8 celebrity roles that are impossible to take seriously
Not their finest moment
A lot of the hullabaloo surrounding games like Beyond: Two Souls has to do with Hollywood-caliber leads like Ellen Page and Willem DaFoe. The general populace might primarily know them as Juno and the Green Goblin, but these two have got some serious dramatic chops--just watch movies like Hard Candy or Antichrist, and youll get more intense acting than you bargained for. That kind of on-screen experience makes Page and DaFoe great candidates for their roles in Beyond, where their performances make or break the games intensity.
But not every star has had the opportunity to shine in a video game role. Whether through unfortunate casting by a developer or miscalculation by a less-than-stellar agent, some celebrities found themselves in a ratherunderwhelming digital form--and were not talking cameos, were talking full-fledged parts. These actors may have forced themselves to forget said role or embraced their own goofiness, but the fact remains that their embarrassing or awkward performances are now pressed to disc (or cartridge) for all eternity. These are the star-studded roles that nobody in their right mind could take seriously, for better or potentially career-tarnishing worse.
Jeff Goldblum in Goosebumps: Escape from Horrorland
Make no mistake: Jeff Goldblum is the man. Whether hes the partial comic relief in a serious thriller (Jurassic Park, The Fly) or a lovable, neurotic weirdo (Independence Day, Buckaroo Banzai), we cant seem to get enough of his jittery-yet-soothing inflection. But despite Goldblums range, nothing--nothing--about him screams Dracula. Apparently, the casting director for this Goosebumps PC game disagreed, because good ol Jeff found himself playing the infamous bloodsucker in this sometimes-creepy, sometimes-laughable FMV game. Those laughable bits? They pretty much all involve Goldblum, who is seemingly struggling to come to grips with his fake fangs.
You dont know the meaning of the word uncomfortable until youve watched Goldblum--in character, mind you--seduce your on-screen ally Lizzy Morris. It bears mentioning that shes, like, 13. What follows is a bizarre waltz scene, where you must pickpocket items from Dracula as he dances around with Lizzy in his arms. Then she zaps him to death with a laserbeam. It seems the ridiculousness of all this was not lost on Goldblum--we just wish he had done a bit more purring.
Chuck Norris in Chuck Norris Superkicks
Every time Chuck Norris stars in a video game, itsucks really bad, apparently. Long before we were all completely sick of Chuck Norris jokes, the C-level martial arts celeb had his very own game on the Atari 2600, Colecovision, and Commodore consoles. The gameplay essentially boils down to steering your blocky Norris sprite through a grassy park, beating up baddies and scoring karate belts along the way. Thats pretty much it.
And dont you dare try to explore this mundane world--because stepping anywhere off the beaten path will make the timer plummet. When youre actually engaged in mortal combat with the pixelated thugs in the environment, youll have to come to grips with playing a fighting game on a one-button controller. Its as crappy as it sounds; Norris only solace is that the game was renamed Kung Fu Superkicks when Xonox lost the rights to his played-out name.
Gwen Stefani in Malice
This casting decision is bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s. For whatever reason, Argonaut Games decided that it wanted to make a lackluster platformer--one that would be completely indistinguishable from the competition, save for the fact that it featured the voices of rock band No Doubt. Gwen Stefani used her angelic vocal chords to provide the voice of Malice, a goddess who felt compelled to manifest herself as a red-haired, pigtailed girl with a giant hammer.
That was all well and good, and the early prototypes for Malices character design actually looked pretty intriguing on the boxart. Then you play the game, and you immediately want to vomit. The in-game render of Malice looks shockingly strange, like the angular offspring of a gray man alien and an adolescent anime character. She also had a knack for standing in the most uncomfortable-looking poses imaginable. Despite a nifty setting and cool supporting characters (like gun-wielding crows and a lava dog god), the game was largely ignored--leaving Malice to languish with the likes of Tak, Blinx, Sphinx, and Voodoo Vince in 3D platformer purgatory.
Gary Coleman in Postal 2
We want Gary Coleman to rest in peace--he never did understand what Willis was talking about. But we imagine that a lack of grave-rolling is all but impossible after Colemans ill-advised appearance in Postal 2. The would-be governor of California starred in a level that defies all logic, though it all starts out simply enough. Theoretically, all you have to do is guide the irritable Postal Dude through a book signing with the child star, with the pacifist option of simply waiting in line behind a bunch of schmucks. Things escalate quickly, however, when Coleman whips out an automatic assault rifle and starts gunning down armed police officers.
