What the Hell Happened to Rene Russo?

rene russo 2013

Rene Russo came seemingly out of nowhere and became one of the top actresses of the 90’s.  She start in a string of hits for most of the decade.  She has worked with directors like Richard Donner, Wolfgang Petersen, Barry Sonnenfeld, and Ron Howard.  And then, as suddenly as she appeared, she left Hollywood for a six year hiatus.  These days, she plays the mother of the god of thunder in the Thor movies.

What the hell happened?

russo - modeling

Before acting, Russo started out as a model.  Russo signed with the Ford Modeling Agency and appeared on magazine covers for Vogue, Mademoiselle, and Cosmopolitan.  As she approached her thirties, Russo decided to give up modeling.  She began studying acting and working in regional stage productions.

russo - sable

In 1986, Russo made her acting debut on the TV adventure series, Sable.

The TV show was based on Mike Grell’s comic book, John Sable: Freelance.  Lewis Van Bergen starred as a vigilante by night who writes children’s books during the day.  His sidekick was a blind man named Cheesecake who pretended to be a stand-up comedian.  Russo was the girl with 80’s hair.

ABC cancelled Sable after only 7 episodes.

russo - major league

In 1989, Russo made her big screen debut opposite Tom Berenger in the sports comedy, Major League.

The movie focuses on a fictionalized version of the Cleveland Indians.  Berenger starred as the team’s veteran catcher.  Sheen played the rookie pitcher nicknamed Wild Thing.  Corbin Bernsen appeared in a supporting role as a prima donna third baseman.  Wesley Snipes played the cocky new  center fielder Willie “Mays” Hayes and Russo played Berenger’s ex-girlfriend whom he is trying to win back.

Critics gave Major League a passing grade despite the fact that it was a pretty formulaic sports movie.  The laughs and the execution were enough to earn mostly positive reviews.  Audiences liked it as well.  Major League opened in first place at the box office and earned nearly $50 million dollars.

russo - mr. destiny

In 1990, Russo starred opposite James Belushi in the comedy, Mr. Destiny.

Belushi played an everyman who believed that his life would have been better if he hadn’t struck out at a high school baseball game.  Michael Caine played a mysterious figure who grants Belushi’s wish.  Suddenly, Belushi is living the life he would have lead had he hit a homerun instead.  He’s rich and married to the boss’ daughter played by Russo.  But he finds himself missing his old life and his wife played by Linda Hamilton.

As with most James Belushi movies, Mr. Destiny was poorly reviewed and bombed at the box office.

Next: Lethal Weapon 3 and In the Line of Fire


Posted on November 15, 2013, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actress and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 95 Comments.

  1. Nice entry…any speculation as to why RR took a hiatus? Was it personal or because she was getting less “co-starring” roles and was just getting offered “crap” roles (which maybe she didn’t want to take)? [No sarcasm intended.]

    I must admit it was nice to read an entry lacking in “serious drama,” i.e., wherein the actress messed-up her face w/ plastic surgery; became crazy, a drunk, dope addict, or incredibly annoying to any and all in her orbit, appeared in career-wrecking bombs, etc.


    • This one was remarkably drama free. Which is surprising considering how many times Mel Gibson showed up.

      Usually, for a hiatus for an actress, I start looking at marriages, kids etc. Russo has a single child born in 1993. So I don’t think she left to raise her family per se. She made good money modeling for a decade. She made better money acting for another decade. I think it’s safe to say she didn’t need to keep working. Her husband is screenwriter Dan Gilroy. His career really seems to take off in 2005 which coincides with when Russo walks away. So there may be a connection there. I think certainly the roles she was being offered played a factor. When the modeling gigs slowed down, she walked away from modeling. The movie roles were definitely slowing down. I think she decided it was a natural point to just walk away.


  2. I think that Rene Russo is the type of actress who when you get right down to it, was never really a bona-fide or “true blue” box office or A-list star. Rene perhaps benefited from being at the “right place at the right time”. Rene was fortunate enough during the height of her career to co-star w/ actors who were either at that point, could be considered “legends” of the industry (e.g. Clint Eastwood, Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro, Gene Hackman, and Dustin Hoffman) or people who were on a “hot streak”. For example, she appeared in “Freejack” w/ Anthony Hopkins, fresh off of “Silence of the Lambs” (which basically, officially made him a household name), “One Good Cop” w/ the then reigning Caped Crusader in Michael Keaton, “Get Shorty” w/ John Travolta, who was still fresh off of his remarkable comeback thanks to “Pulp Fiction”, and “The Thomas Crown Affair” w/ the then reigning 007 in Pierce Brosnan.

    Even “Lethal Weapon 3”, which is generally considered to be Rene’s breakthrough role just so happened to be the third movie of a hugely successful franchise. Even “Ransom”, which teamed her again w/ Mel Gibson more than likely would’ve been a hit even had she not been in them. So it isn’t like people went to see “Lethal Weapon 3” and “LW4” and more recently, the “Thor” movies because Rene was in them. Rene Russo is basically the textbook example of a “star by association”.

    I also think that maybe Rene’s age caught up to her. I don’t know if that was one of the reasons if not the main reason why she dropped out of sight for six years (i.e. Rene didn’t like the scripts that were being offered to her), but it certainly didn’t help her cause. Anyway, to put things in perspective, Rene was 35 years old when she made her film debut in “Major League”. She was 38 when she made her breakthrough in “Lethal Weapon 3”. I think Rene like many actresses profiled in the WTHHT series, had the unfortunate distinction of being an actress who was mostly seen I suppose as a sex symbol (who for all intent and purposes have a very short self-life) who got “too old”.

    One thing that I’ve noticed and find remarkable about Rene Russo is that she looks a lot like Drew Barrymore (especially in that screen-cap from “Major League’). I’m kind of surprised that they haven’t been paired together in a movie yet as mother and daughter.


    • re: So it isn’t like people went to see “Lethal Weapon 3″ and “LW4″ and more recently, the “Thor” movies because Rene was in them.

      Slightly harsh, but basically true.

      re: Rene perhaps benefited from being at the “right place at the right time”. Rene was fortunate enough during the height of her career to co-star w/ actors who were either at that point, could be considered “legends” of the industry…

      In a way, RR — and I’m not trying to be A Big Meanie here — is to some extent a glorified supporting player. She was usually the “love interest” to the male star and hasn’t really been “THE star” except in a movie or 2 that was not commercially successful.

      As for “right place at the right time” that can apply to SO many actors/actresses, really…it’s the same with music. I’m a “music nerd” as well as a “film nerd” and I could easily name a dozen performers with RAVE REVIEWS up the wazoo but if THEY DON’T GET PLAYED ON THE RADIO, Americans aren’t really gonna give a shite about ’em. I say “Americans” not because I’m anti-American but in much of Europe and Japan, music fans are more loyal than the ones here. Example: There are American performers that could get arrested in the USA but are still popular there because Europeans don’t care if your last hit record was 35 years ago or if you’ve EVER had a “hit” AT ALL. If you’re good, they like you and still with/by you. Singers such as Roy Orbison (before his comeback), Gene Pitney, Carl Perkins, and Ben E. King were/are REVERED over there whereas in duh USA they’re generally considered “oldies artists” (or outright has-beens) and consigned to the nostalgia circuit. But I digress…my point, such as it is, is one could be the greatest actor/actress (or just really decent) in the world but if lotsa people don’t see your movies, you’re…just another good actor. At least some actors can go back-and-forth between stage, TV, and screen, while some…well, let’s us remember one of the best lines in the classic comedy “MY FAVORITE YEAR”:

      “I’m not an ACTOR, I’m a MOVIE STAR!!!!!”


      • I get the impression Russo was comfortable being the supporting player. She took all the girlfriend/wife roles other actresses said they didn’t want. And that was a recipe for success for her. Other actresses were always trying to pick more interesting (“showy”) roles. Russo just kept playing the love interest and the suffering wife. More often than not, she was eye candy. Every now and then, she got to really show some range. But those supporting roles served her well.


        • TWO FOR THE MONEY (2005):

          This is the classic formula boy is talented he is taken to the dark side under the wings of a hero. Gets cocky takes a fall. Fights his way back up. The only thing missing is he doesn’t meet a girl and fall in love. Which gives him his confidence back instead on his own. Instead of through the love I a good woman. Here he sleeps around (giving us again a bunch of scenes for him to have his shirt off with some day player actress/model who matches him in good looks) flirts with his mentor’s wife. Who gives him the good advice he needs in a more mothering nature. Since it’s Rene Russo and she Is top billed I am guessing that is why there is no real love interest. She plays that role without being physically intimate at all. It might be also because Rene Russo’s husband, Dan Gilroy, wrote the part of Al Pacino’s wife Toni especially for Russo and tailored it to fit her perfectly. He even used Russo’s real-life sister’s name Toni as the name of the character.


