picture nabbed without permission
from Peter Gallagher's website
Robert Altman's The Player is a great little dig at the movie industry and to add authenticity he roped in a bunch of his film star pals to lurk in the background...a few more props for the set-decorator to carefully position around the set..."we'll have a couple of tables there and if you could put a Cher over here".
So Burt Reynolds and Angelica Huston are carefully placed to give the film that real Hollywood feel and Rod Steiger lurks and Andie MacDowell and John Cusack look uncomfortable. And, while it might be fun to spot them, it ultimately becomes an annoyance. Rather than authenticity you get stars as distractions, and rather than making the scene look real it ends up looking smug and phony (which possibly means that it worked perfectly)...
The film is still great despite this and a lot of that is because of Tim Robbins and Cynthia Stevenson (because I ♥ Joy Lass) and not so much because of Greta Scacchi whose role doesn't really get the depth it ought to have.