The pop cultural impact of 30 Rock can be felt in many ways, but the most improbable of them all is that Alec Baldwin is somehow cool all of a sudden. As we reported earlier this week, Baldwin is going to appear in James Toback’s new film — a mockumentary about the Cannes Film Festival — and he’ll be playing himself. Of course, there’s an argument to be made that he plays himself in 30 Rock anyway — but in any case, the news got us thinking about the whole idea of actors playing themselves, which seems to have been undergoing something of a renaissance in recent years. Here are a few of the most notable examples, good and bad.
Jean-Claude Van Damme (JCVD)
Who’d have thought that perhaps the finest “as himself” performance of the last decade would come from Jean-Claude Van Damme? We’re actually pretty big fans of Van Damme’s early martial arts films — Bloodsport is a genre classic — but even so, we’d be lying if we ever expected a performance quite as good as the one he puts in here as down-at-heel aging action star Jean-Claude Van Damme. As in, serious talk of actual Oscar nominations good. Funny old world, etc.