10 Actors Who Aren't Afraid To Mock Themselves

9. Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich - Being John Malkovich

Birdman Edward Norton
Universal Pictures

Charlie Kauffman and Spike Jonze's prescient satire on celebrity culture is a classic. Presented with a strange portal in floor 7 1/2 of an office block, everyday people are able to experience the world through the eyes of John Malkovich. They can experience a vicarious thrill, from being congratulated on a particular movie or even cleaning his fridge. Malkovich has later commented that the film talks about, "We now lead virtual lives. We live our joys and sorrows and foibles through the lives of public people. It’s about the end of art. Because art has to take its cue from life".

To his credit, Malkovich gamely embraces the opportunity to play himself, presenting a heightened and pompous version of himself. The most memorable scene in the film is, of course, when Malkovich enters the portal. Inside his own head he can only see his face on the people around him in a crowded restaurant. It's a hilarious visual gag on the idea of the self-obsession we perceive celebrities to have, while also being deeply unnerving.

In later years, Malkovich enigmatically said of the, paradoxically, most defining film of his career as, “Kind of like if you get a blowjob from the wrong person, then your life becomes a blowjob".


Citizen of the Universe, Film Programmer, Writer, Podcaster, Doctor Who fan and a gentleman to boot. As passionate about Chinese social-realist epics as I am about dumb popcorn movies.