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"Sometimes you gotta do the payback picture because your friend says you owe him." looks at camera—Ben Affleck as himself in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
Sometimes, to bypass the chore of casting, filmmakers will call upon their friends or previous colleagues to fill the roles, or even just write the roles for them. And then they do it again, and again, and again...
This can lead to actors being primarily associated with one another or a particular director, often leading to the (spiritual or otherwise) formation of movie-making cliques; the Brat Pack, Frat Pack and so on are good examples of this. Will very much cause cases of Hey, It's That Guy! for fans of the filmmakers.
- The Coen Brothers have frequently employed the services of John Turturro, Steve Buscemi, John Goodman, Jon Polito, George Clooney, and Frances McDormand (who is married to Joel Coen), among others.
- Kevin Smith helped to launch the careers of Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Jason Lee, Ethan Suplee, Jeff Anderson and Brian O'Halloran, many of whom have participated (willingly or otherwise, if the page quote is to be believed) in his other films. In addition, he has worked several times with George Carlin, Chris Rock, Tracy Morgan, Joey Lauren Adams, Guinevere Turner and Dwight Ewell. The friends he's used include Jason Mewes, Brian Johnson, Walt Flanagan, and Scott Mosier (also his long-time producer).
- The Frat Pack was established at the beginning of the 2000s with Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn appearing in comedies like Zoolander, Old School, Starsky and Hutch, Dodgeball and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. The latter brought attention to the likes of Steve Carell, Judd Apatow, Paul Rudd and Seth Rogen, who took up the mantle in these kinds of comedies when the original Frat Pack members started to become too expensive. And with 'Team Apatow' movies that grew from this, such as The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Superbad, Pineapple Express and Funny People, we often see Jonah Hill, Leslie Mann, Jason Bateman, and Gary Cole.
- A special award should go to Richard Elfman for this in "Forbidden Zone"; many of the characters are played by friends and family, including the film's accountant and the director's brother Danny, whose Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo play the Devil and his croneys.