Why are local cameos in animated Pixar and Disney films a thing?

Sam Thompson is set to star in Inside Out 2 as Security Man Sam

Sam Thompson recording a voice cameo for the UK version of Inside Out 2
Sam Thompson makes a cameo in the UK version of animated film Inside Out 2, he is the latest British celebrity to do so. (Disney/Pixar)

Animated films sweep viewers away into a magical tale through the talents of the voice cast, but sometimes there's a surprise in store for audience members when celebrities they wouldn't expect make a cameo.

Pixar and Disney have often enlisted the help of celebrities, who step in to take a small role in the latest release. It has become something of a longstanding tradition in recent years, with the cameos varying from region to region.

Read more: Everything we know about Pixar's Inside Out 2

For example, the UK version of Inside Out 2 will see Sam Thompson voice Security Man Sam, but this character will be voiced by someone different in each language the film is translated in. TV personalities like Rochelle Humes, Anne-Marie and Francis Bourgeois have all lent their voice to characters in different Pixar and Disney films in the past.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 21:  (L-R) Sandra Oh, Rosalie Chang, Lindsay Collins, Domee Shi and Anne Marie attend the UK gala screening of
Annie-Marie starred in the UK version of Turning Red, and helped promote the film alongside Sandra Oh, Rosalie Chang, Lindsay Collins, and Domee Shi at the UK gala screening of the film in 2022. (Getty Images)

Humes starred in Wish, while Anne-Marie appeared in the UK version of Turning Red, and the train enthusiast-turned-influencer made a brief cameo in Elemental. UK cameos have also included Gino D’Acampo in Luca, Jeremy Clarkson in Cars, and Lewis Hamilton in Cars 2 — while astronaut Tim Peake also made an appearance in Lightyear.

Stunt casting, which can also refer to when a celebrity is cast in a major voice acting role rather than a trained voice actor, is something that happens in every local region and seems to just be a way to give viewers a surprise by featuring a voice they may not expect to hear.

In a way, the local cameo is also used as big a promotion for the movie as the main cast themselves, or at least it seems that's the thinking.

Watch: Rochelle Humes discusses her cameo in Disney's Wish

Whenever a UK cameo is announced, for example, it is treated as a big deal with the person doing the cameo taking part in interviews, and appearing in behind-the-scenes footage. All of it seems to be being used to help promote the movie.

For some, it might be the main draw in seeing an animated film, so it is understandable why Disney and Pixar began this tradition.

Inside Out 2 premieres in cinemas on Friday, 14 June.