The best cameos on TV: Look at the cast of ‘Mozart in the Jungle’
If you’ve watched Mozart in the Jungle then you already know what the rest of the world doesn’t – it’s the most underrated TV show currently airing. As the brightest jewel in Amazon’s streaming crown, you’d expect Mozart in the Jungle to be receiving high praise from just about every corner of the internet. Hell, maybe people should even be writing concertos for the first three wonderful seasons, and an aria for the fourth. But for some reason that just isn’t happening.
Regardless, you know it’s great and so does Film Daily, so maybe that’s all that truly matters? In honor of this wonderful show we’re counting down the ten best cameo appearances and regular guest stars who have appeared on the series starring Gael García Bernal. It’s the most wonderful Motley Crew of legendary musicians & composers and iconic stars of stage & screen the world has ever seen.
10. Nico Muhly
Muhly wrote “Marnie”, the Hitchcockian opera of season four, but he also wrote “Mozart” – the made-for-TV aria of the third season, which made his cameo all the more exciting.
9. Gustavo Dudamel
Fun fact! Maestro Rodrigo de Souza (Bernal) is actually based on real-life L.A. Philharmonic director Dudamel. So when he appeared as a stagehand trying to talk to de Souza in the season two premiere, it was the perfect meeting of minds.
8. Anton Coppola
Of course the conductor & composer enjoyed a cameo appearance on the show. Not only is he Francis Ford Coppola’s uncle, but he’s also the great uncle to Mozart in the Jungle producer Jason Schwartzman. All great connections aside, the man is also a revered musician who wrote the opera Sacco and Vanzetti, and conducted the premiere of Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men.
7. Jason Schwartzman
Schwartzman (Rushmore) also enjoyed a fun guest role in the series as an eccentric documentarian studying the transcendental power of music. His performance was a swaggering masterclass in quiet smugness, which is to say it was classic Schwartzman through and through. Meanwhile, Shwartzmann is no stranger to music, having produced a number of groovin’ tracks under his artist name Coconut Records.
6. Joshua Bell & Lang Lang
Bell shows up as a solo violinist during a New York Symphony concert in season one of the show. However, it’s his triumphant (and hilarious) return in season two which is perhaps the most memorable, in which Bell calls others out for their foot faults during what is supposed to be a friendly bowling match. The episode also includes popular Chinese concert pianist, Lang Lang.
5. Joan Jett
If you need proof of Mozart in the Jungle’s rock ‘n’ roll credentials, then look no further than the cameo role of Joan Jett during season four. She plays herself (of course) and is so badass that de Souza winds up giving her a piece of his collection – as you would do in the presence of such a queen.
4. Caroline Shaw
Shaw plays herself in a short cameo during the fourth season of the show, which is just as well. The composer, violinist, singer, and winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize is as much of a big deal as the show rightly celebrates her for being. The episode also includes a moment where Hailey (Lola Kirke) serenades the musical genius outside of her apartment.
3. Danny Glover
American actor, film director, and political activist Danny Glover enjoyed a cameo in the third season of the series. Naturally he played the mayor of New York, because what other possible role could you give to the man who is the boss at everything he does?
2. Wallace Shawn
Having enjoyed a diverse set of roles in everything from The Princess Bride and Clueless to Gossip Girl and Mr. Robot, Shawn is America’s greatest living character actor. So it’s no surprise that he fit right in with Mozart in the Jungle’s wild & diverse set of characters during his recurring guest role as “world’s greatest pianist” Winslow.
1. Monica Bellucci
Let’s all be honest about this, Bellucci turns in the greatest performance of any guest star to have appeared on the show. As reclusive prima donna Alessandra, Bellucci is fiendishly difficult and brings some delectable volumes of drama to the show.
However, before you ask – no, that wasn’t Bellucci singing in the show. Grammy-award winning soprano Ana María Martínez is actually responsible for Alessandra’s singing voice (but that doesn’t detract from Bellucci’s jaw-dropping performance.)
As a stay at home retiree I discovered this series on Prime T.V. recently. I watched the episodes back to back all the way through. The main characters are compelling. They are easy to like. The cameos were a welcome surprise. There is often a music appreciation type of scene that works very well. There is also a psychological background explanation of the artists, composers and conductors that I love. There were some things I didn’t like but overall it was fun.June 20, 2020