The 24 Best Cameos in Asterix, Part 2


11. Eddy Merckx as a Belgian messenger

I was torn about including this one - as far as I can tell, Merckx was the Lance Armstrong of his day (which is good and bad in equal measure) and I didn't want to have to type his consonant-heavy name too many times. But look at the image! They totally nailed it. He could have gone even higher in this list except he plays almost zero role in the story - he's in it for one panel.


10. Lino Ventura as Centurion Felix Platypus

Appearing in Asterix and the Roman Agent, Lino Ventura was Italian by birth, kept his Italian passport throughout his whole life, yet was voted one of the greatest ever Frenchmen. 

He plays Felix Platypus, a centurion who mistrusts the spy-games and shenanigans of the eponymous Roman Agent. Better an honest brawl, he thinks, than outrageously underhanded provocation of uproar and infighting.


9. André Alerme as Orthopedix

A serious, dignified actor, Aleme was perfect for the role of Orthopedix, a brow-beaten husband tricked into thinking he owned a remote Gaulish village. (One which we know all too well cannot fall into the hands of an outsider.)

Upon arriving at the village, he is fortunate not to be immediately beaten up, but Asterix takes a shine to him.

A bourgeois role ultimately ending in redemption. Well played, sir.

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8. Jacques Chirac as Caius Preposterus

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Given that Jacques Chirac would go on to become President of France, it is strange to think that his cameo in Obelix and Co. would be the highlight of his career.

Yet that's the way it is. He gives a mesmerising, spell-binding performance. He chews scenery while delivering a timeless explanation of capitalist principles (which is used as a set text at Harvard Business School). No-one who reads Obelix and Co. will ever forget the name Caius Preposterus.


7. Laurel and Hardy as themselves

In Obelix and Co., Caius Preposterus (see above) corrupts Obelix by dangling fortune and influence in front of him in return for menhirs (stone obelisks). Obelix delivers menhirs to the Roman, who announces that unloading the cart is not fit work for a 'captain of industry'.

The menial task is delegated to a pair of luckless legionaries who bear a resemblance to the most famous double-act in movie history - Schwarzenegger and DeVito. I jest - I refer of course to Laurel and Hardy. Their brand of slapstick comedy violence is captured in the next scene as Hardy gets crushed by the menhir he's trying to move.

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6. Guy Lux as Showbusinus

Guy Lux lights up The Mansions of the Gods as charismatically slimy game-show host Showbusinus. So what was his job in real life?  A game show host!

This cameo ranks high on the list because it is so expressive; the character practically oozes off the page. I've never seen Guy Lux in action (he hosted a French show that was recreated in Britain as 'It's a Knockout') but it's clear he had a vivid personality and that Uderzo set it down on the page beautifully.

 


5. Kirk Douglas as Spartakis

When you need someone to lead a slave revolt against the mightiest army in all antiquity, you better go big. Biggest kneecaps? No. Biggest man-nipples? No. You need the biggest chin in Asterix history.

Only one actor can pull off such an appendage - Mister Kirk Douglas. 

In addition to being a well-realised drawing, Spartakis has a major role in the story - he steals Caesar's personal galley and triggers all the events of Asterix and Obelix All at Sea. The book might be weird and stupid but that isn't the fault of captain Kirk.


4. Bernard Blier as M. Devius Surreptitius

Bernard Blier acted in 138 movies and won a French Oscar.

But do you really need to know any more than he had a funny-shaped head? Lookit! 

He also has an hilarious Wikipedia entry - "His rotund features and premature baldness allowed him to often play cuckolded husbands in his early career."

In Asterix and the Black Gold he plays the head of the Roman secret service, which is modeled on the James Bond series - hence his name/title: 'M'.


3. Sean Connery as Dubbelosix

A super-spy, highly trained, highly attractive, highly recognisable. The name is Six... Dubbelosix. Who should we get to play this role? George Lazenby? Maybe next time.

The creators of Asterix are reported to have paid Sean Connery one million British pounds to appear in Asterix and the Black Gold.

In typical post-Goscinny shark-jumping  fashion, Uderzo couldn't resist polluting the story with talking animals - in this case a little fly that not only follows Dubbelosix around but is also in love with him. Sigh. But somehow, Connery almost makes it plausible.


2. Charles Laughton as Surplus Dairiprodus

The right word in the right place - so goes the motto of every writer who has ever spent a day crafting a paragraph.

And here we have the right actor in the right place - for Charles Laughton was renowned for his roles in Cecile B. DeMille's lavish, epic Roman dramas. Who better to star in the Asterix comics?


1. Raimu as Cesar Drinklikafix

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Asterix and the Banquet might be the Frenchest of all the comics - in French it was called 'The Tour of Gaul' and was inspired by the Tour de France. When Asterix and Obelix get to Marseilles they meet a helpful bar owner.

He's played by Raimu - one of the most highly regarded actors in movie history. Here he reprises his role in the 1931 classic 'Marius' - where he plays a bar owner in Marseilles... called Cesar.

And if you needed more reason to have him at number 1 - just look at the picture. Perfection!


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