        • Rene in general after reading her comments about “not wanting to compete with an actor that she’s working with” seems to be extremely modest. I don’t necessarily know for sure if that at the end of the day, served as a detriment to her career. I suppose at that end, Rene didn’t seem to want to take too many chances and get out of a certain comfort zone.


    • One of my criteria for judging whether or not an actor is an A-lister is whether or not they can open a movie. Russo never did. She was in a lot of hits. Percentage wise, she had a really solid track record. But, she was never the main draw. I think she’s a fantastic actress, but never really an A-lister.


      • When I think of RR, Bonnie Hunt comes to mind also as the quintessential female character actor. The wife, the best friend. The female M. Emmett Walsh(es)! Only way cuter.


        • I totally just pictured M. Emmett Walsh in a dress and wig >shudder<


        • That slinky little dress from the Thomas Crown Affair, no doubt. Your welcome. I mean I’m sorry;) Hopefully the characters’ images won’t continue to be interchangeable (she says as diabolical laughter ensues)…


    • Rene Russo

      What happened to her career?,10559408

      She’s 57, OP. You know what that means in Hollywood. I saw her a few months ago on ACCESS HOLLYWOOD and she looked great. She said that when the offers slowed down, she decided to take time out to raise her daughter. Her daughter is now 18, so she was ready to work again.

      Rene Russo was the go-to actress when producers needed a solid, attractive, talented name actress who was affordable. You will notice that she co-starred with the biggest most highly paid actors of the ’90s – Travolta, Costner, Gibson. Her salary offset the sky high salaries of her male co-stars. I read an interview with her in which she readily admitted this adding she was very happy with the situation. Seemed liked a very level-leaded, likable lady.


      • Thread: Actors Hollywood Tried to Make Happen: Indiewire’s List:


        Then there’s the borderline cases of Andie MacDowell and Rene Russo. They were successful and both starred in some of the most popular 90s movies, but when Hollywood tried to create headliners for them, the films failed and wigs snatched.


        For Renee Russo, actually I put her as an exception of this list and one these unique cases in HW. She was first a model and then got her first roles at the age of 33 -An age where other actresses became competitive for relevant roles- and then for almost 20 years she starred a series of relevant films -Even when she’s in her 40s.-. I think she couldn’t have a better career -And think about it, she happened and in a successful way- given the circumstances as age and name recognition. An unique case in Russo case.


        Yeah, Rene Russo’s career is really quite something. As you said, she probably couldn’t have wished for a better career (except for that monkey film Buddy to have been any good). I still think that she was quite fantastic in The Thomas Crown Affair.


        I love Rene Russo!

        And as you say, she really had an unusually successful career. Like, she co-starred with almost every single male A-lister of the 90s… and she was actually their age!


        Rene Russo had a great run! But, then she had to go try to open her own movie. You’d think she would try to do a Gorilla’s in the Mist. But, nnnnoooooo! She used her Hollywood capitol to do another kind of Gorilla movie. Because, you know that Matt Le Blanc chimp movie was such a hit the previous year!


        Agreed. In Hollywood, where they make mismatch couples like Liam Neeson-January Jones or CZJ-Sean Connery, it was refreshing and impressive that Russo was the love interest or female co-star with 90s. male mature men -And close to her age not least- (Mel Gibson, Kevin Costner, Pierce Brosnan, John Travolta, Dennis Quaid). For an actress who started at 33 and then starring big films in the 90s. with male stars on her forties and early 2000s. it’s impressive and most an exception.

        Too Bad for Buddy though.


  3. D’oH!!! I meant to use the cliche “could NOT get arrested” above, but in the heat of the moment…I erred. Sorry.


  4. PS: I am one of the 73 people that liked “FREEJACK” — it wasn’t great, no not at all, but it was entertaining in a cool B-movie way. (And Anthony Hopkins was in it for maybe 10 minutes tops — a glorified cameo, really.) Like so many H’wood science fiction movies, it pretty much abandons the s/f aspects at a certain point to become just another “bunch of bad guys chasing resourceful good guy through a strange terrain” movie. (“IMPOSTOR” suffered from that too.)


    • I remember seeing Freejack largely for Anthony Hopkins who was hot off of Silence of the Lambs. I was not one of the 73 people who liked it. 😉 I don’t rmemeber much other than everyone I saw it with was utterly disappointed. It’s probably more fun than I remember.


  5. Spoiler Warning for Thor: Dark World

    Oh my. Rene Ruso provides class and intelligence to her roles. She is way more then “eye candy.” She may not be an A list star, but I am willing to bet she does not define her life by her box office draw. I was glad to see her in Thor. But she was killed off….I guess there is no chance to see here in the next Avenger movie?? Darn


  6. My impression was always that Russo was the right actress at the right time in that she was sexy but mature, so she was more realistic as a leading lady next to older leading men without being a dowager. That was a valuable quality. Also, she was a decent actress to begin with.


  7. Freejack is worth watching for Mick Jagger’s performance alone. Other than that, there isn’t much else of interest.


  8. Once again this choice demonstrates the wide variety of different answers to the whole question of WTHH to… the subject being written about. I had a similar impression to what Daffy wrote in that Russo as arm candy for more mature actors, in the Ann Margaret style. She seems to have sound judgment choosing projects, after all, it gave her a stable career, and she definitely has had excellent costars.

    Intrigued with the trailer for Tin Cup, and totally have to check out Two for the Money, critics or no critics!


    • I am glad you see it as variety. Sometimes I feel like I’m repeating myself. The broad strokes are always the same. It’s the details that vary.

      I bet you’ll enjoy Tin Cup. I’m not a sports fan and certainly not a golf fan, but I enjoyed it. Great chemistry between the leads.


  9. “Eastwood played a Secret Service agent who failed to save President Kennedy. Now he’s protecting a new president from a diabolical assassin played by Malkovich. Russo, I’m assuming, played Eastwood’s daughter. Wait! What? She played his love interest? Ew.”

    Better Clint than Woody Allen, I say.


    • I can’t argue with that. Every hot young actress in the last 20 years has been paired with Allen at some point. In the 70s, it was one thing. But 90s-current it’s just creepy. And I’m a fan.


    • IIRC they at least address the age difference. In Woody Allen films the dichotomy is so huge they just ignore it. OK- so Annie Hall is basically about the difference- but she dumps him for Warren Beatty in real life-


      • And to hang out with Paul Simon in the movie.

        Woody addressed the age difference in Manhattan. But that was creepy in its own right. As he got older, his co-stars rarely aged with him unless it was Keaton or Farrow. I’m sure Allen has bedded more than his share of young, beautiful women. That’s because he’s a legendary film director. But his characters are usually schlubbs. So what we saw on screen strained suspension of disbelief for everyone except for Allen who looked at Julia Roberts and said, “Sure. I could tap that.”


  10. Thor: The Dark World (2013) : What the Hell Happened to Rene Russo?

    Thu Nov 28 2013 23:41:06

    I guess that’s supposed to be some insult at her doing Thor or having to do Thor. Acting can be a tough business at times, especially for women who start to age a little. Leading roles don’t come around as often. Rene could be the exception still she appears to be in great shape and is quite attractive still. Not sure why she took a six year break. Actors do have real lives, sometimes with spouses and/or children. Could have been self-imposed, who knows.

    Fri Nov 29 2013 04:21:43

    I was going to say pretty much the same thing as the person before me. But I want to add in that there are many actors I’ve wondered about the same thing. Later I’d find that they have been acting nonstop the whole time, just not on screen. Many actors love the stage. She could be in some play in some big city all of this time… if not what the person said before me about home life with spouse and children. Hopefully it was not bad health. I think Sharon Stone left acting while she was trying to get her health back. Rene Russo seems to be in good health.

    Fri Nov 29 2013 08:17:27

    Nothing happened to her.

    Rene Russo was never interested in acting, apparently it was just a “job” for her.

    Fri Nov 29 2013 09:03:49

    What happened? Well she found out that they’re better things outside Hollywood crave for fame stupidity.

    Fri Nov 29 2013 12:32:02

    Whoever wrote that blog entry needs to get their head out of their bum.


    • re: What happened? Well she found out that they’re better things outside Hollywood crave for fame stupidity.

      That statement don’t hardly make no sense.


    • I wonder if part of the reasons for Rene’s six yer hiatus from movies is she wouldn’t accept the possibilities of having to take parts in which she wasn’t the female lead or a major focal point. Rene was never really a box office star (as previously mentioned, “Buddy” was the only movie that she made in which Rene was absolutely the star/main attraction), just a glorified supporting player.

