Skip To Content

    23 Times Actors And Directors Snuck Their Own Kids Into A Scene

    The reason Angelina Jolie's daughter is in Maleficent is so cute!

    Nepotism is an obvious issue in Hollywood, with many major roles going to the children of people with industry connections. Sometimes, however, a director gives their own kid a quick cameo that's meant to be a fun Easter egg rather than a launching pad for their acting career. Other times, an actor's own child is cast to play the younger version of them because of their strong resemblance.

    ABC / Via

    Here are 23 cameos from actors' and directors' kids you probably missed:

    1. Angelina Jolie's daughter, Vivienne Jolie-Pitt, was given the role of young Aurora in Maleficent because the other 3- and 4-year-old actors "wouldn’t come near" Angelina in her villain makeup.

    Aurora encounters Maleficent in the woods
    Walt Disney Co. / ©Walt Disney Co./Courtesy Everett Collection

    "It had to be a child that liked me and wasn’t afraid of my horns and my eyes and my claws. So it had to be Viv," she told Entertainment Weekly.

    2. Mark Hamill's children — Nathan, Griffin, and Chelsea Hamill — all played resistance fighters in Stars Wars: The Last Jedi.

    the resistance fighters watch Luke
    Lucasfil via Disney+ / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / © Lucasfilm Ltd. /Courtesy Everett Collection

    They were also featured in a Star Wars book.

    3. When John David Washington was 6, he played one of the Harlem students in the end scene of Malcolm X, which starred his father, Denzel Washington.

    the student says "I am Malcolm X"
    Warner Bros. / Via

    Denzel's mother, Lennis Washington, also had a cameo in the film as Mrs. Johnson.

    4. Director Paul W.S. Anderson cast his daughter, Ever Anderson, to play the young version of Alicia Marcus, who was played by her mom, Mila Jovovich, in Resident Evil: The Final Chapter.

    Alicia watches a video message from her younger self.
    Sony Pictures Releasing / Via

    It was Ever's first acting credit, and she's gone on to have major roles in movies like Black Widow and the upcoming Peter Pan & Wendy.

    5. Maude and Iris Apatow played the daughters of their real-life mom, Leslie Mann, in Knocked Up, which was directed by their dad, Judd Apatow.

    Pete and Debbie have breakfast with their daughters
    Universal / ©Universal/Courtesy Everett Collection

    They reprised their roles in This Is 40.

    6. Before Tom Holland landed the role, director and actor Jon Favreau's son, Max Favreau, played Peter Parker in Iron Man 2.

    Peter is wearing an Iron Man mask and asking for Tony's autograph
    Marvel / Via Disney+

    The director himself played Happy Hogan.

    7. Tina Fey cast her daughter, Alice Richmond, as a young Liz Lemon in a 30 Rock flashback scene.

    young Liz is disgusted by weddings, but adult Liz is nervous to plan her own
    NBC / Via Hulu

    She returned for the 2020 reunion special.

    8. When Demi Moore played Samantha Albertson in Now and Then, her daughter, Rumer Willis, played her younger sister Angela.

    Samantha and Angela share dinner
    New Line Cinema / courtesy Everett Collection / Via

    Rumer also worked with her dad, Bruce Willis, in The Whole Nine YardsHostage, and Air Strike.

    9. Director George Lucas's daughter, Katie Lucas, had a singular line as Anakin Skywalker's childhood friend in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.

    she judges Anakin for working on his pod racer
    Lucasfilm via Disney+ / Jason LaVeris / FilmMagic via Getty

    His other children have also had multiple Star Wars cameos of their own.

    10. In Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, the younger version of Robert Downey Jr.'s character, Harry Lockhart, was played by his son, Indio Falconer Downey.

    young Henry puts on a magic show
    Warner Bros. Pictures / Via

    RDJ's wife, Susan Downey, was also part of the movie as a producer

    11. Mikey Day's real son (whose name Mikey and his family choose to keep private) played his onscreen son in the Saturday Night Live sketch "Children's Clothing Ad."

