Juan Moreno y Herrera-Jiménez known as Jean Reno (born July 30, 1948) is a French-Spanish actor. Working in French, English, Japanese, Spanish and Italian, he has appeared in films such as Subway, Nikita, Léon: The Professional, Mission: Impossible, Godzilla, Ronin, and The DaVinci Code.
Reno was born in Casablanca, Morocco. His Spanish parents were natives had moved to North Africa to find work and escape the Franco dictatorship. He moved to France at the age of seventeen and studied acting in the Cours Simon School of Drama.
Reno’s career began in French cinema, where he appeared in many of Luc Besson’s films, including Besson’s first film, L’Avant Dernier (1981). The two have continued to work together throughout their careers, in films produced, written or directed by Besson. These include Le Dernier Combat aka The Last Battle (1983), and Subway (1985), the ones that have achieved the most critical and commercial success include: Nikita (1990), the English-language films The Big Blue (1988), and Léon: The Professional (1994). Additionally, Reno did the voice-over for Mufasa in the French-language version of The Lion King, a role originally performed by James Earl Jones.
Reno has starred in such high-profile American films as French Kiss (1995), Mission: Impossible (1996) with Tom Cruise, Ronin (1998) with Robert De Niro, and Godzilla (1998). He has not neglected to work in French productions either—e.g., Les Visiteurs (1993) The Crimson Rivers (2000) and Jet Lag (Décalage horaire) by Danièle Thompson (2002), which was also a box-office success in France and L’Empire des loups (Empire of the Wolves). In 2006, he had a prominent role in the abysmal remake of The Pink Panther and its sequel, he also portrayed Captain Bezu Fache in The DaVinci Code.
Undoubtedly, his best role is that of Léon, the lead role in Léon: The Professional (1994). The English-language French thriller was written and directed by Luc Besson, as well as Reno, it starred Gary Oldman as corrupt DEA agent Stansfield; a young Natalie Portman, in her feature film debut, as Mathilda, a 12-year-old girl who is taken in by the hitman after her family is murdered; and Danny Aiello as Tony, the mobster who gives the hitman his assignments.
Léon: The Professional is to some extent an expansion of an idea in Besson’s earlier 1990 film, La Femme Nikita (Nikita). In La Femme Nikita Reno plays a similar character named Victor. Besson described Léon as “Now maybe Jean is playing the American cousin of Victor. This time he’s more human.” The film received generally favourable reviews, although most of them focussed on the unusual relationship between the seasoned hitman and his 12-year-old apprentice, which was a breakout turn by young Natalie Portman, and of course Luc Besson’s stylish direction.
Also, as you can see from the post, he’s awesome material for caricaturists..!
A native Parisian, Anne Parillaud was born on 6 May 1960. While in school she studied ballet and her ambition was to become a lawyer, but a role during summer vacation when she was only 16 — in Michel Lang’s L’hôtel de la plage, launched her into the world of film. She and director Luc Besson have a daughter, but the couple separated shortly after he directed her in Nikita. Nikita was an especially intense experience for Parillaud:
“For a while she was in me like a demon. I would do things I normally would not do. She was awkward, depressed, full of despair. But to me there was also a spiritual underline to Nikita. In a very excessive way she is a loudspeaker of the youth of society today. She destroys herself because she doesn’t believe in anything on Earth.” In preparation for the role, she underwent three months of judo lessons and target practice to hone her skills as a government assassin: “I hate guns, I hate violence, I hate judo.” Her early ballet training also came in handy for one amusing scene though she modestly downplays her physical gifts, saying only, “I have a chewing gum kind of body. I just forget about the bones.” Despite the glamour and danger of her character, Parillaud cautions, “It never happens to me, this kind of story.”
After the international success of Nikita Parillaud left France to star in three films abroad: Map of the Human Heart, Innocent Blood and Frankie Starlight. She has said regarding the experience of playing a vampire in John Landis’s Innocent Blood:
I fell in love with Marie in Innocent Blood because she wasn’t born a vampire; she never decided she wanted to be. For me, it was a parable to talk about how you deal with this problem, which is when you are different. You think or you live or you want something different from everyone else. People don’t follow you, because it’s scary. You are quite alone in your choices.
She last starred in the French psychological thriller In Their Sleep (Dans Ton Sommeil), which was directed by Caroline du Potet and Eric du Potet.