Postal is supposed to be a series that revolves around tastelessness--but this scenario simply makes no sense. At what point during the taping of Diff'rent Strokes did Coleman learn how to use a firearm, or decide to carry around frag grenades in his back pocket? It also bears mentioning that theres a cheat to turn every NPC into an army of Coleman clones. If thats something youd be into, far be it from us to judge.
Jean Reno in Onimusha 3: Demon Siege
The first two games in the Onimusha series scratched all our samurai itches, pitting expert swordsman Samanosuke against hordes of undead horrors in feudal Japan. Then, without warning, Capcom used Onimusha 3 as an opportunity to merge the ancient Japanese world with that of modern-day France. Uhhhhhhhh, hi?! Thats like if Nintendo had made some Super Mario Bros. 3 levels take place in Mortal Kombats Netherrealm. In any case, this was the perfect excuse to include actor Jean Reno as Jacques Blanc, a secret agent who swaps timelines with Samanosuke, and who is not, in fact, bandmates with a French doppelganger of Kyle Gass.
If youre not familiar with Jean Reno, hes basically the Ben Kingsley of France--hes been around for ages, and has parts in roughly one billion films. No amount of acting could prepare him for a land overrun by demons, though; luckily, he just happened upon a spiffy elemental armguard that doubles as a tricked-out whip. But no matter how cool his video game role was, theres something inescapably weird about watching Lon the Professional cavort around ancient Japan.
Everyone in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3
The FMV cutscenes in the C&C series are the stuff of legend--they crank up the excitement of the actual missions and give context to your sides cause, despite any over-the-top hammy acting. Earlier games in the series usually reserved the particularly melodramatic bits for longtime villain Kane. But Red Alert 3 upped the scene-chewing ante to an entirely new level, including three instantly recognizable liaisons: George Takei, Tim Curry, and J.K. Simmons.
Granted, all three of these esteemed actors have done mighty fine work in video games, including memorable performances in Freelancer (Takei), Brtal Legend (Curry) and Portal 2 (Simmons). But actually seeing them on your screen is something else entirely. No matter how much effort Tim Curry puts into making us believe he is Colonel Anatoly Cherdenko of the Soviet Union, all were able to hear is Im Long John Silver from Muppet Treasure Island! The same goes for Sulu and J. Jonah Jameson. Its not that their performances are so bad or anything--theres just zero believability. And the only character our friends seemed to care about was Jenny McCarthy as Tanya.
Everyone in Rap Jam: Volume One
When it comes to musicians portraying themselves in games, the results can be hit or miss. We can totally get behind Phil Collins role in GTA: Vice City Stories--its appropriate to the time period, and by God if we didnt feel it coming in the air tonight. Snoop Dogg (Lion?) mightve been an iffy inclusion in True Crime: Streets of LA--then again, he is always boasting about countless 187s and letting his gat pop. But it would take a true lunatic to envision the likes of Coolio, Flavor Flav, and Queen Latifah congregating in the ghetto for a raucous session of street basketball.
Just because its neat that the likes of Will Smith and Mike D are hidden in NBA Jam, doesnt mean you should make a basketball game that exclusively stars 90s rappers. Motown Games failed to realize this, and we highly doubt that the returns on this abysmal SNES game covered the costs of getting these wordsmiths likenesses. But, if nothing else, the existence of this game allows us to slam jam as Warren G while the members of Public Enemy flagrantly foul LL Cool J. Was what we just said even English?
Christopher Walken in anything
Past a certain point, it became impossible to discern the difference between Christopher Walken the actor, and Christopher Walken the personality. In fact, right now, someone you know is doing a Christopher Walken impersonation. Because the mans speaking cadence has become a basis for comedy worldwide, it is now officially impossible to separate him from the characters he portrays. That makes it a hoot to see or hear him in a video game--of which hes starred in a whopping four.
Whether hes Clive Owens contact in Privateer 2, a detective in Ripper, or a presence in two True Crime games, there is actually no way to watch his performance without giggling to yourself. With games this serious, we highly doubt that was the intent--but regardless, it adds an immense amount of entertainment value to any scene Walkens in. Its almost--almost--as uplifting as watching Walken bust a move.
Out of their element
So, got any other good--and utterly goofy--celebrity roles in games? Were not talking a quick cameo, either; this is full-blown, WTF are you doing in this video game? territory were talking about. Y'know, like Dana Plato in NightTrap.
And if you're looking for more celeb goodness, check out the Worst Celebrity Renders of All Time and Celebrity Xbox Avatars.