Who plays The White Death in Bullet Train? Every cameo explained

Bullet Train
(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Bullet Train is filled with a carriage’s worth of cameos from familiar faces. But none quite reach the ‘Where do I know them from?’ heights of The White Death, the majestically-haired Russian mob villain who crosses paths with Brad Pitt’s unlucky Ladybug during the actioner.

If you can’t put a name to a face, we’re here to help. Below, we fill you in on the identity of the actor who plays The White Death, as well as the full list of other cameos that appear along the way – including one major actor that director David Leitch wanted to include in Bullet Train.

Who plays The White Death in Bullet Train?

The White Death in Bullet Train

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Throughout Bullet Train, the specter of The White Death – the shadowy leader of the world’s largest criminal organization – looms large. In the final act, he shows his face. As was perhaps somewhat previously revealed in the movie's marketing, the heavily tattooed figure is played by Michael Shannon, who is best known for his role as prohibition agent Nelson Van Alden in Boardwalk Empire and as Zod in Man of Steel. He has twice been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, once in Revolutionary Road and most recently in Nocturnal Animals.

Other Bullet Train cameos

We're about to go into major Bullet Train spoiler territory! If you have not seen the new action movie, then head back now, because we're going to go over all the surprise cameos that were not revealed before the movie was released.

Ryan Reynolds as Carver

Ryan Reynolds in Red Notice

(Image credit: Netflix)

Director David Leitch certainly has his favorites – and Ryan Reynolds (who has appeared in Leitch films Deadpool 2 and Hobbs & Shaw prior to this) is one of them. Brad Pitt’s Ladybug mentions his colleague ‘Carver’, the assassin who was off sick during the Bullet Train job, throughout the movie. It’s later revealed that Carver attempted to kill The White Death, but accidentally killed his wife instead. He unmasks during a flashback – and Reynolds’ face is seen.

Channing Tatum as the Train Passenger and Sandra Bullock as Ladybug's Handler

Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum in The Lost City

(Image credit: Paramount)

Channing Tatum’s unnamed train passenger finds himself onboard the bullet train, hurtling for several misunderstandings with Ladybug. Their continued interaction throughout the journey confuses Tatum’s character, who thinks it’s code for some kind of sexual encounter.

Unlike Reynolds, Tatum has never appeared in a David Leitch movie, but he does have a good reason for being here. Sandra Bullock – who appears as Ladybug’s handler – previously did a scratch your back, I'll scratch yours maneuver with Brad Pitt. Essentially, if Bullock appeared in Bullet Train, Pitt would appear in her movie The Lost City, hence why Bullock's appearance was not a surprise. 

Tatum had a leading role in The Lost City, so it seems that the deal between Bullock and Pitt actually extended a little further than just a swap between those two.

Everyone else in the Bullet Train cast you may have missed

Bullet Train

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Those aren’t the only big names who pop in and out of Bullet Train. Alongside Michael Shannon, Ryan Reynolds, Channing Tatum, and Sandra Bullock are a host of famous faces. Another assassin, Hornet, is deep undercover wearing a costume of cutesy mascot Momomon. She’s played by Zazie Beetz. 

Other quick appearances include the train’s stern conductor, played by Heroes’ Masi Oka. The helpful staff member who gives Ladybug a bottle of water during a fight scene with Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Tangerine should also prove familiar to fans of The Boys. She’s played by Karen Fukuhara.

Director David Leitch even pops up in one scene – listed in the credits as Jeff Zufelt. Leitch has even revealed his dream cameo idea that never came to fruition: Keanu Reeves as Ladybug’s therapist.

For more from Bullet Train, be sure to catch our interview with director David Leitch and producer Kelly McCormick. For everything else coming your way in 2022, there's our guide to movie release dates.

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.