      With that being said, I’m kind of curious towards why her appearance in the “Thor” movies didn’t do much to rekindle the public’s interest in her? It was almost as if Rene’s participation on those movies was an afterthought. It’s sort of like how Winona Ryder showing up as Mr. Spock’s mother in J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek” didn’t even do much to help her career.


      • I don’t know that Russo ever had that much of an audience to begin with. I think she did the Thor movies to occupy her time now that her kids are grown. I don’t think they were ever intended to spark a comeback.


        • After reading all of the stuff regarding other female WTHHT subjects, I’m at this rate, somebody who wouldn’t be surprised if the truth regarding Rene’s long absence from movies had to so w/ her being tough to work with. Of course, I don’t think that there’s so far, much of that kind of stuff on-line to justify such allegations.


        • I was thinking, does Rene have (or as ever had during her peak) a relatively sizable fan-base or following to call her own? I think I’ve said before that it seems like a lot of her success had to do w/ being at the right place at the right time and due to whom she was associated with.


        • I have always felt that way about Russo. She was always the girlfriend or the wife. When she attempted to step into the starring role, it was a disaster.


    • Re: What the Hell Happened to Rene Russo?

      Maybe she wasn’t getting worthy role offers and didn’t want to be in any more tom on duds like the remake of Yours, Mine and Ours. She didn’t start her acting career until 28 yrs old which is considered old in Hollywood but managed to star in and work with some of the best actors, directors, writers and producers. She’s already in her early 60’s and looks incredible still. With her Super Model looks like Andie Macdowal, she is an ageless beauty and a wonderful actress. Loved her in NightCrawler that came out last year which was a meaty role for her since The Thomas Crown Affair and she was in her late 40’s, naked with a sick bod, and had phenomenal chemistry with Pierce Brosnan whose actually a few years younger than her I think. I think she has enough money and other interests to pick and chose what’s worth it to work 12 hr days and her husband is a successful screenwriter as well.


  11. This is just “imho”: I hope some indie director casts Russo in a movie about ADULTS, such as “Enough Said,” which featured, uh, actors/actresses that were done all growed-up…sorta old, even. 🙂


    • I’d be all for that.

      I kind of get the impression Russo is working these days just to get out of the house. Like her kids told her to go make Thor to keep her busy.


  12. Rene Russo vs. Nicole Kidman (“Batman Forever”):

    So, Rene was originally going to be cast if Keaton was involved. I was watching In the Line of Fire (1993) the other day and she played a similar role to Nicole Kidman as Chase Meridian in that movie. But she was not over the top like Nicole was. She still had the sexy/sassy thing going on, but wasn’t baring her breasts all over the place like a crazed hooker.

    Anyone else have an opinion on this?


  13. What hits me most in this piece is the comment on Michael Keaton and “One Good Cop”, how that audiences weren’t interested in Keaton if he wasn’t telling jokes or fighting crime. I don’t know, film audiences are like fair weather friends: if you “change” from their initial impression, they don’t like you so much. To judge an actor that way though, I think, is unfair and superficial. I liked the film “Clean and Sober”, so I believe in Michael Keaton in dramatic roles.
    On Rene Russo: for someone who got off to such a late start, she chisled out a pretty fine film career.


    • I think that I’ve already said this before in the comments section for Michael Keaton’s own WTHHT, but I’ll say it again here just for the sake of the conversation. After “Batman”, I think that Michael Keaton’s career focus started to become a bit lost. What I mean is that it seemed like he wasn’t entirely sure if it was a good idea to continue playing comedic parts (for which he was primarily known for at that point) or do more “dramatic” parts in the vein of “Batman”.

      He arguably, started straying too far from what audiences liked or anticipated most from him. Keaton’s whole “bread and butter” so to speak was him otherwise goofy or manic “everyman” parts. You can argue that even playing Bruce Wayne isn’t that far removed from his personality, since Bruce Wayne himself could be considered rather eccentric.

      Perhaps, Keaton tried in to be I suppose a more “traditional leading man”, kind of like what Tom Hanks (who also shot to initial fame as a comedic actor before moving on to more “serious” roles like in “Philadelphia”) managed to do over time. Maybe part of Keaton’s problem is that he more than often didn’t pick the best projects (e.g. that “My Life” movie, in which he plays a dying man, who is making recordings for his unborn child or that “Jack Frost” movie, another sappy family movie about Keaton playing a “dead man”) that really properly utilized his talents.

      Walking away from the Batman franchise after only two movies really hurt Michael Keaton’s career in the long run. Granted, it will forever (no pun intended) debatable regarding whether or not Michael Keaton could’ve adjusted or adapted to a Joel Schumacher-directed Batman movie. But “Batman Forever” (based on the fact that it was better received commercially at least, than “Batman Returns”) pretty much showed that the franchise (at least for the time being, since of course what came afterward was disastrous “Batman & Robin”) could survive w/o him.

      The thing is that w/ Batman no longer in the picture, Keaton didn’t have any other blockbuster franchise that he could immediately fall back on or make people gravitate towards his “lesser known” projects. In essence, he eventually became “yesterday’s news” so to speak. What didn’t help is that Keaton (at least in my personal point of view) seemed to be somewhat ashamed or ungrateful of his association w/ the franchise. So in a way, I think what also hurt Michael Keaton is that it seemed like he didn’t do more in terms of “wanting to play the Hollywood game” (if that makes sense).


  14. thor will help russo a bit hopefully it will lead to more important roles russo was original choice for batman forever but fired after kilmer was replaced cause she looked old enough to be his mom she had a much better career then keaton more hits keaton is not a good actor there reason he didnt do alot of work for a while birdman looks good but not a good actor u can tell he lacks theatrical training hes a weak actor


    • I don’t think that “Thor” really helped Rene that much other than to remind people that she was still around. As I said prior, it isn’t like appearing in the 2009 “Star Trek” movie as Mr. Spock’s mother really did much to help Winona Ryder land more high profile roles. Other than this movie called “Nightcrawler” (and no, it’s not about the X-Men character), does Rene Russo have any other things on the immediate horizon. And quite frankly, I don’t think we should be talking about Michael Keaton’s movie “Birdman” until well after the movie has been released (then, maybe we’ll see if he can truly escape “WTHHT purgatory”).


      • Very good points all the way around. Thor basically reminded people Russo existed just like Ryder in Star Trek. Which is nice. But neither one of them staged a true comeback.

        Comeback’s are tricky. I have been warned by readers about so many subjects. I shouldn’t write about Helen Hunt because she’s going to win an Oscar for The Sessions and be all over the place. I shouldn’t write about Jodie Foster because Elysium is going to be a huge monster hit. Comeback buzz very rarely results in a return to relevance much less a return to stardom.

        I do think Keaton’s going to get some good buzz out of Birdman. What matters is what he does with it. If he can use that momentum to get a good Beetlejuice sequel made, he could stage a nice comeback. But I don’t think a return to stardom is something he’s particularly interested in. He stepped out of the spotlight for a reason. I don’t think he wants back in it now.


  15. Rene Russo – Rene Russo Quit Hollywood To Become A Dairy Farmer:

    Actress Rene Russo took time away from Hollywood a decade ago to perfect her gardening skills and become a dairy farmer.

    After shooting back-to-back films for years, the Outbreak star decided it was time to take a break from showbusiness after filming Yours, Mine & Ours and Two for the Money in 2004 and 2005.

    She did not return until she was offered a role in 2011’s Thor, and now she is revealing exactly what she was doing while she was away from the big screen.

    She tells Wenn, “I just did a couple of other things that I wanted to do, like work with the Dwp (Department of Water and Power) in California to start a garden.

    “I feel that California doesn’t have a sense of place because people just ripped everything out of the ground when east came west and brought their water loving gardens, so we’re in a huge drought. I have this completely native garden that I spent a lot of time with a designer doing. It’s an amazingly artistically creative thing to do.

    “And then I actually started a dairy company. I have 40 cows! It’s right outside of Buffalo and I have this friend who used to be a farmer and this incredible chef and he came to Christmas with this amazing milk and yogurt and I said, ‘You made this? You could sell this!’

    “It started and we’ve gotten amazing write-ups as the best yogurt in the country. It’s called White Cow Dairy. Whole Foods (grocery store) said they wanted us but we didn’t want to go because we wanted to keep it local sustainable foods for the farmers because they’re paying nothing. It’s helpful to the community and it’s really healthy. I thought this would be fun to do and we have one store (in Buffalo). So we’ll see where it goes.”

    Russo explains that the idea of playing Thor’s mother in the superhero blockbuster tempted her back to the movie industry, adding, “It was Thor and I was gonna play a queen. I was like, ‘Ok, what the hell’. It’s a small part, I got to go to London, so I’ll do it.”

