Major Actors Hired To Do Very Little

If you manage to snag a huge celebrity for your project, the kind who shoots past the A-list and goes straight to the A++-with-extra-credit-list, you're naturally going to want to base everything around them. Or, not. Sometimes, people are perfectly happy paying top-dollar to use some ultrastar for a sentence or two, if that. The pretty mega-celeb must be thrilled — little work, all the money — so don't expect any of the following to complain about their talents going underused:

Vin Diesel: Guardians of the Galaxy

Marvel paid the furiously famous Vin Diesel a whopping way-more-than-your-salary-illion bucks to say three words: "I am Groot," over and over again. Yes, he says it differently each time, depending on the situation, but whether sad, mad, happy, or silly, he's still repeating three words over an entire movie. And yet, each word is more memorable than anything he said in The Pacifier.

Interestingly enough, Diesel is — in a roundabout way — saying different stuff each time. He has a special "Groot script" that gives him the English translation of what Groot is saying, so he can more easily get into the tree's head ... or, whatever a tree would have for a head-like-thing. So while Diesel's grumbling "I am Groot," Groot himself might be saying "Thanos must die" or "Rocket's a cool rodent" or "Bautista, I love you bro, but you're no The Rock." However, Diesel himself doesn't actually say any of those things — he just grunts "I am Groot" from dawn to dusk and calls it a job.

That said, it's quite impressive that he at least attempts to do the Baby Groot voice naturally. Next stop: voicing all the chipmunks in the inevitable next Alvin sequel. Yes, even the Chipettes.

Jay Leno/George Clooney: South Park

These days, if South Park snags a celebrity voice, they'll likely milk it like any other show might. KoRn takes center-stage, both literally and figuratively, and premieres their new song. Cheech and Chong do what they do best — play themselves. This wasn't the case early on, however, when Trey Parker and Matt Stone would treat celebrities like they barely existed.

In one of the show's first episodes, Parker and Stone — virtual unknowns — somehow snagged Jay Leno. They had him play a cat. This wasn't a magical talking cat — it was a normal housecat, who did normal housecat things. They had just hired the biggest talk show star on the planet to meow a few times and go home. Somehow, a couple episodes earlier, they'd also managed to cast George Clooney in "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride." He wasn't Al, and he wasn't the boat. Instead, he was Stan's gay dog, who woofed and humped and borked much like any doggo you've ever owned. Two of the biggest stars in the known universe, and the South Park guys hired them to make housepet sounds.

Both characters have since returned to the show, but it seems Parker and Stone just meow and bark themselves.

The Three Stooges: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

You can't do much more "nothing" in a film than literally stand there for five seconds. That's extras work, for the most part. And yet, that's exactly what the legendary Three Stooges did, in 1963's It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. The story is Rat Race 1.0 — a bunch of celebrities run around in this wacky way or that one, hoping to collect a giant chunk of money — but what's truly important is this scene. There, standing around holding fire hoses and fire axes, about to completely screw up their job as they're eternally wont to do, are Larry, Moe, and Curly Joe: the Three Stooges.

No one's bonking heads, Moe isn't yelling at the two other knuckleheads to get to work — they're just there, for about as much time as it takes to microwave a Pop Tart. Apparently, someone decided it'd be funnier to take the three funniest people on TV and have them do nothing funny at all. And honestly? It kind of works.

We almost saw yet another Stooge in Mad X4. Joe Besser, who played Joe, was originally going to play a mechanic, but couldn't get time off work. Either way, conspicuous by his absence was the best Stooge of all, Curly, who had been dead for years and was thus doing the most nothing of all.

John Hurt: Spaceballs

Sometimes, when you parody something, the things you're mocking gets in on the act. Such was the case in 1987, when John Hurt showed up in Spaceballs for about a minute to get Chestbursted just like in Alien.

The best part about this brief scene is how the joke works for everybody. It's possible that, even if you know of Alien and Chestbursters, you don't recognize John Hurt. He's ... plain! Put him a police lineup and, even if he were the culprit, nobody would be able to point him out. If you don't recognize him, you'll still have the alien. If you don't know anything about Alien, though, then you've still got the wackiness that is this ugly, angry, slimy creature — who just killed a man by jumping out of his stomach — wearing a top hat and singing the Michigan J. Frog song. If you don't know what that song is, you can still laugh because it's clearly a vaudevillian show tune and an evil creature singing it is hilarious.

If you don't get that, and know nothing of Star Wars either, then why are you even watching the movie? Maybe you're a diner aficionado? If so, the joke about how The Special will kill you must've been the biggest rib-tickler you've had in years.

Cate Blanchett: Hot Fuzz

Cate Blanchett's a pretty big deal, in case you missed it. So it makes perfect sense that she'd be in a big-deal movie like Hot Fuzz. What makes less sense is how she shows up for less than two minutes, never shows her face, never appears again, and never gets credited for her role, despite that role being the main character's estranged girlfriend.

"Janine" is a crime scene investigator clad head-to-toe in a white examiner suit that she doesn't remove, which bequeaths us the wonderful scene where Simon Pegg starts talking to her, only to realize he's talking to the wrong person-in-white-suit. He find the real Janine and they have a bit of a row about Pegg's workaholism while surrounded by blood and corpses — a typical scene for a domestic squabble, really.

