Red Notice director reveals how the surprise A-list cameo made it into the Netflix movie

Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne Johnson, and Gal Gadot in Red Notice
(Image credit: Netflix)

Red Notice is a Netflix actioner filled with daring heists and improbable sleights of hand – but even we didn’t see this surprise appearance coming.

In a chat with GamesRadar+, director Rawson Marshall Thurber has revealed how the new Netflix movie’s A-list cameo became a reality.

Mild spoilers for Red Notice follow.

Towards the end of the movie, a scene plays out at the birthday party of a billionaire benefactor’s daughter. The guest of honor? None other than one of the world’s biggest musicians, Ed Sheeran. But he wasn’t just first on the guest list in Red Notice. He was Thurber’s first choice, too.

"It’s actually my favorite part of the movie," Thurber says. "Ed, from the very first pitch, was who I wanted."

How did it all come together? As ever, it’s all about who you know – with the director’s original plans also playing a role in sealing the deal.

"When the time came, I had a mutual friend who put us in touch and I emailed Ed – who is the loveliest person on the planet, by the way – and I sent him a picture of my notebook when I was writing the pitch. It had his name in it, so he knew I wasn’t fooling." Thurber reveals.

The director also outlined the singer-songwriter's one request: "Ed said, ‘The weirder, the better’ and I said ‘I’ve got something for you.’"

If you’ve seen the movie you’ll know that Sheeran has some fun with showcasing a more combustible side to himself. It’s a part he also had an active role in shaping.

"I’m a ‘yes, and’ director, so he had a couple of one-liners that he wanted to try and we ended up with a nice balance," Thurber says.

Sheeran’s cameo follows on from one of his other previous major appearances – as a singing soldier in Game of Thrones. We imagine this self-deprecating turn might go down a little better than his foray into Westeros.

Red Notice, starring Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot is now streaming on Netflix. Finished? Check out more of the best Netflix movies.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.