Actors are - if we’re being totally honest - an attention seeking bunch in the main. It comes with the territory, it’s kind of necessary to do the job. If you didn’t want people looking at you, you’d be a train driver, or a statistician, or basically anything other than an actor.
On occasion, though, actors buck the trend and actively seek to avoid getting credit for the work they’ve done. They’ll show up on set, read their lines, but when the big day comes and the film hits the multiplex, their name is nowhere to be seen.
There are multiple reasons why a thespian might not want to be credited with a performance, a surprising number of them positive. Perhaps they’re looking to maximise the impact of a surprise appearance in a movie. They could be looking for an incognito way to branch out into another genre, or just doing a job for a pal which doesn’t need scrutiny.
In other cases, actors may remove their credits out of pettiness, unsatisfied with their billing; they may even do so out of concern for their personal safety.
Whatever the reason, these horror movies found a way to add another shock - the unexpected presence of a star.
10. J.T. Walsh - Outbreak
Disaster maestro Wolfgang Petersen delivered one of his most underrated films in 1995’s epidemic horror Outbreak. As with much of his American work, it’s a big budget affair with a sprawling cast, boasting the likes of Oscar winners Dustin Hoffman, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Spacey.
The finest scene, though, takes place in the White House’s situation room, and slows the action for a moment in favour of a blistering monologue by the late great character actor J. T. Walsh. He plays the President’s chief of staff, and has assembled a task force to discuss the outbreak of the Motaba virus.
In a commanding two-minute speech, Walsh preaches the virtues of firebombing a small California town that has become the hotbed for the virus. He’s passionate but logical, whipping himself up to a crescendo as he barks orders at the assembled military and political contingent, ensuring he insulates his President from this difficult decision.
Walsh didn’t discuss the reason for declining a credit, but the decision helps to make his character feel more real among the major stars with whom he shares a screen. Walsh wasn’t the biggest name in the business, but he was the best actor in most of his projects.