To promote the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home on home video, Sony Pictures put out a Night Monkey trailer that utilized clips from the film. Not only did it call back to one of the film’s best jokes, it also served as an awesome look into an alternate world where the Night Monkey movie actually existed. Of course, in the age of digital filmmaking and social media, there’s no shortage of fake trailers out there, from the realistic-looking, to the downright amateur. But in the endless sea of amateur fan content, there are some that go the extra mile of actually employing famous faces to help sell the joke.
So, in the spirit of Night Monkey, here are eight times that real stars fooled us with fake trailers.
ARIEL WINTER in DORA: THE EXPLORER
The recently-released big screen adventure (featuring a teenage Dora) was better than it had any right to be, but it doesn’t hold a candle to this unmade masterpiece, starring Ariel Winter (TV’s Modern Family). The trailer reimagines Dora in the Tomb Raider mold, complete with gun-fights, explosions, and a shirtless male sidekick in the form of cousin Diego. Winters’ comic timing is on point, especially when the script calls for her to dish out some of the character’s trademark bilingual fourth wall breaking. Who knows, with Modern Family ending, and Hollywood’s tendency to reboot everything almost immediately, this Dora may get her chance yet!
DANNY TREJO in MACHETE
As far as fake trailers go, this one is unique in that it inspired not just one movie to be made, but two, in the forms of Machete (2010) and Machete Kills (2013)! Starring Danny Trejo (Con Air), Machete first saw life as a fake trailer in Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) and Robert Rodriguez’ (Sin City) Grindhouse double-feature (consisting of Death Proof and Planet Terror). Incredibly, Machete proved popular enough to graduate to full-length mayhem, and even more incredibly, it wasn’t the only fake trailer from Grindhouse to inspire an adaptation, as Hobo with a Shotgun also made it to the big screen.
DANNY MCBRIDE, HUGH JACKMAN, CHRIS HEMSWORTH, MARGOT ROBBIE in DUNDEE
Crocodile Dundee was a product of its time, as seen by the diminishing returns met by its sequels, but there’s no denying that, in playing the title role, Paul Hogan (Flipper) minted the character he will always be remembered for. Hence, the first Dundee trailer was met with great surprise upon its debut during Superbowl LII in 2018, looking for all the world like the latest Hollywood attempt to reboot a long-dead franchise. The trailer featured Danny McBride (This is the End, Tropic Thunder) as the son of the original Crocodile Dundee, and Chris Hemsworth as his exasperated Australian guide, along with cameos from Russel Crowe, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher, and Margot Robbie. Just when you start to believe in it, the trailer reveals itself to be a brilliant campaign for Tourism Australia. Well, played, Australia, well played.
EVERYBODY in MOVIE: THE MOVIE
There are no words to describe this. I mean, we could try, but the description would never add up to the amount of madness packed into this thing, created by the mad geniuses at Jimmy Kimmel Live!. The cast includes Edward Norton, Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin, Colin Farrell, Charlize Theron, Bryan Cranston, Tom Hanks, Jeff Goldblum, Gayr Oldman, Cameron Diaz, Samuel L. Jackson, Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, J.J. Abrams, Jason Bateman, Kevin James, Jessica Biel, Tyler Perry, John Goodman, Kate Beckinsale, Chewbacca(?!), Danny DeVito, Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, Christoph Waltz, Matt Damon, and George Clooney, complete with a soundtrack by Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler.
And yes, they made a sequel.
BEYONCE, JA-Z, SEAN PENN, DON CHEADLE, BLAKE LIVELY in RUN
Created to promote Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s (then-) latest tour, the trailer for fake film Run has it all: explosions, car chases, a forbidden romance, and more stars than the average Hollywood blockbuster, we honestly wouldn’t mind if this was turned into an actual film. From what we can see, the fictitious film tells the Bonny and Clyde-like story of a pair of romantically-linked criminals evading the law (or some such thing), complete with Beyoncé bemoaning her affection for a man who will bring no end of misery, to Jay-Z getting gravelly-voiced advice Sean Penn’s unnamed gangster. Seriously, how is this not a real thing yet?!
AUBREY PLAZA in DARIA
Aside from Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man, or Christopher Reeve as Superman, it is hard t imagine a more perfect intersection of actor and character than Aubrey Plaza (TV’s Parks and Recreation) as Daria. Based on the character who spun off from MTV’s Beavis and Butthead into her own show, Daria wove her cynical, sarcastic spell across five successful seasons and two movies. The trailer has Daria and best friend Jane returning to Lawndale for their high school reunion, forcing them to interact with the people they thought they’d long left behind. Dammit, Hollywood, you’re killing us by not making this one.
ROBERT DOWNEY, JR. and TOBEY MCGUIRE in SATAN’S ALLEY
Ok, this one is a bit of a cheat, seeing as the people involved are playing actors playing the roles, but it’s too good not to include! Basically, director Ben Stiller (Dodgeball) must have called in every favor he had in Hollywood to make Tropic Thunder, because, aside from Tom Cruise’s (M:I-Fallout) brilliantly insane turn as foul-mouthed super producer Les Grossman in the main film, this trailer feature none other than (now-)erstwhile superheroes Robert Downer, Jr. (Avengers: Endgame) as (pre-black face) actor Kirk Lazarus and Tobey Maguire (Spider-Man) as himself, getting down and dirty as a pair of monks with more on their minds than prayer. The whisper at the end gets us every time.
ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER in HAMLET
Director John McTiernan’s (Die Hard) Last Action Hero is nowhere near as bad as its reputation suggests, but it does have at least one scene that’s worth its weight in gold: bored by the legendary Sir Laurence Olivier’s (Spartacus) take on Hamlet, action movie fan Danny (Austin O’ Brien, The Lawnmower Man) imagines for himself an over-the-top, explosion-laden version starring his hero, Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator, Predator). It’s as awesome as it sounds. Who knows, if this one ever gets made, the spinoff possibilities would be endless! We could get that Sylvester Stallone as Macbeth movie we’ve all been waiting for!
What fake trailers made you wish that it was an actual movie? Tell us below!