    She has since made upcoming films Nightcrawler and The Intern, but she insists she will walk away from the limelight again if good scripts don’t come her way.

    Russo adds, “Nightcrawler was a killer role. I could not have said ‘no’ to this. I don’t know if there is another role that I feel excited about doing. I just take it one day at a time. If not, I’ll go milk my cows!”


  16. Rene Russo Discusses Her Struggle:

    Actress Rene Russo opens up to Queen Latifah about her personal struggle with Bipolar Disorder.


    • Rene Russo opens up about life-long battle:

      During an appearance on The Queen Latifah Show, actress Rene Russo got surprisingly candid when she revealed that she has been suffering from bipolar disorder since she was a child.


      • Rene Russo Has Bipolar Disorder. How She—and Other Women—Are Helping Make It OK to Talk About Mental Health:

        In an episode of The Queen Latifah Show that airs on Oct. 30, Rene Russo reveals something about her that none of us knew: She has bipolar disorder and is treating it regularly with medications. Here’s the clip.

        So Queen Latifah asks Rene (and Jake Gyllenhaal)—who are out and about promoting their new movie, Nightcrawler, these days—to reveal something they’ve had to push past in their lives. Rene says she’s had bipolar disorder since she was a child. “My mom said my whole childhood was stop-and-go. And then I stopped and was like, ‘Whoa,’ that was it for me. I didn’t really expect to say this, but that was really it for me.”

        When Q.L. asks Rene what made her decide to take medication, Rene says: “I literally crashed; hit a wall and couldn’t get out of bed. I thought it was depression, but if you take antidepressants it speeds you up more…. I haven’t shared this. I have friends who don’t want to go on medication, and they are suffering.”

        So, what is bipolar disorder? According to Ben Michaelis, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and author of Your Next Big Thing: Ten Small Steps to Get Moving and Get Happy: “It’s an emotional disorder that is marked by periods of extreme elation and depression,” he says. “The extreme elation is called mania and is characterized by inflated self-esteem, a decreased need for sleep, talking more (and more quickly than usual), experiencing racing thoughts, an increase in distractibility and goal-directed behavior, and a spike in involvement in high-risk activities, such as buying sprees, poor business investments, drugs, alcohol, or sex.”

        Medications, he says, can help stabilize moods, so someone doesn’t experience the highs or the lows or the behaviors—for example, “Impulsive behavior with the mania, or suicidal thoughts with the depression.”

        But here’s one of the things that’s really neat about Rene talking about this—and other women, such as Catherine Zeta-Jones, who sought help and subsequently talked about her own bipolar diagnosis in 2011—it helps take the stigma out of the mental health conversation.

        Says Michaelis: “Unlike many physical ailments, we have a long history of stigma against mental illness in this country. There was a period of time when psychological problems, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, were blamed on people’s families—and especially their mothers. When public figures have the courage to speak out, it helps to end the stigma and allows many people to get the treatment they need.”

        And all of that can only really be a good thing, right? Because if we’re able to feel OK talking about how we keep our bodies healthy, happy, and strong—and all the various challenges we stumble upon along the way, because that’s the way life is—we should feel OK about sharing how we do that with our minds too.


        • ‘I’m bipolar’: Rene Russo, 60, reveals lifelong battle with mental illness on The Queen Latifah Show:

          Rene Russo has struggled with bipolar disorder since she was a child.

          The 60-year-old talked about her condition for the first time during a taping of The Queen Latifah Show, set to air on October 30.

          While engaging in an informal chat to promote her film Nightcrawler with Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene spoke candidly about her childhood and her path toward managing the illness.

          Latifah asked both guests about something they had to ‘push through’ in their lives.

          But Russo surprised everyone present, including Gyllenhaal, as she opened up about her struggle with bipolar disorder.

          ‘My mom said my whole childhood … was stop and go,’ the actress explained about the disease which can see a dramatic swings in mood and energy levels.


  17. Rene Russo Finally Steps Back Into The Spotlight:

    Nearly 10 years after her last leading role, the beloved actress looks back at her career, her self-imposed acting hiatus, and why she’s back with the riveting Nightcrawler — for now.


    • Rene Russo on Nightcrawler, Career Regrets, and Not Having a Sex Scene With Jake Gyllenhaal:

      Nightcrawler, which is slowly creeping into this year’s awards conversation, features two polarizing characters – Lou (Jake Gyllenhaal), a drifter who chances upon a lucratie career shooting grisly crime scenes and selling the footage to a local TV news outlet, and Nina (Rene Russo), that station’s director, who seizes the opportunity to boost her show’s ratings and secure her shaky position. But is Nina a victim, manipulated by Lou as he ups his demands, or is she the one actually in control? Russo, who plays both Nina’s desperation and Machiavellian leanings with equal aplomb, chatted with Vulture about the sociopath in all of us, moral dilemmas, and the benefits of sleeping with her director (in this case, he’s also her husband, Dan Gilroy).


      • I watched Nightcrawler just yesterday- I’d call it a film that I appreciated more than I enjoyed, much like The Machinist- it’s well done, yet not that much pleasant in it. I felt her character was just jaded and desperate more so than an outright bad person- a pragmatist who gives the people what they want, without judgement, all to avoid being putting out to Pasteur, professionally speaking, because she’s passed her sell-by date as a believably fuckable on-air personality, her value in the production end relies heavily on the ability to crank out ratings. She can’t stand Louis and would rather be slapped with a dead fish then freak her body on ‘I’m, but her desire for dignity is outranked by her insatiable hunger to be perceived as “relevant” in her industry. For me, I felt that implying sexual relationship with bloom, a one sided affair born of blackmail, without actually showing it, was an interesting choice that better displays that sex aside there really is no intimate connection between them-it’s simply a cold business transaction, and shows more of Lou’s resentment of her power than it does any genuine fondness for her.


    • Q&A ‘Nightcrawler’ actress Rene Russo is a reluctant star

      Rene Russo hasn’t done much acting in the last decade. After starring opposite numerous handsome men — Pierce Brosnan in “The Thomas Crown Affair,” Kevin Costner in “Tin Cup” — she took a long, self-imposed hiatus. She spent time with her daughter — Rose, now 21 and a student at Colgate University — gardened and tried to make up for dropping out of high school by learning the names of all of the presidents.

      Though she had a small role as Thor’s mother in the Marvel superhero franchise, Russo’s first major part since 2005 comes in this month’s “Nightcrawler.” Written and directed by her husband, Dan Gilroy, the crime thriller follows a freelance cameraman (Jake Gyllenhaal) who sells his graphic footage to a local TV station where the overnight news producer (Russo) is desperate for better ratings.

      So have you missed acting?

      Oh, hell no! I read an article the other day about Julianne Moore — who I totally respect — and she talked about how much she loves acting and how exciting it is for her. And I thought, “Wow, I wish I had a little bit more of that passion in my work.”

      Did you ever feel that passion for acting?

      No. I didn’t. I dropped out of high school and started modeling pretty young. And I didn’t have a job. What was I going to do? I had no education. It is a stressful job for me.

      What made you want to do “Nightcrawler,” then? Was it because you’d be working with your husband?

      That was part of it. I’ve seen Dan struggle for years. We’ve been married 21 years. We’ve popped a bottle of Champagne on too many occasions that fell apart. I say he’s like rust. He never, ever, ever gives up. Only one time after movie after movie was shut down did he wallow. He said, “I feel like I’m writing in the sand.” It makes me want to cry!

      You’re tearing up!

      I’m so happy for him. Look at me, I’m crying. It’s ridiculous.

      I would have loved to go into more comedy. That didn’t happen. I think I was pigeonholed pretty early on.
      — Actress Rene Russo

      Did you get along well on set?

      A couple of times he came up and said, “I think you delivered that line a bit too sexy.” I said, “Really? Because she [her character] does use sex appeal. Even if she doesn’t realize, she has learned to use it.” And later, he did go back and say, “OK, you were right.”

      To many moviegoers, you’ve long been a sex symbol.

      I think early in my career, I didn’t choose films that were crappy films, necessarily, but I didn’t go out and campaign for smaller, better roles. I thought, “I’m going to make some money.” I looked at the future. I would have loved to go into more comedy. That didn’t happen. I think I was pigeonholed pretty early on. And I started late in my career. I was 33.

      Pigeonholed as a bombshell?

      Pigeonholed as the strong, confident woman — and the truth is, that’s a real acting job for me. Strong and in control — I don’t necessarily feel that way. I’m a little bit more scattered in my life. I’m more of a street girl, in a way. When I did “Lethal Weapon,” they needed someone who could say ” … you” with a gun and mean it — and because I was able to do that, I was pigeonholed in that way. But I think I would have been a good America’s Sweetheart. That’s what I would have loved.

