Home > Films > P > The Player

Monday April 22nd 2024

The Player | 1992

The Player location: The Rialto, South Fair Oaks Avenue, South Pasadena
The Player location: Griffin Mill follows the doomed writer: The Rialto, South Fair Oaks Avenue, South Pasadena

After several years treading water with small-scale theatre adaptations, Robert Altman bounced back into the limelight with this joyfully scabrous satire on the Hollywood movie biz, crammed with insider knowledge and insider jokes as well as what must be the longest list of cameo appearances ever.

The cinema, where paranoid studio exec Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins) meets – and subsequently kills – David Kahane (Vincent D’Onofrio), the writer he thinks is sending death threats, is the the Rialto Theatre, 1023 South Fair Oaks Avenue, South Pasadena. The Rialto was seen in Scream 2, John LandisKentucky Fried Movie and of course it's where Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone watch Rebel Without A Cause in La La Land. The venerable movie house closed its doors in 2007 and, after a period of some uncertainty, has been bought and may yet reopen.

The Player location: Sunset Tower, Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, Los Angeles
The Player location: Mill gets a message to meet Joe Gilles: Sunset Tower, Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, Los Angeles

Griffin Mill gets a mysterious message to meet ‘Joe Gilles’ (the name of William Holden’s screenwriter character in Sunset Boulevard) in the patio of the Sunset Tower Hotel, 8358 Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood.

Built in 1931, this luxury block once housed Errol Flynn, Clark Gable and Howard Hughes. Legend has it, John Wayne kept a cow on the balcony. Whatever, it’s a stunning zigzag moderne tower, recently restored, and seen in movies as diverse as 1944’s Farewell My Lovely (aka Murder My Sweet), with crooner Dick Powell as Philip Marlowe; Barry Sonnenfeld's Get Shorty; Jean-Claude Van Damme actioner A.W.O.L.; Kathryn Bigelow's futuristic Strange Days. and the 2003 remake of The Italian Job.

Look out for the funeral scene, when the murdered writer is laid to rest. The cemetery is Hollywood Forever, 6000 Santa Monica Boulevard, between Gower and Van Ness, Hollywood. The tomb seen over the shoulder of sinister Detective DeLongpre (Lyle Lovett) bears the family name Douras, the real handle of Marion Davies – born Marion Douras – longtime partner of William Randolph Hearst, the original model for Charles Foster Kane. Also glimpsed is the Cathedral Mausoleum, where Rudolph Valentino, Peter Finch and the ashes of Peter Lorre lie.

And under the lawn behind the Douras monument lies actress Virginia Rappé, who died at Fatty Arbuckle’s notorious sex and booze party at the St Francis Hotel in San Francisco, 1921 (chronicled in lurid detail in Kenneth Anger’s book Hollywood Babylon). The cemetery also contains the mortal remains of Tyrone Power, Douglas Fairbanks Sr, Cecil B DeMille, John Huston, Paul Muni and gangster Bugsy Siegel among others.

Once a prime spot, overlooked by the water tower of the Paramount lot, the neighbourhood has declined and you’ll now find the cemetery tucked away behind a mini-mall. But how many cemeteries boast – or need – their own interactive site map? You might also recognise it as the cemetery where Britt Reid (Seth Rogen) and Kato (Jay Chou) decapitate the statue of Reid Sr in Michael Gondry’s The Green Hornet.

The police station in which Mill is questioned by Detective Avery (Whoopi Goldberg) was the old Pasadena Police Station, which stood at Holly and Arroyo Parkway in Pasadena. It’s since been demolished, but still extant are the clutch of Tinseltown landmarks Altman uses as backdrops.

The Player Story location: the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles
The Player location: the star-studded charity ball: the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Wilshire Boulevard

The star-studded charity ball is held in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 5905 Wilshire Boulevard, midtown, which is the art gallery through which Steve Martin famously rollerskates in LA Story.

The Player filming location: Geoffrey's, Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu
The Player location: Burt Reynolds makes a cameo appearance: Geoffrey's, Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu

The clifftop terrace restaurant, site of Burt Reynolds’ cameo, is swanky Geoffrey’s Malibu, 27400 Pacific Coast Highway, on a bluff above Escondido Beach in Malibu. It’s located on the site of the former Holiday House Motel, a 17-room beach hotel designed by world-famous architect Richard Neutra in 1948.

The hotel was the ultimate celeb destination, hosting the Hollywood royalty of its day, including Frank Sinatra, Shirley MacLaine, Lana Turner, and the seemingly inevitable John F Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe. The hotel has been converted into condominiums, but its restaurant lives on as Geoffrey’s.

And even more exclusive is the luxurious spa to which Mill retreats with June Gudmundsdottir (Greta Scacchi), which is Two Bunch Palms, 67-425 Two Bunch Palms Trail, Desert Hot Springs, north of Palm Springs.