Celebrity cameos in ‘Spice World’ that we totally forgot about
Spice World, which came out today in 1997 in the UK (and in January 1998 in the USA), is one of the best movies in the whole wide world. Disagree with that statement and most 90s girls will fight you to the ground. Bright, campy, silly, and fun, it was everything I wanted in a movie when I was a little girl. And when I (finally) got Spice World on VHS for my birthday, I thought I had arrived. At the time I thought it was the coolest movie that had ever been made, and I didn’t need to watch anything else for the rest of my life.
It featured the best band in the world, who were also best friends, and who also ran around London having adventures. Really, what more could you ask for? I’ve since re-watched it a few times, and although I still enjoy it (and still may or not have a Spice World poster in my bedroom) I’ve noticed something really funny about this particular movie that went completely over my head as a kid: there are a lot of random famous people in Spice World. Like seriously, a ton. Don’t remember? Let me refresh your memory
Meat Loaf as the bus driver
That’s right: Meatloaf, as in “Bat Out of Hell” singer Meatloaf, was the driver on the Spice Girls physics defying tour bus (seriously, there was no way all the girl’s rooms could fit inside that bus!) And while Meatloaf is famous and successful in the real world, in the Spice World he drove the Spice Girls to and from every gig they went to. He has a lot of great scenes in the movie.
Elton John, as himself
World-renowned musician Sir Elton John makes a brief appearance in the film greeting the girls backstage at “Top of the Pops.” He basically says hello and gives out cheek kisses while they squeal ‘Elton!’ and tell him they like his glasses. Elton John’s appearance is very brief, but it was still one of the most fun and memorable ones in the film.
Elvis Costello, as himself
In what I personally consider to be one of the funniest scenes in the entire movie, one of The Spice Girl’s managers, Deborah, muses to their other manager, Clifford, ‘fame is such a fickle thing’ while sitting at a bar. Then the bartender walks up to them, and it’s none other than Elvis Costello, one of the most amazing musicians of all time. They of course completely dismiss him as part of the gag.
Alan Cumming, as Piers Cutherbertson-Smyth, the documentary filmmaker
Maybe you know Alan Cumming from The Good Wife or from his turn starring on Broadway in Caberet But a little remembered fact is that he also portrayed Piers Cutherbertson-Smyth, the hapless documentary filmmaker in Spice World. As Piers, Cumming was always one step behind catching the Spice Girls on film, and spent most of the movie desperately trying to get that perfect shot.
Hugh Laurie, as the fantasy sequence detective
Today Hugh Laurie is most well known as Dr. Gregory House on the TV show House, but back in 1998 he played a mustachioed detective in Emma B (Baby Spice) and Mel C’s (Sporty Spice’s) shared fantasy of how easily Emma B can get away with bad behavior because she’s cute. You can watch the clip here:
Roger Moore, as the ‘Chief’
Remember the weird, eccentric record label head ‘The Chief’? With his pet pig, his cryptic monologues, and his refusal to let the Spice Girls have any breaks he was the perfect pop star villain. However very few people realize that ‘The Chief’ is actually played by actor Sir Roger Moore, who played James Bond from 1973 to 1985. Even funnier, the more you see ‘The Chief’ as an adult, the more you realize that he was actually written to have a lot of Bond villain qualities to his character.
Dominic West, as the fashion photographer
Actor Dominic West, best known for playing Detective Jimmy McNulty on the HBO series The Wire, has a quick appearance as the photographer taking pictures of the Spice Girls during a fashion shoot. His appearance is over in a blink, but it’s still very cool to catch:
Richard E Grant, as Clifford, the Spice Girl’s manager
Clifford, the Spice Girls caring but put upon manager is played by actor Richard E. Grant, who you might recognize from Dr Who. You can see him in action as Clifford here.
Bob Hoskins, as Ginger Spice in disguise
In one of the many strange fantasy sequences that pepper Spice World, Clifford is pitched a show idea about the Spice Girls called ‘Spice Force 5’, which is a Charles Angels-esque show for the girls. The man pitching the show envisions Ginger as a ‘master of disguise’. In the sequence, Ginger walks into a telephone booth and walks out as a middle-aged man who flashes the peace sign and says ‘Girl power! Equalization between the sexes!’ and walks off camera. That man was actor Bob Hoskins, who you might recognize as Mario from the so-bad-it’s-good live action Super Mario Brothers’movie or from the classic Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
And there you have it! Some weirder celebrity appearances from Spice World! But what’s even weirder is that there’s a lot more where that came from, especially if you follow British pop culture. So if you haven’t already, give Spice World another watch. It’s worth it, trust us.
[All images courtesy Columbia Pictures]