      Like Julia Roberts?

      Or Cameron Diaz. I would have loved to do romantic comedies. That’s what I think I would be best at.

      So you based most of your early choices on paychecks.

      I mean, honestly, it was like, “How much does it pay?” I didn’t always do that. I loved doing “Tin Cup.” I loved working with Mel Gibson [in “Ransom” and two “Lethal Weapon” films]. That was great fun.

      Do you keep in touch?

      You know what? I owe him a call. I had a great time working with Mel. I have to say, he — out of all the actors that I’ve worked with — treated everyone equally.

      I think many people would be surprised to hear that, given some comments he’s made in recent years.

      Look, I’ve got to be honest — and he would say it himself — mental disease is really a disease. Yeah, he hurt a lot of people across the board. There’s no question.

      Critics are responding positively to your performance in “Nightcrawler.” Does that make you want to get back in the business?

      I don’t allow myself to get too excited because this business can be really disappointing at times. And then I have to think about getting dressed up and going to the award shows. It just sounds awful. They’ve got to be so stressful. And not everyone is thinking you’re looking great. I went to the Academy Awards one year to present, and you get all dressed up and you’re insecure anyway. And the next day, Joan Rivers said something like, “Oh, my God, what is wrong with her? Her hair is hideous.” And that, like, really hurt me, you know?

      You look pretty amazing for 60.

      People ask me, “OK, what do you do?” And what they’re saying is “OK, what doctor do you go to?” I always say sun and smoking are bad. In terms of what I do to my face — laser is amazing. Because I’ve always had a ruddy complexion and big pores. I’ve held out on Botox forever. But I just did some literally last year and I have to say, I love it. OK, so I did that. But no filler or lips that’s going to make you look strange.


      • Reading this interview, I get the feeling that Rene Russo pretty much views acting as a hobby of sorts (her bipolar issues most likely complicated matters) and not a means to an end. Like her career as a model, Rene likely after a while, got “bored” w/ her acting a career and walked away. It seems like know, Rene does roles for a quick paycheck (e.g. “Thor”) and a chance to once again work w/ past co-stars (e.g. Anthony Hopkins and Robert DeNiro) or projects involving her husband.

        The weird thing about Rene Russo and her self-imposed hiatus is that I’ve never heard or read about anything regarding her being difficult to work with. And I know that I’m kind of contradicting what I previously said, but she was a rare example of sorts of being an “older actress” (i.e. in her 40s) who was was pretty in demand during her heyday.


  18. Saw Nightcrawler today and found her performance in it to be pretty good. Jake Gyllenhall stole the show. But Russo held her own.

    This proves that she was at her best as an ensemble or supporting player. Not to say that she lacks talent. But that her performances were never really the lead type.


    • What really confuses me about Rene Russo is that it isn’t like she had a reputation of being problematic or difficult to work with. And she was still being hired for sizable roles in major motion pictures despite being a late bloomer of sorts.

      Rene has pretty much fallen “off of the grid” (even after she returned to acting after her seven year hiatus). I mean, she doesn’t have (as far as I know) any presence on social media (which is kind of an asset/necessity in this day and age) and she’s rarely seen in public unless she has something to promote.

      Rene has essentially, fallen in into the same trap or position of other “hot”, but “older” actresses like Michelle Pfeiffer and Kim Basinger. In other words, these women to now a days, drift in and out of movies, keep a low public profile, and all the while, (rather knowingly or not) seen their glory days slip into the past.


  19. i heard it has oscar buzz did u see birdman or gone girl or black and white


    • ‘Nightcrawler’ star Rene Russo needs to be in the supporting actress Oscar discussion:

      This year’s Best Supporting Actress field has more or less firmed up. It seems Patricia Arquette and Meryl Streep are ahead of the pack and have been for weeks. Keira Knightley and Emma Stone are on somewhat solid ground, rounding out the four with the HFPA/BFCA/SAG trifecta. Jessica Chastain is obviously in the mix and we’ve already written about Tilda Swinton being in the thick of it (as well as about why Minnie Driver deserves to be in the thick of it). Naomi Watts has her SAG nod, but that will probably have to suffice. And so that seems to be the field. But you know who really should be in this conversation? Rene freakin’ Russo, that’s who.

      I’ve delighted in seeing the “Nightcrawler” star pop up on a few critics’ nominations lists, and even win. But as Jake Gyllenhaal slowly works on cracking the Best Actor five, Russo’s stunning work needs to be remembered, too. I watched the film again last night and a few things stood out (not that they didn’t on first pass). It’s smooth as hell, for starters, clicked into place thanks to a water tight script that is just a dazzling showcase for actors. Also, Robert Elswit, man. But Russo in particular continues to stand out this season to me with her depiction of a forthright, determined news division head desperate for ratings.

      There’s a fragility there that gives the performance a whole other dynamic. Her Nina Romina is wounded and sexy and tenacious. Gyllenhaal’s Lou Bloom is rather an open book compared to her guarded, clearly wronged disposition. She’s someone who has struggled to make it in a man’s world, a career of regret palpable throughout. Ethically, she sold out long ago, but Bloom’s behavior in courting her reminds her of the tiny thread of dignity she still has, and the tragedy lies in what she’s willing to bargain away still. It’s a pretty timely character, really, but I’ll leave the zeitgeist connections between the film and current scavenging media obsessions for now.

      It’s a fantastic supporting performance in a movie I really and truly hope catches on with the Academy in other areas. The Gyllenhaal love has hopefully done its job in moving the screener up on the priority list for voters, but this race in particular really needs a shake-up. Hearing Russo’s name called on the morning of Jan. 15 would be such a huge shot of adrenaline for the category. My fingers and toes are crossed.


      • What to Do With Rene Russo?

        The dust from Oscar season has settled. The sky has opened up to reveal a glorious scene of birds chirping and a maternal, loving sun. Buds of creativity are in blossom as the next crop of films begin their festival circuit ascent. All is right with the world.

        In moments of reflection, I think about how the 2014 film awards fervor transformed entire careers — Michael Keaton being an obvious example. It is my hope, however, that the trickledown effect of six months of campaigning extends to more than just a former super hero star turned character actor.

        I’m referring, mostly, to Rene Russo.

        In fact, Russo’s sublime work in Nightcrawler was not even recognized by the Academy. That didn’t stop her from winning Best Supporting Actress Award from the San Diego Film Critics Society. She also raked up nominations from BAFTA, Denver Film Critics Society, Detroit Film Critics Society, Online Film & Television Association, and more. The National Society of Film Critics gave her third place, while LAFCA made her their runner-up.

        She got about as close as an actor can get to Oscar attention without securing love from the Globes or SAG.

        The oversight is irrelevant, as Nightcrawler garnered Russo unprecedented critical praise for her work, and renewed attention from millions of fanboys. And this coming from an actress whose appeared in the MCU, Marvel Cinematic Universe.

        The acclaim lavished on Russo is well-deserved, highlighting an unheralded Hollywood career. Russo did not make her screen debut until her mid-thirties following a career modeling. Actresses well into their thirties like Kate Winslet and Reese Witherspoon are considered legacies, already transitioning into roles as moms and heavies. But 1989 introduced filmgoers to the late-blooming Russo in Major League. She was in her late 30s by the time she was cast in the Lethal Weapon franchise, and featured prominently into In the Line of Fire.

        What is unique about Russo — besides her unquestioned beauty — is the combination of elegance and intelligence she brings to her characters. And, more remarkably, she always romanced characters in her age, a rare feat in an industry constantly casting young actresses in May-December romances. In 1995 and 1996, she held her own opposite John Travolta in Get Shorty, Dustin Hoffman in Outbreak, Kevin Costner in Tin Cup, and Mel Gibson in Ransom.

        Her work in Get Shorty particularly stands out. Burdened with a stupid boyfriend in Gene Hackman, Russo is an aging scream queen who relies on her brains to outmaneuver the bad guys. It’s a wry Hollywood satire that ultimately rewards Russo’s Karen, who overcomes industry sexism by becoming a high-powered producer. It’s quintessential Russo: whip-smart, self-aware and unafraid to challenge her often legendary co-stars.

        At age 45, Russo seduced both audiences and Pierce Bronsnan with her sexy, alluring work in The Thomas Crown Affair. (Not to mention a generation of teenage boys.) I don’t intend hagiography, but it’s refreshing that an actress well into middle age was first cast, then embraced for such a blatantly sexual, yet affirmative role. In this regard, Russo has few peers.

