Hot Fuzz enlists the talents of many famous British actors in supporting or cameo roles. They've got Jim Broadbent, Timothy Dalton, Edward Woodward, Bill Nighy and more. Their most famous cameo, however, may not even be visible. Cate Blanchett plays a CSI, covered head to toe in a white suit and mask.
Wright on Hot Fuzz Cameos
"I'd met her in LA and knew that she was a fan of Shaun of the Dead, so that was kind of a start," said director Edgar Wright. "The first thing we wrote in Hot Fuzz is the kind of the girlfriend scene with the CSI and the first joke was basically that you have an emotive scene with him saying farewell to his girlfriend and being very sentimental and you can't see her face. Also the idea of classically taking your glasses off but you still can't see her face. Then we started to think of who could be that person. I thought why don't we get a really heavyweight actress and then in a weird way it's funny there is something a bit subversive about it."
Working on a relatively small budget (they keep saying it's 1/8th the budget of Bad Boys II), even British studios want big names to help make back their investment. "It's funny, there's a review in the UK that kind of criticized us for having too many famous people in it. And I was thinking like, 'Man, if you knew what they wanted us to put in there…' because I swear to God you do get people saying, this is not the name they suggested, but 'If you put Ashton Kutcher in your film you could get an extra $5 million.' Nobody ever suggested putting Ashton Kutcher in there but like having American comedy stars doing a cameo in the film and thereby like that's more marquee value and we wanted to keep it really British. In a weird way this whole Cate Blanchett thing was sort of a slight kind of joke on that. Let's get an Oscar winner in there but not see her face. And she was totally up for that joke. She loved it. And for the record, and this is why Cate Blanchett goes to heaven, she gave her fee to charity. So she is one nice lady."
Yet perhaps an even bigger name is even less recognizable. "Peter Jackson is in there as well. The irony of Peter Jackson is that we got him to play Santa Claus and the irony is that we had to give him a fake beard and pad him up. The two things that three years ago would be the prerequisite for the role, he'd both lost. He was in the UK and he was a big supporter for Shaun of the Dead since it came out. I'd become friends with him which was great and I actually went over on a little holiday when they were shooting Kong which was great and hung around on the set like a work experience kid. So I was telling him about Hot Fuzz and he said, 'I'll be in the UK and I'll do a cameo if you want.' Then I thought, 'F*ck, he should play Santa.'"
Directing the Oscar winner, Wright got to talk shop with Jackson. " The night before, we were shooting the scene in the castle which was really tough. We were shooting night scenes in June and we had like six hours of night. We had a scene with 15 actors and there all sorts of technical problems in it. The night before had been pretty disastrous and then the next night Peter said he was going to come down and I said, 'What do you want to do in the evening because we're going to be shooting?' and he said, 'Oh, I'll come and watch.' I said, 'Oh f*ck, Peter Jackson is going to come and watch and last night was a [mess].' It was funny because before we started shooting I had a cup of tea with him and I told him exactly what had happened the night before and it was great because it was like this scene around a table and maybe what you call a dinner table scene is always a complete bitch because of the numbers of eye lines that you have to get and coverage if you have people around a table. It’s just tougher than shooting a shoot out. So I was telling him about this and he says, 'The scene in Riverdale in Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was my least favorite scene to shoot just for the same reason. I could not wait to get out of that scene.' It was really sweet. It was like having him there and having him on my shoulder for the rest of the night."
Hot Fuzz opens to theatres on April 20th.
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