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‘Black Mirror’ Director Discusses the Celebrity Cameos in “USS Callister”

Jenna Anderson

01/02/2018

Viewers are still unpacking the newest season of Black Mirror, and what its array of cleverly-placed Easter eggs and celebrity cameos could come to mean. And now, the director of one of the season's standout episodes is here to offer some help.

In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, "USS Callister" director Toby Haynes discussed how the episode's two biggest cameos came to be. For starters, there's the blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearance of Kirsten Dunst, who can briefly be seen in the background of one of the "real world" scenes.

As Haynes reveals (and as some had speculated) the cameo resulted from Dunst's fiance, Jesse Plemons, starring in the episode.

"She was sitting on set with Jesse and was like, 'Can I play?'" Haynes revealed. "I said, 'sure,' and we placed her in the background. But when I watched the first take she wasn't there — continuity had taken her out because she wouldn't be in any of the other shots that day and I went crazy! I told them, 'Come on! I only need one shot!'"

A cameo that was a little more intricately planned was the inclusion of Breaking Bad and Bojack Horseman star Aaron Paul, whose voice can be heard as Gamer691.

"We went through about three versions looking for the right accent," Haynes explained. "Initially we were a bit broader in the comedy and Charlie was uncomfortable with it; he didn’t want to talk down to gamers."

"It was a hard balance to get; where the voice wasn’t patronizing and yet was still a letdown," Haynes continued. "You get this idea of a slacker voice and when I asked Charlie what kind of accent he wanted he said, 'How about Jesse from Breaking Bad, like, 'Hey ya’ll'? We mentioned that to our casting director and she suggested we just ask Aaron, so we picked up the phone and he said yes. That shows you the power of Black Mirror."

As it turns out, Paul had previously asked about appearing on the Netflix series, and that he offered to do the episode on one major condition.

"He very sweetly said he would only do it if it didn't take him out from doing another episode," she says.

Season four of Black Mirror is currently streaming on Netflix.

Black Mirror at on Netflix

Black Mirror at on Netflix

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