We know John Cleese played Nearly Headless Nick… but sometimes I think of the potential there could have been for ALL of the living Monty Python members to make cameos in the HP movies. Think about it: there are five living members, including Cleese, and there are five prominent male ghosts living at Hogwarts (Nick, the Baron, the Friar, Binns, & Peeves). Oh, what could have been!
Screen captures of George Harrison’s cameo in The Life of Brian (the brief clip is also on YouTube, x :)).
Paul Cashmere: “I’m going to start off by talking about movies. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen ‘Monty Python’s Life of Brian,’ in which you have a cameo. I’ve search for your part, even on freeze frame. The problem with that movie is that everyone in it looks like George Harrison. Put me out of my misery. Where are you in it?”
George Harrison: “Well, if you’re looking for me, then everybody’s going to look like that. There’s just one little shot, it’s probably about 12 frames. Do you know the scene where he comes out of the room and there’s crowds of people in the house and John Cleese is there saying, ‘Those people with gifts form a queue on the left. Thse possessed by demons over to the right,’ and then he comes out and he says, ‘Brian, Mister Papadopolous has promised to loan us the mount for Monday.’ You have to go through it again and see that scene and it cuts across and I’m in the crowd. And I just say, 'Eh, hello, thank you or something… hello!’ That’s all it is!”
PC: “And you never got an Oscar for that, George?”
GH: “No, no, but I’m still hoping. Well, actually they wanted me to do the part of Christ in there, you know, at the beginning where he’s doing the sermon on the mount. That’s what they tried to get me to do, but I thoguht that’s a bit too controversial.”
PC: “Yes, for someone from Liverpool, England, that is a bit over the top, isn’t it!”
GH: [laughing] Yes, it is.“ - Undercover, 1996
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“It marked the beginning and end of George Harrison’s film career. George had been persuaded to appear in a short cameo and was given the little-sought-after role of 314th Jewish Man in Kitchen during the scene in which Brian returns home and finds a huge Messiah-expectant crowd lying in waiting for him. For George, the shock of finding himself in a crowd mobbing someone else was too much and he took early retirement and went back to his previous career as a musician.” - From Michael Palin’s speech given at the tenth anniversary of HandMade films, quoted in Very Naught Boys: The Amazing True Story of HandMade Films