The 10 Most Memorable Celebrity Music Video Appearances
by Jennifer Lafferty
It’s always fun to see film or TV stars occasionally cross over and do music videos, but some celebrity cameos are really unforgettable.
There’s a long tradition of well-known actors appearing in music videos, which is almost as old as the genre itself. Sometimes it’s just a brief but memorable cameo while other times they might upstage the music artist and become the center of attention. From Jake Gyllenhaal’s appearance in “Giving Up The Gun” to Christie Brinkley’s iconic role in “Uptown Girl”, these celebs stole the show.
Anne Hathaway, Kristen Stewart, and Brie Larson in Jenny Lewis’s “Just One Of The Guys”
Why would someone cast these beautiful film stars in a music video, and then put them in drag? Maybe because it’s hilarious. In this video for Jenny Lewis’ 2014 song, “Just One of the Guys”, the actresses play members of Lewis’ all female band who get in touch with their masculine side, even donning mustaches.
Andrew Garfield in Arcade Fire’s “We Exist”
This is another video featuring a cross-dressing celeb, but with more social commentary. The song, by Arcade Fire, offers a compelling message about self-empowerment. Andrew Garfield plays a transgender woman who is attacked by drunks at a bar. Garfield’s character impressively defends himself and is then seen at Arcade Fire’s Coachella concert striking poses to their music. However, the video sparked some controversy when a transgender woman criticized Arcade Fire on Twitter for using Garfield instead of a transgender actor.
Jennifer Love Hewitt in Enrique Iglesias’s “Hero”
Enrique Iglesias has a history of using celebrities in his music videos, including the 2001 video for his popular song ero, which features considerable making out with the it-girl of the era, Jennifer Love Hewitt, whose character runs away with him. But it’s not all romance; Iglesias’ character fights with a gangster portrayed by Mickey Rourke. The piece plays like a classic macho fantasy until the hero is ultimately gunned down.
Seth Rogen, Danny McBride and Elijah Wood in Beastie Boys’ “Make Some Noise”
The music video for Beastie Boys’ 2011 song “Make Some Noise”, features a long and eclectic list of celebrities including, Seth Rogen, Danny McBride and Elijah Wood, who play younger versions of the bandmates. Matthew Perpetua of Rolling Stone said: “Elijah Wood’s performance in particular is amazing—he truly embodies the goofy energy of the young Ad-Rock.”
Ben Stiller in P. Diddy’s “Bad Boy For Life”
This star-studded 2001 video about culture clashes, includes cameos by rappers Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube as well as legendary athletes Mike Tyson and Shaquille O’Neal. But Ben Stiller really stands out as Diddy’s straitlaced, suburban neighbor who comes by to complain about golf balls being hit through his window but then asks for an invitation to Diddy’s next wild party.
Courteney Cox in Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark”
The Bruce Springsteen video, filmed at one of his concerts in 1984, is most notable for serving as Courteney Cox’s show business breakthough. The unknown 20-year-old was pulled on stage by “The Boss” and danced with him as he played his hit song “Dancing in the Dark”. After her appearance in the video, Cox soon landed guest roles on TV series, and the rest is history.
Jake Gyllenhaal in Vampire Weekend’s “Giving Up The Gun”
As a friend and big fan of Vampire Weekend, Gyllenhaal was thrilled to appear in this 2010 video for “Giving Up the Gun”, in which he played an aggressive and hard-drinking tennis player. Gyllenhaal told MTV how he hurried from San Francisco to downtown L.A. to shoot the piece, saying: “I basically changed into a tennis outfit, and I got down.” A number of other celebs including Lil Jon and Joe Jonas also have cameos.
Christie Brinkley in Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl”
It’s a popular misconception that Christie Brinkley was the inspiration behind the song “Uptown Girl”, written and recorded by her future husband Billy Joel. The 1983 song was actually about another 1980s supermodel Elle Macpherson, who was Joel’s girlfriend at the time. But Brinkley was so perfect in the video as Joel’s glamorous, high class dream girl, it’s hard to believe the catchy tune wasn’t about her.
Jason Alexander in Nickelback’s “Trying Not To Love You”
Nickelback’s video for their 2012 song “”Trying Not to Love You, follows a wacky storyline that could’ve been the basis for a Seinfeld episode. So, it makes sense that former Seinfeld cast member Jason Alexander stars in the funny and romantic piece about a talented barista made clumsy by his crush on a customer played by Brooke Burns. When his tough biker rival (also played by Alexander) shows up, the two face off in an absurd, high stakes latte competition.
Ben Affleck in J.Lo’s “Jenny From The Block”
This 2002 video for “Jenny from the Block” was a much better memento of Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck’s romance than the film Gigli. The song talks about Lopez staying true to her roots despite fame and fortune. Much of the video reflects the couple’s high profile engagement, depicting their lack of privacy as they were hounded by the paparazzi.