Clint Eastwood’s latest film as director was uniformly savaged by the critics this year.

The 15:17 to Paris told the true story of three brave Americans who stopped a terrorist attack on a train in France in 2015.

Many reviews focused on the poor acting skills of the three leads, which seems odd because the three main actors playing the men who foiled the attack were the three men who foiled the attack in real life.

It’s an unusual way of making a film, and on this occasion it seems to have backfired, but it made me think of films in which people play themselves, or a dramatised version at least.

It’s mainly comedies that use this trick, the credits of the US comedy Zoolander are crammed with people playing themselves, from David Bowie and Paris Hilton, right up to the current US President, Donald Trump.

Interestingly, Trump has played himself in 22 films, looking at IMDB it’s fair to day Zoolander was as good as it got!

More serious films about real people occasionally have them in brief cameo roles (The real Erin Brockovich played a waitress in Erin Brockovich), but one of the most acclaimed films of 2018 has its subject centre stage as the lead.

In 2016 US rodeo rider Brady Jandreau sustained horrific head injuries when he was trampled by a horse. A dramatised story of his recovery and comeback feature in The Rider, starring Jandreau as a lightly fictionalised version of himself, Brady Blackburn.

Many others involved in his life and recovery also appear as versions of themselves. With its naturalistic performances and universal acclaim, you could say this rodeo rider ‘bucks’ the trend.

The Rider (15) screens at Kinokulture on Thursday November 15 at 7.30pm. Visit for more information.