How can Bruce Willis be in Die Hard when he’s Elizabeth’s dad?!
For those who aren’t sure, a “celebrity paradox” is when a show/film references or acknowledges an actor or celebrity, and then later in the story, that actor or celebrity plays a FICTIONAL character.
Honestly, this phenomenon is so trippy and it gets increasingly complicated the more you get into it, so allow me elaborate on some examples of the celebrity paradox in our favourite TV shows and movies…
1. Let’s stick with Friends for a sec – do you remember in season three, when Chandler creates his freebie list and he includes Jessica Rabbit? Well, later on in season seven, Chandler’s father is played by none other than Kathleen Turner – the actual voice of Jessica Rabbit!
2. Meanwhile, Ross includes Winona Ryder and Susan Sarandon on his list, and Chandler mentions thinking of Elle Macpherson during sex in another episode, but no one bats an eyelid when Winona, Susan, and Elle all turn up in subsequent seasons of Friends NOT playing themselves.
LET’S DO MORE!!
3. In one episode of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, Maddie (who’s played by Ashley Tisdale) auditions for the role of Sharpay in High School Musical (a role also played by Ashley Tisdale).
4. In Gilmore Girls, Lorelai and Rory reference the iconic ’80s movie Dirty Dancing a few times, but don’t they notice the startling resemblance between Baby’s mother and Lorelai’s?
5. In Glee, there are numerous covers of songs by famous singers who went on to appear as characters on the show, including Demi Lovato, Gloria Estefan, and Max George from The Wanted.
6. In an episode of Community, Abed asks Annie how good his Don Draper impression is. Annie of course is played by Alison Brie who also stars in Mad Men as Trudy Campbell. Outrageous!
7. Meanwhile, in Love Actually, Liam Neeson’s character Daniel dreams of getting it on with Claudia Schiffer, only for her to appear as the mother of one of his stepson’s classmates!
8. Speaking of Love Actually, remember when Hugh Grant makes that speech about Britain and mentions Harry Potter? Well, who the hell plays Severus Snape, Sybill Trelawney, and Rufus Scrimgeour in the films if not Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, and Bill Nighy who also appear in Love Actually?!
Is your mind blown yet? I’ll continue.
9. The Marvel cinematic universe films mention several movies including The Big Lebowski, Hot Tub Time Machine, and Stars Wars, which implicates Jeff Bridges, Sebastian Stan, Samuel L. Jackson, and Natalie Portman as fellow Marvel characters – do they star in both!?
10. In The Fast and the Furious, Paul Walker goes to a house party where Vin Diesel is playing “I got hoes” by Ludacris. Then, in 2 Fast 2 Furious, Ludacris shows up as race host Tej Parker! So is the song not by Ludacris, orrrr?
11. Also, given that Game Of Thrones gets name-checked in Hobbs & Shaw, why does Hobbs not question why the hacker he hires looks exactly like Missandei?
12. In the 2009 film Zombieland, Bill Murray appears as himself, but he doesn’t seem to recognise Woody Harrelson, who he starred with in the 1996 film, Kingpin.
13. Both Joanna Lumley and her character in Absolutely Fabulous, Patsy Stone, were minor Bond girls, soooo I’m not sure how THAT works.
14. In the British film About A Boy, the main character Marcus wishes in his opening monologue that could be like “that movie kid, Haley Joel Osment”. If he’s referring to Haley in The Sixth Sense, why has he never noticed that Haley’s mother, Toni Collette, is also his own mother!?
15. There’s a part in Fight Club where Marla and the Narrator are outside of a cinema and the film that’s playing is Seven Years in Tibet, which stars Brad Pitt who is also in Fight Club.
I know, I know. It’s a lot to take in.
16. Hiro Nakamura of Heroes is an avid Star Trek fan, yet his father in the series is played none other than the original Mr Sulu, George Takei!
17. In the noughties Britcom My Family, starring Zoë Wanamaker, two characters fight over a card out of a cereal box that has Madame Hooch from Harry Potter on it. Zoë, of course, plays Madame Hooch in the Harry Potter films.
18. In One Day at a Time, Leslie says he has “watched Netflix”. When Elena enquires which show he’s watched, he says he’s watched all of Netflix, which would logically included One Day at a Time itself!
19. Selena Gomez makes an appearance as herself in Disney’s Sonny with a Chance, but presumably doesn’t clock that Sonny looks exactly like her BFF at the time, Demi Lovato.
20. In Veronica Mars, Keith jokes that Veronica gets nightmares when she watches Paris Hilton in movies, but has she never put together that there was a girl at school who was PLAYED by Paris Hilton!?
21. We all know how Kimmy Schmidt likes to reference Friends, but does she not realise how much her own mother looks like Friends actor Lisa Kudrow!?
Now, let me leave you with this – In Batman movies, do Batman comics exist?
Can you think of any awesome celebrity paradoxes – they’re pretty addictive to think up! Share yours in the comments below.
TV and Movies
Get all the best moments in pop culture & entertainment delivered to your inbox.