    Mikey holds his son, who's wearing an itchy Christmas sweater
    NBC / Via

    "He hit his mark, took direction like a pro, and was professional and polite to all the hardworking people around him. Plus, dude woke his ass up at 5 a.m. as he had a very early call time. So very proud of this little crusher," Mikey wrote on Instagram.

    12. Dakota Johnson made her acting debut in Crazy in Alabama alongside her mom, Melanie Griffith.

    Columbia Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection

    It was also directed by Melanie's then-husband, Antonio Banderas. 

    13. Director Alfred Hitchcock's daughter, Patricia Hitchcock, played Caroline in Psycho.

    Marion confronts Caroline at the desk
    Paramount Pictures courtesy Everett Collection / NBCUniversal via Getty

    She also played small parts in his projects Stage Fright, Strangers on a Train, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents

    14. Tom Hanks's daughter, Elizabeth Hanks, rode the bus with the younger version of her father's character in Forrest Gump.

    she refuses to let Forrest sit next to her
    Paramount Pictures/ Courtesy: Everett Collection / Paramount Pictures / Via

    Alexander Zemekis, the son of director Robert Zemekis, also had a cameo in this scene.

    15. Director Stanley Kubrick's daughter, Katharina Kubrick, had a brief cameo in Eyes Wide Shut as the mother of a boy played by her real-life son, Alex Hobbs.

    Dr Hartford examines a young boy's eyes while his mother watches
    Paramount Pictures/ Courtesy: Everett Collection / Warner Bros. / Via

    She also created several original paintings for the film's art department. 

    16. Bryce Dallas Howard appeared as an extra midway through A Beautiful Mind, which was directed by her father, Ron Howard.

    a crowd stares at Nash after his math lecture
    Universal Pictures / Jason LaVeris / FilmMagic / Via Getty /

    There's another cameo from the son of John Nash, the subject of the biopic.

    17. Kevin Smith cast his daughter, Harley Quinn Smith, as the younger version of his character, Silent Bob, in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.

    baby Silent Bob sits in a swing
    Miramax Films / Dimension / courtesy Everett Collection / Via

    Kevin Smith also wrote and directed the film. When Harley was older, she played another role in the franchise — Millennium "Milly" Faulken in Jay and Silent Bob Reboot.

    18. Christopher Nolan cast his son, Rory Nolan, as a little boy at the bridge in The Dark Knight Rises.

    Rory stares out the window of a bus that's stuck on a bridge
    Andreas Rentz / Getty Images / Warner Bros. Pictures / Via

    The working title for The Dark Knight, the previous movie in the Batman trilogy, was Rory's First Kiss

    19. Playing the role of Veronica's daughter, Liza Minnelli walks hand-in-hand with her mother, Judy Garland, in the closing scene of In the Good Old Summertime.

    the daughter holds her parents' hands
    Loew's, Inc. / Via

    Though uncredited, it was her acting debut.

    20. Hannah Montana was truly a family affair — Billy Ray Cyrus starred alongside his daughter Miley, but his youngest daughter, Noah Cyrus, also cameoed.

    a young shopper is shocked to discover the mannequin is actually the real Hannah Montna
    Disney / Via Disney+

    She cameoed on the show a total of seven times.

    21. Shiloh Jolie-Pitt played the baby version of Caroline in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which her father, Brad Pitt, starred in.

    Benjamin watches baby Caroline
    Paramount Pictures / Via

    It remains Shiloh's only onscreen role, though she later had a voice role in Kung Fu Panda 3 alongside her mother, Angelina Jolie.

    22. Bridget Fonda played an extra in Easy Rider, which her father, Peter Fonda starred in.

    Bridget is a little girl in the commune
    Columbia Pictures / Via

    Peter also wrote the script.

    23. And finally, director Ivan Reitman's son, Jason Reitman, told the Ghostbusters that his dad "thinks you're full of crap" in Ghostbusters II.

    Jason isn't impressed with the Ghostbusters
    Michael Loccisano / FilmMagic / Columbia Pictures / Via Getty /

    Jason kept the franchise in the family and directed the forthcoming Ghostbusters: Afterlife. 

    TV and Movies

    Get all the best moments in pop culture & entertainment delivered to your inbox.

    Newsletter signup form