She reveals that she's seeing someone else — another white guy clad in a white examiner suit, but not the white guy clad in a white examiner suit right next to him, because he looks weird — and the scene ends. That's all Cate Blanchett did in this film, but since the scene was so delightful (and delightfully British), it's also all she needed to do.

Brad Pitt & Matt Damon: Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind

Based on the not-true-but-he-made-money-pretending-it-was-so-jokes-on-us story of Dating Game creator Chuck Barris being a CIA assassin, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind sported a beyond-all-star director in George "Still Dreamy" Clooney. He, naturally, used his star power to bring in fellow superstars, such as Matt Damon and Brad Pitt, and just as naturally had them do ... squat.

You only see either Damon and Pitt once, when they appear on Barris' Dating Game. They never say anything. They never attempt to woo the girl. They just sit there as the camera quickly pans past. Finally, the camera focuses on Bachelor #3, a schlubby guy chock full of vague, empty, kinda-creepy answers like "The only way you could be ugly is by what you say or do. ... From where I'm sitting, I think you're beautiful."

Lines like that are even more meaningless than "I like to have fun!" but Schlubby Bachelor won anyway, beating out his two gorgeous contestants, presumably because they were mute. Still though, the audience getting to see two of the top actors in the world for a whopping two seconds only to never see them again, is a bigger punchline than all of Barris' "I hosted The Gong Show but i also totally killed for the government you guys" yarns combined.

Glenn Close: Hook

There's a real good chance you didn't notice Glenn Close in Hook at all. But there she is, playing one of the good Captain's many, many underling pirates. But no matter how much you play Where's Glenndo, pausing with each frame shift to catch a tiny glimpse of Close in the crowd, you won't find her. That's because she's not in the crowd. Rather, she's the bearded pirate getting brutally punished for betting against Hook's success. It's amazing what happens when you put down the razor for a few days.

Yes, that's Close, playing a dude pirate named Gutless, sporting manlier whiskers than most of us can hope to grow. Apropos to his name, Gutless immediately starts grovelling and crying upon realization that Hook knows he's a traitor. He's then tossed into the "Boo Box," a treasure chest that the other pirates throw live scorpions into, until Gutless presumably dies from being scorpioned to death. And you thought a written warning from your boss was bad.

Somehow, this one small scene, where Close does little but cry and scream, might be creepier than her entire turn in Fatal Attraction. Unless, of course, there's a deleted scene where Gutless escapes the Boo Box and boils all the scorpions before telling Hook he loves him and will kill herself if he can't be with him. That would change everything.

Michael Bay: Mystery Men

While he's not an actor per se, Michael Bay is as famous as anyone he directs, and whenever he insists his movies are actually good, we're forced to suspend disbelief more than we do whenever Tom Hanks plays a mean guy.

Plus, he once got filmed himself, albeit briefly. If you watched Ben Stiller's 1999 superhero spoof Mystery Men (and judging by their box office, you didn't), you saw Michael Bay for all of four seconds. He's the fratty doofus bro asking if he and his fratty doofus buddies can "bring brewskis" to the evil guy's meeting about how to kill the city's greatest hero. They then whoop and holler because yes, they can, and that's all we see of him for the rest of the film. He doesn't even come back to hit Ben Stiller in the head with an evil beer can.

Really, if you think about it, it's absolutely perfect that Bay played a dumb frat boy — that is, after all, his prime market. Interestingly enough, at the time he filmed this cameo, he only had a couple dumb action movies under his belt, and none of them were SUPER dumb (AKA none of them were Transformers). It's like he knew of his future long before anyone else did, and we ignored his warning.

Dan Aykroyd: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

Dan Aykroyd has one of the more distinct voices in Hollywood — imagine a nasally auctioneer who slowed the volume and upped the jokes — so it's a shocker that he was able to pull off an uncredited cameo and have very few people realize it was him. And yet, he did just that with Temple Of Doom.

He's the guy escorting Indy and his gal pal onto a plane, all while apologizing that they'll have to ride with a bunch of chickens (though since it's secretly the bad guy's plane, we're thinking poultry is the least of Indy's concerns). Dan is onscreen for about 20 seconds, but he never gets a close-up, which might explain why he went under the radar. The fake British accent he put on probably helped, too.

Decades later, Aykroyd would do another quickie cameo, this time in 2016's Ghostbusters, but this time his mug was smack-dab in the middle of the camera, making it 100 percent clear that it was him. Apparently, subtlety died with the rest of the '80s.

Kurt Russell: Forrest Gump

One of the first super-famous people a young Forrest Gump mingled with was a pre-fame Elvis Presley. At the time, he was just some southern kid with a guitar — the story of Gump being what it is, his leg-brace-laden dancing inspired Elvis to start gyrating and throwing his legs around like he was constantly slipping on soap. Because nothing interesting happened unless Forrest Gump was there to unknowingly make it happen.

The guy physically playing Elvis is just Some Guy, but the voice is none other than Kurt Russell, who showed up to sing a little bit of "Hound Dog," happily accept Mama Gump's invite for dinner, and ... that's it. Some Guy lip-synced to Russell's brief crooning, and the next bit of Elvis we see is him on TV, world-famous and using the same moves he shamelessly stole from a naive, disabled kid.

Voicing Elvis was, in a way, a career circle for Russell, as 15 years ago he had played Elvis in a movie called Elvis. But he didn't sing — country star Ronnie McDowell handled that. But now, Kurt Russell could finally say he played the Elvis role completely. It just took him a really long time to do it.