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Bullet Train: Did You Spot Director David Leitch's Hilarious Cameo?

When audiences complain about modern films, they're usually groaning about how Hollywood is riddled with reboots, sequels, and big-budget IP-focused fare. It seems that the days of originality and creative independence are gone... at least on the surface. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, studios have taken their fair share of risks, bringing brand new, creatively inspired projects to the big screen, leaving it up to audiences to support them or not. One of the biggest (and best) risks Hollywood has made in recent years is the Brad Pitt-starring "Bullet Train." An R-rated ensemble action picture, the film is the perfect star-studded affair that just doesn't seem to get made these days. 

Released in 2022, the film stars Pitt as a hitman on a Japanese bullet train whose plans get thwarted by a motley crew of chaotic and unhinged characters. Joining Pitt on the high-octane action-adventure are stars like Brian Tyree Henry, Zazie Beetz, Andrew Koji, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Joey King, and more. Based on the novel "Maria Beetle" by author Kōtarō Isaka, "Bullet Train" proved to be a worthwhile bet for Sony Pictures. The film debuted with $30 million stateside during the summer of 2022, eventually ending its theatrical run with a global cume just shy of $240 million. Against a budget of $90 million, it's fair to say that "Bullet Train" was a viable creative outing for Sony. 

Audiences were mostly positive on the action-packed spectacle, awarding it a solid B+ CinemaScore. Critics, like Looper's Alistair Ryder, were equally pleased with the film. While "Bullet Train" isn't perfect, it's the sort of film that Hollywood desperately needs to make these days. Who do audiences have to thank for the film? Director David Leitch, who managed to sneak in a cheeky cameo of himself in the film. 

Director David Leitch is the 17th person to die...

Fans of "Bullet Train" will be surprised to know David Leitch sort of plays a pivotal part in the film, at least when it comes to the characters of Tangerine (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Lemon (Brian Tyree Henry). Tangerine and Lemon are two assassins (both happen to be brothers) who come across Brad Pitt's character and a wide range of other devious characters on the titular bullet train. While their mission takes a drastically different direction than they expected, the two brothers are sweethearts and deal with the repercussions of their actions with grace. Unfortunately, they also have a penchant for wanton violence, with death following them everywhere they go. 

While the two get a solid chunk of screen time on the train, the best moment featuring the two is when audiences are graced with a flashback involving their capture of The Son (Logan Lerman). As two brothers are racing through the streets, trying to get away from evil forces, Tangerine and Lemon end up killing a variety of people in the process. Sixteen to be exact... kind of. 

Tangerine reminds Lemon that the two accidentally killed a (presumably American) civilian. In the scene, an unnamed man, played by "Bullet Train" director David Leitch is killed by a car explosion. The "poor, innocent civilian" rushes over to save one of the goons that the duo killed. "Hey buddy, you okay?" he asks, before dying as a result of the car's explosion. While Leitch has a small line, it's a role that otherwise has no bearing on the film and its narrative. Despite that, it's still a hilarious little moment for fans of the film to see its creator get destroyed by his own characters. 

What else has David Leitch directed (and starred in)?

If there's one thing "Bullet Train" succeeds at, it's thrilling audiences with a unique blend of comedy and chaotic action spectacle. Take a look at director David Leitch's filmography and it becomes clear as to why the American filmmaker was brought on board to helm the picture. Leitch made his directorial debut alongside Chad Stahelski with 2014's instant hit "John Wick." While the "John Wick" franchise has only grown since those humble beginnings, emerging as a billion-dollar grosser. 

Leitch made his solo directorial debut with 2017's critically acclaimed "Atomic Blonde," starring Charlize Theron. The success of the $100 million grosser compelled Leitch to dive into the world of franchise filmmaking, with 20th Century Studios (formerly Fox) offering him the "Deadpool 2" gig. The sequel to the highly profitable "Deadpool" was another success for Leitch, effectively proving that he was capable of handling a multitude of genres with grace. Universal Pictures understood the monumental task Leitch had with bringing a "Deadpool" sequel to life, giving him the opportunity to helm "Hobbs & Shaw," the first "First and Furious" spin-off. Take a close look at "Deadpool 2" and "Hobbs & Shaw," and fans of Leitch will see the director boast cameos, not unlike his "Bullet Train" role. 

Though it's likely that Leitch was offered a number of sequels and franchise projects to direct after "Hobbs & Shaw," he forged his own path, opting to spearhead "Bullet Train." While it's a relatively original idea, Leitch is open to turning "Bullet Train" into a viable franchise. "I see it as a universe," Leitch teased to Forbes. "I know that's the buzzword that everybody uses, and they're like, 'We want to build a universe and all the spin-offs,' but organically, on the page already, you had that."