        Of course, the downside is Russo was mostly utilized as a love interest throughout her career. And two exceptions – opportunities to demonstrate range/ carry a film on her own — were both dismal flops: Buddy and the Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle.

        She spent the past decade sidelined besides her thankless work in the Thor series, which is why it was a pleasure seeing her return to prominence in Nightcrawler last year. Naturally, the film’s writer-director was her husband, Dan Gilroy.

        Now 61, Russo has another chance to secure her quiet legacy. Meryl Streep single-handedly dominates the conversation as the most prolific actress of her generation, and the new wave of female-driven projects seem primed to a younger batch of actresses. But we should not forget Russo’s ineffable presence, an old movie star charm rarely seen these days. How many other actresses have held their own with the likes of Clint Eastwood? (Answer, as always: Streep.)

        Luckily, Russo is next showing up in a movie by Nancy Meyers, a filmmaker with a Nora Ephron-like tendency to give good parts to middle-aged actresses. (Again, see Streep.)

        Many often disparage the endless cycle of awards, and most of the time they are right. However, if the (inadvertent) exposure gave an actress like Russo a second shot who might’ve otherwise been consumed by mainstream film’s ageism, it can’t be all bad. Onward with the comeback.

        The question is: does Hollywood have a place for her?


      • Is Jake Gyllenhaal a box office star? Or is he only able to turn a profit

        due to traditionally starring in low budget films?

        Gyllenhaal has had several indies/low budget films same as the likes of Ryan Gosling and Joseph Gordon Levitt. But who has the better box office resume. They’ve also done several big studio films. Neither are box office champs. If you look for that title it would be the likes of Channing Tatum or Chris Pratt (among their age group). But where does Jake stand in your opinion (box office wise).

        Jake’s low budget/indie films:

        Donnie Darko with a budget of 6 million grossing 1.2 million
        End of Watch with a budget of 7 million grossing 48 million.
        Nightcrawler with a budget of 8.5 million grossing 38 million.
        Brokeback Mountain with a budget of 14 million grossing 178 million.

        Jake’s big studio films:

        Jarhead with a budget of 70 million grossing 97 million.
        The Day After Tomorrow with a budget of 125 million grossing 544 million.
        Prince of Persia with a budget of 200 million grossing 334 million.
        Zodiac with a budget of 65 million grossing 84 million.

        Jake’s medium size films:

        Southpaw with a budget of 30 million grossing 91 million.
        Love and Other Drugs with a budget of 30 million grossing 102 million.
        Prisoners with a budget of 46 million grossing 122 million.
        Source Code with a budget of 32 million grossing 147 million.

        His highest opening weekends were:

        Day After Tomorrow in 2004 with 69 million
        Prince of Persia in 2010 with 30 million
        Jarhead in 2005 with 28 million.
        Prisoners in 2013 with 21 million.
        Southpaw in 2015 with 17 million.

        His average film gross is 40 million (when you calculate the 22 films he’s starred in)

        Is it simply that he rarely appears in films that appear to be audience pleasers or is he just another in the long line of talented actors but box office poison?


  20. Did Renee Russo co star in friends season 1 episode 14?


    • Episode 14 from season 1 was The One With the Candy Hearts. Rene Russo was not in it. She has never appeared on Friends.


    • No, that was actually Heather Medway. Her name in that episode was Kristen (Ross’s date). In real life, she is currently married to actress Rachel Bilson’s father and they have 2 children of their own.

      Source: Netflix binge marathon had me asking the exact same question.


  21. Tin Cup: the most underappreciated romcom of the 1990s?

    Kevin Costner, Rene Russo, golf and Ron Shelton. Why Tin Cup is a 90s classic…

    We don’t write about many romantic comedies on this site. A couple of reasons. Firstly, a comfortable majority edge firmly towards the soon-to-be-official Netflix category known as “insufferable shit.” Secondly, as we’re regularly reminded, some things aren’t that geeky to write about (although we don’t quite interpret the rule that way).

    More importantly, though, we don’t write about something like Pretty Woman very often because we’ve got nothing to say about it, at least at the moment.

    Tin Cup, though? A whole different story.

    “Sex and golf are the two things you can enjoy even if you’re not good at them.”

    My personal affinity towards the work of Kevin Costner is something I’ve never hidden. I can’t think of a movie star who took more bold choices at the height of their powers, and for the most part, continues to do so.

    His record with romantic comedies, however, is a bit up and down. The Bodyguard I laughed quite a lot at, but I’m not sure it was meant to be a comedy. Rumor Has It didn’t really work for me, and Message In A Bottle had a last act that was bold, but steered it very firmly away from a genre it had only been flirting with in the first place.

    However, Bull Durham stands tall, the first of Costner’s films made with writer-director Ron Shelton. Shelton has a career that demonstrates how to make a sports movie on the surface, but ultimately not really make it about sport at all. Examples? As well as Bull Durham, there’s White Men Can’t Jump, and Play It To The Bone, along with the extraordinary and little-seen Cobb.

    I’m going to risk the wrath of many though by suggesting that not only is Tin Cup his finest sports movie, but also that it’s the best romantic comedy to come out of Hollywood in the 1990s.

    From the off, there’s a relaxed confidence to Tin Cup. It’s not that it’s slow, rather it’s not in a hurry. It starts, for instance, at a golf driving range where armadillos amble around freely. Shelton keeps the music easy, puts in some shots of golfers firing shots into the sunset, and establishes a pace that he barely varies on for the rest of the movie.

    But then pretty much everything he sets up in the first third of the movie he stays true to. In particular, the character of Roy ‘Tin Cup’ McAvoy. A brilliant hitter of a golf ball, he chugs back a beer, walks around in a vest when we first meet him, and to his loyal team, he puts a riddle.

    It’s the one about the father and son who both have an accident and end up in different hospitals. I won’t spoil it here, but it serves as a good entry point for the attitudes of the driving range team (who Shelton mines excellently for comedy, not least in the early stages), and the intelligence of Rene Russo’s Dr Griswold.

    Rene Russo was a regular in blockbuster movies throughout the 1990s. Two Lethal Weapons were her highest profile roles, but she was always great value in Outbreak, Get Shorty, Ransom, In The Line Of Fire, and The Thomas Crown Affair, to name but a few (she was even mooted for Bruce Wayne’s love interest in Batman Forever, when Michael Keaton was still attached).

    But I think I like her performance and character in Tin Cup best. Here, she’s a psychiatrist, who wants to learn a bit of golf, and she’s a marked contrast to McAvoy. Whereas McAvoy is self-destructive, impulsive and barely thinks more than a minute forward, Griswold is intelligent, far more controlled, yet unwilling to take a risk. It’s hard to buy quite why she’d be with Don Johnson’s wonderfully oily golfer David Simms, but we’ll come to that later.


    Anyone even vaguely familiar with romantic comedies will see the ingredients assembling a mile off. Here are two characters who could learn something from each other, and perhaps need to. Both has something the other doesn’t.

    Yet Russo doesn’t swoon into his arms, and it’s McAvoy who has to put more of himself on the line. There’s an easy self-depreciation to Costner’s performance here, and it particularly comes to the fore when he ends up subjecting himself to Griswold’s professional analysis. It’s one of several gently funny scenes in Tin Cup, that doesn’t go for an outright guffaw, but instead targets a slow burn chuckle, that sticks in your head for days.

    Anyway, the third part of the jigsaw is Johnson, in a role once earmarked for Pierce Brosnan. We didn’t get much of him in major movies in the 1990s, but here, he’s playing one of the best golf players on the planet, and a man who appreciates, and belittles, McAvoy’s ball-hitting genius. The status quo is established early on, when he hires a flat-broke McAvoy to caddy for him. This also establishes – and we see this several times over the film – the tendency of Costner’s character to self-destruct.

    Now in lesser hands, when we get to the last act of the film, both Griswold and McAvoy would be completely changed characters, and they’ll each have learned something from the other. What I particularly love about Tin Cup though is that that never really happens.

    Each has brought something out of the other, certainly, but the core of both characters lies in those we met back in the driving range at the start. They end up drawn together because they’re the same people, and McAvoy does indeed – come the big finale – self-destruct in the way that Shelton’s script has told us he will do throughout the film.

    “You think a guy likes me bothers to worry about the percentages?”

    Cards on the table, though: I absolutely love the end of Tin Cup. I think it’s genius. Because Ron Shelton sets it all up perfectly for the expected euphoric moment, where Roy McAvoy’s strategy of not avoiding risk, and not laying up and ever going for the safe shot, finally pays off.

    The stakes are made clear. He reaches the final hole for the third and final time running in the tournament, and if he plays the sensible shot, he’s virtually assured of winning the US Open. Instead, though, he tries the big hit, and completely blows it.

