Actors you didn't know were hiding in your favorite movies

Movies are even more fun when they've got an unexpected cameo. Actors you're not expecting that pop up all of a sudden are certainly amusing. But there are some cameos so well hidden—executed as a favor to a star or director, or some kind of elaborate inside joke—that they're easy to miss. Here are a few times when big stars showed up in some of the biggest movies of all time…and hardly anyone noticed.

Glenn Close, Hook

During one unforgettable scene in Steven Spielberg's Peter Pan riff, Captain Hook brutally throws one of his own pirates, Gutless, into "the boo box" with a scorpion. Poor Gutless is portrayed by Glenn Close—two decades before she'd play a male character once again in Albert Nobbs.

Peter Jackson, Hot Fuzz

Almost at the very beginning of the movie, Simon Pegg's cop character gets stabbed in the hand by an unhinged Santa Claus (or "Father Christmas," because Hot Fuzz is a British movie). He's obscured by a beard, but the crazy guy is Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson. Jackson, a big fan of Shaun of the Dead, had invited director Edgar Wright to visit the set of King Kong, and Wright returned the favor by extending an invite to the set of Hot Fuzz. Jackson volunteered to do a cameo. The scene was shot after Jackson had lost a great deal of weight and shaved his beard—meaning the costume department had to fit him with a fake beard and padding.

Cate Blanchett, Hot Fuzz

Peter Jackson wasn't the only big name to pay a brief visit during Hot Fuzz. In another scene, Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) meets up with his ex-girlfriend, an investigator named Janine—and she's played by Cate Blanchett. Writer/director Edgar Wright had heard that the Oscar-winning star was a fan of his previous movie, the zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead. He happened to meet up with her at a party and offered her a cameo, but one in which her face would be totally obscured, because he thought it would be funny to cast an Oscar winner and then not show her face.

Simon Pegg, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

During one scene in The Force Awakens, Rey trades salvaged parts to a Jakku junk dealer named Unkar Platt in exchange for rations—but she refuses to trade away her new friend, the adorable robot BB-8. Concealed under all that latex, padding, and CGI that makes up the monstrous Plutt is actor, writer, and unabashed Star Wars superfan Simon Pegg.

Daniel Craig, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Yep: James Bond was in Star Wars. During a pivotal scene in The Force Awakens, the detained Rey (Daisy Ridley) uses Jedi mind tricks to convince the stormtrooper who's supposed to be watching her that he should free her from her restraints and leave a door open so she can escape. It's impossible to tell, but the guy in the suit is Craig. The stormtrooper's name: JB-007, an obvious Bond reference.

Bill Hader, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver are fine, but the real breakout star of The Force Awakens was BB-8, the orange-and-white ball-shaped droid that makes all kinds of endearing little noises. Those noises are far from random, and they were provided by Saturday Night Live star Bill Hader. His name appears in the credits of the latest Star Wars movie as a "vocal consultant," which Hader says entailed director J.J. Abrams screwing around with a sound effects app on an iPad connected to a talk box that Hader spoke into. (At first he planned to use his regular voice and make robot sounds, but he quickly dropped the idea because "it sounded too human." Hader's vocal tricks were combined with the vocalizing of another consultant: Ben Schwartz, best known for playing Jean-Ralphio on Parks and Recreation.

Danny Glover, Maverick

In the 1994 big-screen remake of the classic TV comic western, Maverick is in a bank when a robbery goes down. Leading the crooks is a guy who uses a red bandana to cover up his face—he wouldn't want to be noticed, after all. The scarf also did a pretty good job of concealing the identity of the actor playing the bandit: Gibson's Lethal Weapon cohort Danny Glover.

Steven Spielberg, The Blues Brothers

The Blues Brothers is well known for its cameos, most of them from a marvelous roster of legendary blues and R&B musicians that included Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Ray Charles, Cab Calloway, and John Lee Hooker. Also making an appearance is director Steven Spielberg as a clerk in a county assessor's office. Blues Brothers stars Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi struck up a friendship with Spielberg after starring in the director's World War II comedy 1941 a year earlier.

Dan Aykroyd, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom

A few years after Steven Spielberg cameoed in Dan Aykroyd's movie, Aykroyd cameoed in a Spielberg movie. At the very beginning of the second Indiana Jones adventure, Aykroyd plays a mustachioed, British-accented man who calls himself Weber and helps arrange transportation for Indy at an airport. It might be hard to recognize Aykroyd, but his distinctive voice is a dead giveaway. (Also appearing in the same scene is Spielberg himself, along with his friends and producing partners George Lucas, Frank Marshall, and Kathleen Kennedy. They play a group of missionaries.)

Bill Murray, Dumb and Dumber To

Dumb and Dumber To was written and directed by Bobby and Peter Farrelly, who also directed the 1996 bowling comedy Kingpin starring Bill Murray. The Farrelly brothers thought it would be amusing to get a very well-known actor to play Icepick, Harry's meth-making roommate who has his identity completely concealed with a breathing apparatus throughout his one scene. So they called up Murray.

Jimmy Buffett, Jurassic World

When order inevitably breaks down and the dinosaurs at Jurassic World escape to terrorize the theme park guests, there's a few seconds of comic relief: an old dude in an orange shirt runs away from the chaos and carnage…while carefully carrying away two margaritas. Who played that guy? The planet's most ardent margarita lover: "Margaritaville" singer Jimmy Buffett.

George Harrison, Monty Python's The Life of Brian

Ex-Beatle George Harrison was a big Monty Python fan of Monty Python, and because he was a superstar, he was able to meet and make friends with the members of the British comedy troupe. Harrison formed a production company called HandMade films and put up $4 million of his own money to help Python make its second film, the irreverent biblical comedy Life of Brian, after financing fell through days before filming was set to begin. Harrison was thanked with a cameo role as "Mr. Papadopoulos," the "owner of the mount."

Stephen Colbert, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Stephen Colbert is a huge J.R.R. Tolkien fan and scholar, and he's shown off his knowledge of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit multiple times on The Colbert Report and The Late Show. In 2013, he was rewarded for his devotion with a small part in the second installment of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy. Colbert appears onscreen for just a few seconds as the "Lake-town Spy."

Owen Wilson, Rushmore

Wilson co-wrote this indie dramedy cult classic with childhood friend, frequent collaborator, and Rushmore director Wes Anderson. Wilson's two actor brothers have minor roles in Rushmore—Andrew plays a coach at the titular school, and Luke plays a doctor who goes on a date with Rosemary (Olivia Williams), object of affection for most of the men in the movie. Owen is in the movie, too. He plays Edward Appleby, Rosemary's deceased husband. He's seen in a couple of pictures on the wall in Rosemary's house, and they're actually old photos of Owen Wilson.