Jean Reno is a famous French actor with Spanish roots. He gained popularity after the release of the drama “Leon” and was in demand as a lone killer. Renault attracted the attention of viewers and other films. In parallel, the comedic career of the actor was developing: he became popular as a count from the funny film “Aliens”. The pearls of the filmography of the artist were also the paintings “Wasabi”, “Unlucky”, “Da Vinci Code” and “Godzilla”.
Childhood and youth
Jean Renault, originally named Juan Moreno, was born in the Moroccan city of Casablanca. Parents were immigrants from Spain who had to leave their home country due to the coming to power of military dictator Francisco Franco.
For the first 12 years, the boy with his parents lived on the African continent, and then the family returns to Europe, choosing a more liberal France. But citizenship for foreign nationals was not easy, so parents had to get a job. Mom got a job as a dressmaker, and father went to work at a printing house.
When Jean was 17 years old, his mother suddenly died. To break into the new country, the guy needed a French passport, and for his sake, Renault was enlisted in the national guard. After serving in the army for 4 years and becoming officially a French citizen, Jean Renault decides to connect his life with a theater or cinema, since he was attracted to the profession of an actor from childhood.
In 1970, he begins attending acting classes at the renowned Rene Simon studio in Paris. In the same period, he takes a pseudonym, translating his name Juan into a French transcription of Jean, and discards the first two letters from his last name. During training courses, a young man earns money wherever possible. It is known that he worked as a driver, accountant, and even a customs officer.
After a while, having received a lot of theoretical knowledge, the aspiring actor makes his debut in television shows on local television in the series “One Secret a Day”, and later on the theater stage in the philosophical performance “This is a Man”, staged based on the works of Friedrich Nietzsche. The first full-length movie for Jean Renault was the painting “The Stolen Picture Hypothesis” in 1978.
Despite a fairly good career as a theatrical actor, things in the movies with Renault did not work out at all in his youth. Probably, the world would never have known about him as a great actor, if not for the meeting of Jean with the young director Luc Besson. In 1981, the short film “The Last but One” was released, after 2 years – “The Last Battle”
These films interested the viewer, but the next film “Underground”, which appeared on the screens in 1985, made France talk about Jean Reno, even though his role was secondary. The tall, stately artist (Jean’s height, according to various sources, 188-190 cm, weight – 86 kg) was distinguished by his charisma in the frame.
A series of films from other directors followed, for example, “The phone always rings twice”, “A purely personal matter”, “I love you” and “Red Zone”. After that, Jean Renault reunites with Besson and plays the role of diver Enzo Molinari in the film “The Blue Abyss”. This work brought the actor the first nomination for the Cesar Award.
In 1990, Renault plays a minor role as a murderer in the crime thriller “Nikita” and for the first time appears in the form of an unshaven lone killer, which will become his hallmark for many years. His favorite director, Luc Besson, upon seeing the episode in the movie Nikita, writes a script specially for Renault and develops a draft of the next film.
In 1994, the psychological thriller “Leon” was released and brought fantastic popularity to both the director and the leading actors – Jean Reno and young Natalie Portman. The creative biography of the actor rises to a new round.
Jean tried to change his mind about himself as an actor of one character and participated in films of other genres: in the historical comedy “Aliens”, the romantic comedy “French Kiss”, the modern western “Jaguar”, the surreal melodrama “Beyond the Clouds”, the fiery comedy “Place on cemetery ”and others. Some of these works were successful, but it was the image of a single villain that became for Renault a passing ticket to the world of American cinema and to the Hollywood movie sets.
The first overseas film for Renault was the blockbuster “Mission Impossible”, in which the main role is played by Tom Cruise. Director Brian de Palma invited the actor to the role of secret agent Franz Krieger, as he decided that Jean could impress the viewer without saying a single word. The next, even more successful, work was the science fiction movie Godzilla. This time, Jean Renault was given the opportunity to demonstrate the role of the “good guy”, and the actor did an excellent job with the image of a man saving the world from a monster.
The artist showed himself excellently in tandem with the famous Robert De Niro in the action-packed action movie “Ronin”. This work is considered the best performed by the actor in the last century.