    That said, at first, all goes to plan. And no matter how many times I watch the film, and know what’s coming, I always desperately want him to land the ball in the right place and finish first. Still, he hits the ball, it goes over the water, and lands within putting distance of the hole… only for said ball to trickle back into the water, as Johnson’s suitably smug – and safe – David Simms looks on.

    Has McAvoy’s chance gone? Well, it certainly has by the time he again stays consistent with the character that’s been carefully crafted for the two hours beforehand. McAvoy, we’ve been told all along, will blow up at some point, and he seemingly does. He keeps playing the same shot over and over, dropping from the lead to 16th place in the process. And eventually, he’s down to the last ball in his bag. Instead of playing to win, he’s playing to avoid disqualification.

    Then, and only then, does McAvoy get his Hollywood shot, with the ball finally clearing the water, landing perfectly in the hole. It’s the shot that purveyors of Hollywood romantic comedies had been expecting minutes earlier, and it only comes when the stakes have apparently been substantially reduced. But there’s the secret that Hollywood movies often forget: smaller stakes often pay bigger dividends.

    It’s here when we get the moment where Russo’s and Costner’s character traits seem to temporarily reverse. McAvoy has a moment where he mourns what he’s lost. Griswald is euphoric. Shelton’s ending trick is complete: McAvoy hasn’t won the US open. He’s won, for want of a better way of putting it, sporting immortality. Nobody, we’re told, will remember who won the Open that year. Everyone will remember the man who took 12 shots to finish the final hole. Shelton further makes his point as we see Simms digging another young admirer out of the crowd, as McAvoy and Griswold, with far deeper smiles, head off to a better life.

    Furthermore, as a result of all of this, Griswold’s business booms, with Shelton tipping a hat to the sports psychiatry industry that’s commonplace today.

    Can you think of a modern romantic comedy with a much better final act? I’m not sure I can. Well, When Harry Met Sally, but that was late ’80s. That’s modern-ish, not modern.

    “When a defining moment comes along, you define the moment or the moment defines you.”

    The genius of Ron Shelton at his best is that he writes and directs sports films that require no love or interest in the sport to work. Just as when Paul Giamatti describes mournfully a bottle of wine to Virginia Madsen in Alexander Payne’s wonderful Sideways, and gets his message across subtlety whether you’re a wine addict or not, Shelton uses the cover of sport to get to the guts of human beings. Both he and Kevin Costner also seem to bring the best out of each other.

    It’s not that Ron Shelton’s script needs to, or does, layer dialogue particularly deeply. But when Costner talks about the perfect golf shot, the fact that he has no fixed finishing position, his choice of the ‘big dog’ over the safe club, it’s clear what’s being got at. That Griswold buys herself all the equipment she can to help her with her golf also tells its own story.

    Away from Costner and Russo, there are treats elsewhere in the supporting cast. Notwithstanding real life golfers being asked to deliver lines which – let’s be charitable – they don’t put across wonderfully well, I do love Cheech Marin’s role as McAvoy’s long-suffering caddy Romeo, who quits and keeps coming back, and gets a nice ending of his own to the film with Linda Hart’s Doreen.

    But it’s Johnson who’s clearly having a ball. There’s something wholly convincing about his rivalry with McAvoy, and his desire to put him in his place. Shelton stages two excellent moments to put this across. The first is a simple challenge to hit a ball as far as possible, where McAvoy just goes for it and Simms outthinks him, getting a free, shi**y car in the process. The second is the staged sequence where McAvoy has to hit a golf ball through a bar and make a pelican fly away.

    Shelton, throughout, adds a slight tension to these scenes without breaking the easy tone of the film. And when it comes to the US Open at the end, it’s really quite gripping. That’s from me, a non-golfer.

    Johnson is in the middle of the only scene in the whole film that feels just a little contrived to me, where he refuses to give an autograph in a pissy fit that just happens to be witnessed by Griswold. This is the bit where their relationship basically ends (and, fact fans, it features Kevin Costner’s parents as the two fans trying to get an autograph for their son. Kevin Costner’s son, as it happens), and it’s the only part that feels like it’s bowing to the economical storytelling sometimes demanded by the romantic comedy genre.

    But it’s one very slight misstep in a romcom that manages to be both romantic, and comedic, without ever wanting to make you throw up. For Tin Cup, ultimately, is a film for grown-ups about grown-ups, and not in a pretentious way. Bursting with great performances, it’s a film with its own tempo, whose resistance of anything gimmicky lends it a surprisingly timeless feel on rewatching.

    It was the first film Costner made post-Waterworld, and it would be fair to say he chose very wisely indeed.


  22. Monster Crap: The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (2000)

    If this was there attempt to make Rocky & Bullwinkle big, it failed big time. On a $76 million budget, this film only made $35 million worldwide, which is less than half. This (along with the bomb that was Dudley Doo-Right) also caused Jay Ward cartoon properties to not be made for a long time (despite the success of the George In The Jungle movie). It wasn’t until last year that they tried again with Mr. Peabody & Sherman, which was smartly made an animated feature and after writing 20 minutes of bullshit that tries to place these two in the real world, the writer decided to just fuck all that and go with why the cartoon was so popular (namely having them go through time and shenanigans happen). That movie was a huge success. And with films like the Smurfs and Alvin & The Chipmunks being a success in the 2010s, I think this Rocky & Bullwinkle film could have succeeded if it was released 10 years after when it was released.

    The critics were mixed on this movie with Roger Ebert liking it to most critics being rather disappointed. The movie got nominated for one Razzie for Rene Russo’s performance, but thankfully it was beaten out for that dishonor by Kelly Preston as tongue girl in Battlefield Earth. Despite being actually good in the film, Jason Alexander says that he only did the film for money and has since apologized for doing it, an apology that has replayed a number of times on the Howard Stern Show.

    Rene Russo (while still doing films) has done less and less films and has focused on being a mother while battling bipolar disease. Robert De Niro is still Robert De Niro, which is sometimes a good thing and sometimes a bad thing. Jason Alexander has sadly still not been able to shake the Seinfeld curse and has dealt with bad movies and cancelled TV shows. Piper Perabo was someone who they were really trying to push to stardom (with this along with Coyote Ugly), but she has had to settle with being a great supporting player and while she did have a hit TV show she starred in called Covert Affairs (where she met her husband), it ultimately got cancelled due to low ratings in the later seasons. She also is in a movie I really need to see as it has been delayed for a while, called Into The Grizzly Maze, where two brothers are in Alaska and are being stalked by a killer Grizzly Bear (you might have heard of it from its past names of Red Machine, Endangered, and Grizzly).

    I’ve basically joked about Randy Quaid being crazy and that is for very good reason. In 2006, he sued Brokeback Mountain for pay reasons. He and his agent says he got a bonus so he dropped the lawsuit although the producers deny that. He and his wife got arrested for spending a night at a hotel and left after not paying for the $10,000 they owe for the stay and whatever they did there. They were released on bail and then proceeded to not show up for court dates. Randy’s case was ultimately dismissed and the wife had to deal with probation and community service. They then got arrested a couple months later for breaking into and living in a guest house without permission. Adding to the weirdness was it was property they had already sold to the current owners. Randy Quaid just recently got released from jail for that crap. During that whole case, the two tried to run away to Canada, but Canada was like “Fuck that noise”. They also produced a small documentary about something they believe in called Star Whackers, basically believing that there was a criminal conspiracy to kill celebrities and then blame it on other things, like drugs or autoerotic asphyxiation. It was reviewed as drugged out dreck by one critic and while it was shown one time, it has never been released otherwise. He also apparently abused his fellow stage performers in a musical he was on.

    Unfortunately, there have been several members of the cast who have sadly passed away. Harrison Young (who played General Foods) died at the age of 75 in 2005. A few days later, Myrna Niles (who played Average Grandma) died at the age of 72 due to complications after a fall. Jonathan Winters (who had 3 roles in the film) died in 2013 at the age of 87 of natural causes. His last role was as Papa Smurf in the 2 Smurf movies. John Brandon (who played General Admission) died in 2014. But the most heartbreaking of all was a few months before that when James Rebhorn (who played President Signoff) died at the age of 65 due to complications from melanoma.

    Now for my opinion of this film and yeah, it definitely is a disappointment to the cartoon it is based off of. While some of the jokes were on the nose and would have done very well in the cartoon, this film suffers from a script that brought plotholes in, told you that the film knew about the plotholes, and failed to fix them and just basically told you to shut up. It basically kept telling that it knows it is a bad movie and never getting around to making itself good in a meta sense. It is kind of like WCW, it can tell you continually that it is bad, but with nothing to argue that it isn’t bad…it makes the viewer agree that it is bad. As far as the acting goes, the voice acting is very good here. Jason Alexander should really not be embarrassed by this because he actually did a good job, even if he did do it for the money. Piper Perabo is as cute as a button and she plays that pretty good here. Renee Russo is just okay and is not deserving of the Razzie nomination she received. If anyone deserved a Razzie (besides the scriptwriter), it is Robert De Niro. His “method acting” on this character was just mind numbingly bad. But in the end, this does deserve its place in the unhallowed halls of Monster Crap.


