Jean Reno


  1. Jean Hugues Anglade, 37°2 le matin (UK/US:Betty Blue), France, 1985.    “Many actors of my generation must have lined up in Beineix’s office,” Anglade told Frederic Albert Levy on the 2013 DVD bonus, “but he was still looking… Over the last six months, I believe he had seen people like Reno [Luc Besson’s find], François Cluzet, Head… Eventually, it was Dominique Besnehard [who discovered Betty herself, Béatrice Dalle] who, very accurately, suggested I meet Beineix.I believe Beineix hadn’t found his Zorg because he was after actors substantially younger than the characters in the novel. And he wanted to make a film ‘sexually committed,’ with actors ‘physically available,’ capable of using their bodies, of walking naked in front of the camera, in a very natural way. There was an exhibitionistic side in me…those were the days!”1. – Patrice Chereau, Last of the Mohicans, 1992. “Montcalm was the first interesting role I was offered   by Hollywood but [theatre director] Chereau was what they wanted.   More   sophisticated!”
  2. Patrice Chereau, Last of the Mohicans, 1992. “Montcalm was the first interesting role I was offered by Hollywood but [theatre director] Chereau was what they wanted. More sophisticated!”
  3. Gérard Lanvin, Mon homme, France, 1995.    Reno preferred Mission: Impossible. Like his replacement, he would have fretted over the nude sex scenes.
  4. Dennis Hopper, Waterworld, 1995.    “Three months in Hawaii would have made me an alcoholic!”  It simply improved Hopper’s golf game.
  5. Val Kilmer, Heat, 1995.    Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt, Keanu Reeves and even the Danish Carsten Norgaard and the French Reno were  on the cards for Chris Shiherlis in auteur Michael Mann’s latest crime thriller. Reeves took off to be (or not to be) Hamlet in Winnipeg of all places and  Reno’s American CAAgents did not  think he could take off in the States until Nikita.  “All I was ever offered – and refused – were killers!” By 1998, with French Kiss and Godzilla under his belt, he was co-starring with De Niro, anyway – in Ronin. And  in Paris.
  6. Jon Voight, Anaconda, 1997.    Reno was just finishing six gruelling weeks in Brazil for Le jaguar and was not keen on messing with snakes.  Voight’s river rat, said critic Roger Ebert,  was always on the delectable edge of overacting.
  7. Anthony Hopkins, The Mask of Zorro, 1998.    Inheriting Steven Spielberg’s pet project   (“he’s seen all the other versions”), Bond maestro Martin Campbell found Hopkins jumping ship and Alain Delon not even returning his calls. And so for the older Zorro, the Kiwi turned to “the best known French actor in America – yes, even more   so than Depardieu.”
  8. Hugo Weaving, The Matrix, 1998.    Nobody could understand the script – can you?” Preferred Godzilla to being all those Agent Smiths – or four months in Australias, just after three in America. Owch! The Wachowski siblings (then brothers Larry and Andy, now sisters Lana and Lilly) selected Weaving after seeing his Aussie film, Proof.
  9. Michel Subor, Beau travail, France, 1999.   “I love Claire Denis but again, it was not the right   moment.”
  10. Pascal Gregory, Jeanne d’Arc (US: The Messenger), France, 1999.    Reno was   been booked as   Gilles de Rais when Kathyrn Bigelow was due to helm. Once Luc Besson started his version,   he dropped his usual star because he was suddenly a comedy star (and in   costume) in Les visiteurs.

  11. Emir Kusturica, La Veuve de Saint-Pierre, France, 1999. Realisateur PatriceLeconte succeeded Alain Corneau and solved the director’s 1997 problem – finding the murderer who makes good.After considering Reno, Leconte mused about the actors in Kusturica’s Serbian films… and selected the director, himself. On the final day of shooting, co-star Juliette Binoche told Leconte she had suggested Kusturica as director when Corneau quit.
  12. Gérard Depardieu, Vidocq, France, 2001.      Gérard Lanvin was contacted -then Depardieu, Reno.
  13. Roschidy Zem, Le raid, France, 2001.    In the end, the very expensive comedy survived well enough sans any star baggage.
  14. Antonio Banderas, La femme fatale, 2002.     Copy-cat director Brian De Palmahad moved to Paris – to live and work. Pity.
  15. Gérard Lanvin, Le boulet, France, France, 2003.      Another day, another (action) comedy.
  16. Gérard Lanvin, Des parents formidables, France, 2009.    Part of producer Christian Fechner’s ensemble – with Christian Clavier, Isabelle Huppert – when the project was called On ne choisit pas sa famille.
  17. Denis Ménochet, Inglourious Basterds, 2008.  Two French stars actually refused the role of Perrier LaPadite in Quentin Tarantino’s Wild Bunch take on The Dirty Dozen.  Amazing!  They were Reno and, according to his very late, 2017 interview, Vincent Lindon. Reviews were mixed. From Roger Ebert’s rave – “a big, bold, audacious war movie that will annoy some, startle others… a director of quixotic delights” – and The Guardian’s PeterBradshaw’s “exasperatingly awful and transcendentally disappointing,” while Christopher Hitchens compared it to “sitting in the dark having a great pot of warm piss emptied very slowly over your head.”
  18. Jonathan Zacci, Robin Hood, 2009.   UK director Ridley Scott (who thought  the only good Sherwood film was made by Mel Brooks) considered three major French stars for unsultingly minor roles.  Such as the fast-fading  Reno as King Philip …which, surely, must be Philippe.
  19. Gérard Depardieu, Astérix et Obélix: Au service de Sa Majesté/Astérix and Obélix: God Save Britannia, France-Hungary-Italy-Spain-Italy, 2011.    Panic in Paris! The mighty Depardieuthought three Asterixian outings were enoughfor him – even if he didn’t need Obélix’s fat suit anymore!Desperate calls were made to François-Xavier Demaison (good thinking)(, Kad Merad andReno (lousy ideas)- and playing safe, the box–office king Dany Boon. He stayed aboard as the Norman leader Têtedepiaf because no one could substitute Depardieu.Except Depardieu!




 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  19