Edgar Wright’s British cop comedy Hot Fuzz has become a classic since its release in 2007, but even mega-fans may have seen it many times without catching some of its biggest cameos. The movie stars Simon Pegg as Sergeant Nicholas Angel, a hyper-competent London police officer who is transferred to the seemingly sleepy West Country village of Sandford. His new partner is Constable Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), a massive fan of buddy cop movies who is dazzled by Nicholas’s experience with real crime.
The cast of Hot Fuzz is packed with well-known British actors, including Jim Broadbent, Timothy Dalton, and recent Oscar-winner Olivia Colman. Bill Nighy, Martin Freeman, and Steve Coogan also appear in smaller roles as members of the London police service who team up to break the news to Nicholas about his transfer.
The biggest cameos in Hot Fuzz, however, are hidden behind masks and costumes, or are so quick that they’re easy to miss. Here’s a rundown of every cameo in the movie, and when you can spot them.
In a recap of Nicholas Angel’s career so far at the start of Hot Fuzz, we see the tough-as-nails police constable being stabbed through the hand by a crazed Santa. That Santa is none other than Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson, hiding behind a fake beard and a padded suit. In an About.com interview Wright explained:
“[Jackson] 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. 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. 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#@k, he should play Santa.’”
Jackson went on to produce The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, a film that Wright co-wrote the script for, and was mentioned in the Special Thanks section of the credits for the third movie in Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy, The World’s End.
Also featured in Hot Fuzz‘s opening montage is Garth Jennings, director of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Son of Rambow (Edgar Wright had cameos in both movies). Jennings plays a hostage-taker who unwisely whirls around with a machine gun and gets shot by Nicholas. Wright and Jennings are old friends, which is why they regularly make appearances in each other’s movies. Jennings also played one of the many zombies in Shaun of the Dead.
Jackson isn’t the only Lord of the Rings cameo in Hot Fuzz. When Nicholas goes to see his ex-girlfriend, Janine, at a crime site, she’s actually played by Cate Blanchett (though it’s hard to tell under her mask and hood). Like Jackson, Blanchett was a big fan of Shaun of the Dead and therefore interested in being a part of Wright’s next movie.
In the About.com interview, Wright explained that the original premise of the scene was to have an incredibly emotional goodbye where one character’s face was almost completely covered. “In a weird way this whole Cate Blanchett thing was sort of a slight kind of joke on that,” Wright explained. “‘Let’s get an Oscar winner in there but not see her face.’ And she was totally up for that joke.” Blanchett received a fee for her cameo, but donated it to charity.
As Nicholas is saying a tense farewell to Janine, she admits that she’s been seeing someone else. Nicholas asks if it’s Bob, and Janine scoffs at the idea, asking if Bob looks like the sort of guy she’d go out with… before clarifying that she’s seeing Dave, an identical white-suited technician standing next to Bob. The unlucky Bob is actually played by Joe Cornish, director of Attack the Block, who at the time was best known for starring in the comedy series The Adam and Joe Show. Wright and Cornish went to school together and have been friends ever since.
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