Five Scots stars whose cameo roles lit up great films

From Star Wars to Trainspotting and the Muppets, these famous Scots made their screen presence felt in just a matter of seconds

Sean Connery as Richard I in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.  Picture: WikiCommons
Sean Connery as Richard I in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Picture: WikiCommons

Irvine Welsh in Trainspotting

Irvine Welsh’s cameo as heroin dealer Mikey Forrester in Trainspotting lasts no more than 20 seconds, but it prefaces one of the grimmest scenes of the film. After selling Renton (Ewan McGregor) two opium suppositries, Forrester’s goods end up sending him deep into “the worst toilet in Scotland”.

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Dressed in a sheepskin coat and an Exploited t-shirt, Welsh looks the part. His acting ability is said to have left cast and crew in hysterics, with Welsh later admitting: “I burned more film on retakes than the rest of the cast combined.”

Ahead of Trainspotting 2, now in production, Welsh has said he may reprise his role – albeit fleetingly – in the sequel.

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Sir Sean Connery in Robin Hood and the Prince of Thieves

It was a cameo that was meant to surprise as well as delight. Critics party to advanced screenings of 1991 blockbuster Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves were sworn to secrecy over Sir Sean Connery’s scene-stealing turn at the end of the film.

A major coup for producers at the time, he was enjoying a career high fresh off the back of roles in The Hunt For Red October and India Jones And The Last Crusade.

Connery plays King Richard in the film, arriving on horseback as Robin Hood, played by Kevin Costner, is set to wed Marian (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio).

It is said that the donated his fee for the cameo to charity.

Ewan McGregor in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Ewan McGregor delivers just a snippet of dialogue as Obi-Wan Kenobi, but sends a powerful message from beyond the grave to young Resistance fighter Rey when she touches Luke Skywalker’s old lightsaber.

The actor earlier revealed his voiceover was a last-minute addition to the movie and that director JJ Abrams contacted him just weeks before the film was released in December 2015.

He said he was emailed “out the blue” by the director, who said it felt right McGregor should be involved in some way.

Initially, McGregor recorded the line ‘Rey, these are your first steps’ but during the final edit an audio file of the late Alec Guinness, who played the original Obi-Wan Kenobi, was discovered in which he said the name Rey. In the end, Abrams decided to merge both clips. The voice of Frank Oz, who played Yoda, also features in the film.

Peter Mullan in Neds

Neds director Peter Mullan took a cameo role in the film, playing the booze-addled, psychotic father of protagonist John McGill.

An accomplished actor, Mullan’s cameo was brutally convincing; he said he drew on his own father to play the part.

While Mullan said the story of the promising kid turned street gang psycho was “personal but not autobiographical.”

But, in a 2011 interview, he said: “I used his words, but I put them in the mouth of a character I made up. There is not one word he says that my father didn’t say. And not one thing he does that my father didn’t do.”

The scene where Mullan takes a beating from his son with a frying pan leaves the viewer in no doubt that the dead, failing, root of home is to be firmly replaced with John’s street gang network.

James McAvoy in Muppets Most Wanted

James McAvoy joined the great Muppets tradition of celebrity cameos when he played a UPS delivery driver in the hit 2014 movie.

The star of Filth, Atonement and X-Men appeared for just 10 seconds delivering a package to Sam Eagle.

The part allowed him to join the ranks of stars such as Liza Minelli, Joan Rivers, Dave Grohl, Whoopi Goldberg and P Diddy, who have all taken cameo roles in The Muppets movies.

On his brief appearance, McAvoy said it was “an honour to come on and say one line,” adding that his time with the Muppets felt like his “day in the sunshine”.