue backing up the theory. The second piece of evidence comes in the trailer at the 1:17 mark: There, you can see an advertisement for a "wizarding circus," featuring a poster of a woman resembling Kim constricted a by massive snake.

If Kim's character does turn out to be Nagini, the theory still doesn't explain how she eventually joins forces with Voldemort and becomes his horcrux. Fans will have to wait until the film's release on November 16, 2018 for answers. Fortunately, there are plenty of other Harry Potter fan theories to study up on in the meantime.

[h/t Vanity Fair]

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9 Things You Might Not Know About National Treasure
Disney Enterprises, Inc.
Disney Enterprises, Inc.

Released in 2004 to mixed critical reviews but a positive audience response, director Jon Turteltaub’s National Treasure has grown into a perfect rainy-day film. Stumble upon it on a streaming service or a cable channel and the fable about historian-slash-codebreaker Benjamin Franklin Gates (Nicolas Cage) excavating the truth about a reputed treasure map on the back of the Declaration of Independence will suck you in. Check out some facts about the movie’s development, its approach to historical accuracy, and why we haven't seen a third film.


Originally planned for a summer 2000 release, National Treasure—based on a concept by Disney marketing head Oren Aviv and DreamWorks television executive Charles Segars—had a Byzantine plot that kept it in a prolonged pre-production period. Nine writers were hired between 1999 and 2003 in an attempt to streamline the story, which sees code-breaker Benjamin Franklin Gates (Cage) pursuing the stash of riches squirreled away by Benjamin Franklin and his Freemason cohorts. Filming finally began in summer 2003 when Marianne and Cormac Wibberley got the script finalized. Turteltaub, who spent three years in development before finally starting production, told Variety that “getting Cage was worth [the wait].”


Nicolas Cage and Justin Bartha in 'National Treasure' (2004)
Disney Enterprises, Inc.

Fact and fiction blur considerably in National Treasure, which uses history as a jumping-off point for some major jumps in logic. While it’s not likely the Declaration of Independence has a secret treasure map written on it, Franklin and other Founding Fathers were actually Freemasons. Of the 55 men who signed the document, nine or more belonged to the society.


It can be tricky to secure permission to film on government property, which is why producers of National Treasure probably considered themselves fortunate when they discovered that Walter Knott of Knott’s Berry Farm fame had built a perfect replica of Independence Hall on his land in Buena Park, California back in the 1960s. The production used it for a scene requiring Cage to run on the Hall's roof, a stunt that was not likely to have been approved by caretakers of the real thing.


One of Cage’s cryptic clues in the film is reading a time of 2:22 on the clock depicted on the image of Independence Hall on the $100 bill. Bills in circulation at that time really did have an illustration that pointed to that exact hour and minute, although it was changed to 10:30 for the 2009 redesign. There’s no given reason for why those times were picked by the Treasury Department, leaving conspiracy theorists plenty to chew on.


Speaking with The Washington Post in 2012, guards and escorts for the National Archives reported that the National Treasure films have led visitors to ask questions that could only have been motivated by seeing the series. One common query: whether or not there really is a secret map on the back of the Declaration of Independence. “I call it ‘that’ movie,” guard Robert Pringle told the paper. “We get a lot of questions about the filming.”


Both Cage and director Jon Turteltaub attended Beverly Hills High School in the late 1970s and shared a drama class together. While promoting a later film collaboration, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Cage revealed that Turteltaub had actually beat him out for the lead in a stage production of Our Town. Cage was relegated to two lines of dialogue in a bit part.


Nicolas Cage and Diane Kruger in 'National Treasure' (2004)
Disney Enterprises, Inc.

On a press tour for the film, Cage told reporters that he and co-star Diane Kruger bonded by going out at night and singing karaoke. “We’d go and karaoke from time to time and sort of blow it out and be completely ridiculous, which helped, I think,” he said. “I think it was some Rage Against the Machine, AC/DC and some Sex Pistols.”


Popular films often have the residual effect of drawing interest to the real-life locations or subject matter incorporated into their plots. Mackinac Island, site of the 1982 romance Somewhere in Time, has become a perennial tourist spot. The same influence was true of National Treasure and its 2007 sequel, both of which apparently contributed to an uptick in attendance at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.


It’s been over a decade since National Treasure: Book of Secrets hit theaters, but Cage is still optimistic fans of the series could see another installment. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly in 2016, the actor said a third film was in development, with the convoluted writing process slowing things down.

“I do know that those scripts are very difficult to write, because there has to be some credibility in terms of the facts and fact-checking, because it was relying on historical events,” Cage said. “And then you have to make it entertaining. I know that it’s been a challenge to get the script where it needs to be. That’s as much as I’ve heard. But they’re still working on it.”


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