  23. Diane Lane:

    She seemed to take over for Rene Russo, the pretty cipher sidekick to the Aging Male Star (Harrison, Mel, Sylvester, Kevin, etc.). Her career stalled after teen-ager for a reason.
    reply 72


    • I disagree with anonymous; Diane Lane has made some dubious project choices throughout her career, but I don’t think she’s ever been the pretty cipher sidekick (a little maybe in “The Glass House”, but I liked her drug addled character in that run of the mill film).


  24. Russo, along with fellow WTHH alumni Geena Davis and Molly Ringwald, makes WatchMojo’s list of Top 10 Hottest Redheads: Iconic


  25. Who is Rene Russo Excited to Work With on The Intern?

    I am a fan of actress Rene Russo. Why doesn’t she do more films?

    —Matthew G., Hartford, Conn.

    A: She’s picky. Russo, 61, plays a masseuse in The Intern, which opened Sept. 25. She jumped at the part because it was a chance to work with Robert De Niro again. “I go on the set having fun. I don’t ever try to compete with an actor that I’m working with,” she says of her roles opposite some of Hollywood’s biggest names, including Mel Gibson, Pierce Brosnan and Kevin Costner.


  26. MR. DESTINY (1990)

    This was also one of the first film I remember Rene Russo co-starring in. The only one I remember before this was MAJOR LEAGUE. Here she is more the ideal and the temptress and she is a knockout. Though not that much is asked of her and her character.


  27. Associates For Breast And Prostate Cancer Studies To Honor Rene Russo And Richard Wright, MD At Annual Talk Of The Town Gala;_ylt=AwrXoCE0CFRWQEIA49HQtDMD;_ylu=X3oDMTByYnR1Zmd1BGNvbG8DZ3ExBHBvcwMyBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzcg–

    LOS ANGELES, Nov. 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Associates for Breast and Prostate Cancer Studies (ABCs) hosts its annual, star-studded Talk of the Town black-tie gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Beverly Hills, Saturday, Nov. 21, 2015. The gala benefits breast and prostate cancer research at the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center. Award-winning actress, producer and model Rene Russo will receive the Spirit of Entertainment Award. Pacific Heart Institute president Richard Wright, MD, will be honored with the Spirit of Hope Award. The event features a special performance by Grammy Award winning artist Pat Benatar, and actor/comedian Anthony Anderson, hosts. Sheri Rosenblum is gala chair and Beverly Cohen is decor chair. The gala includes a luxury boutique and silent and live auction items.


  28. AFM: Vertical Grabs ‘Frank and Cindy’ Starring Oliver Platt, Rene Russo (Exclusive)

    Vertical Entertainment has secured worldwide digital rights to G.J. Echternkamp’s autobiographical comedy Frank and Cindy, starring Rene Russo, Oliver Platt and Johnny Simmons.

    The feature looks at Echternkamp’s own relationship with his mother Cindy (Russo) and stepfather Frank (Platt), the later the bassist of ’80s one-hit wonder OXO. Simmons plays Echternkamp. Jane Levy and Marc Maron co-star.


    • Los Angeles will be punting a lot more come September, now that the NFL Rams moved back there. Not sure if football is religion in L.A., more like entertainment is.


  29. 15 Movie Stars Who Peaked in the ’90s


    The odd thing about Rene Russo was that she teetered on stardom for so long without ever fully achieving it. She had a stellar run of releases, was widely recognized as a wonderful performer, yet fell into oblivion once time and age decided it be so. It was great spotting Russo in 2014’s Nightcrawler, though it’s clearly done little to spark a “Renesance” of any kind — shame too, given the PR possibilities of that title. Between that and being Thor’s mom, Russo’s talents as an actress are nowhere to be seen, which is unfortunate, given the past projects in her portfolio.

    A portfolio, funnily enough, built on the strength of one hell of a ’90s. A tough blend of beauty and brawn, the actress announced herself opposite Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon 3 (1992), setting in motion a series of parts that included In the Line of Fire (1993), Get Shorty (1995), Tin Cup (1996) and The Thomas Crown Affair (1999). Russo could go toe-to-toe with the best of them, and such intensity served dazzling thrillers like Outbreak (1995) and Ransom (1996) with an emotional anchor. Fingers crossed that the “Renesance” is still possibility.


  30. Why Lethal Weapon 3 was a low point for the franchise

    The promise

    Let’s conclude by remembering what the film got right.

    Rene Russo’s Lorna Cole was a refreshingly capable romantic interest: expert martial artist, a verbal match for Riggs, and a competent police officer. It’s a shame she has to get shot at the end to fuel 30 seconds of ‘lethal weapon mode’ in Riggs, but at least she was sensible enough to wear two vests to protect against the armour-piercing bullets (the ballistic science seems a bit dodgy to me considering those bullets tore through a bulldozer blade and an oil barrel, but we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt).

    There are also some lovely lines nestled in the dialogue – some of which were provided by Carrie Fisher’s famed script doctoring – and the Clapton-infused soundtrack remains moodily cool despite the added injection of Sting.

    And even though he behaves appallingly for much of the run time, you can’t deny the easy charm and chemistry that Riggs shares with Murtaugh – Gibson and Glover really did have that routine down pat.

    So when all’s said and done, is this the worst of the four films? I’d have to say for me it probably is. Lethal Weapon 4 certainly has its issues, but at least it has a memorable villain in Jet Li. The big bad in Lethal Weapon 3 doesn’t even get a mention in its own retrospective…


    • As a fan of the Lethal Weapon series, I have to agree with this article that LW3 is the weakest of the films. The first film in my mind is a legitimate action-film classic and the 2nd one is quite entertaining too. Part 3, however, is not really horrible but moreso just….. watchable. The only positive things I could say about LW3 are: Mel Gibson and Danny Glover always have a wonderful, engaging chemistry together and that holds true even here. And Rene Russo was absolutely terrific as Mel Gibson’s love interest. It’s these two factors that at least save the film somewhat and at least make it watchable.

      Lethal Weapon 4 is just modestly better in my mind (Jei Li made for a captivating nemesis) and for years Warners kept asking Mel Gibson to star in a Lethal Weapon 5 (this was back when he was still one of the biggest movie stars around) and he kept refusing, stating that “we barely caught the edge of the cliff with our fingernails on the 4th one”, which is an assessment that I would agree with.


      • I agree with Mel Gibson perspective on that as well; I thought “Lethal Weapon 4” was passable (I don’t feel it’s better than part 3 though, which is when I began to see some slippage), but I viewed it once and I’m all set (with all the main characters shoehorned it, it had a variety show feel for me). The first two in the series though, I’d check in on anytime. Yeah, “Lethal Weapon 5” likely would’ve been freefall.


    • 10 Dead Movie Franchises That Hollywood Must Revive

      Lethal Weapon
      This one seems like nonsense, but bear with me here. The Lethal Weapon series is a case study in the law of diminishing returns: but unlike other franchises, which just get crappier through negligence and decreasing budgets, a decline in quality was actually built into the story of broken maverick cop Martin Riggs and his itchy trigger finger.

      Essentially, the first Lethal Weapon film saw the pairing off of Riggs and his long-suffering, genial superior Roger Murtaugh, and Murtaugh’s realization that his new partner – a decorated Vietnam special forces veteran who’d just lost his wife, the love of his life – was coming apart at the seams, and may well have a death wish.

      Mel Gibson and Danny Glover’s easy chemistry is what made this buddy movie work so well, and Murtaugh’s friendship with Riggs, despite his abrasive personality and deep psychological wounds, is the engine that drove the narrative of all four movies. Yes, four movies – four films that see Riggs become happier, better adjusted and more stable as he gets older, that see him find love again, and a family.

      By the time Lethal Weapon 4 rolled around, this wasn’t a psychologically-edgy action franchise anymore, but a zany comedy series, Gibson and Glover’s chemistry co-opted for self-consciously goofy repartee and daffy set pieces as Riggs and Murtaugh traded exaggerated reaction shots, while under heavy fire, to the news that they were about to become a father and grandfather, respectively.

      Lethal Weapon only works the way Lethal Weapon is supposed to work if the damaged, unstable one is actually damaged and unstable. A putative Lethal Weapon 5 should reverse the pairing. With Murtaugh now retired and Riggs in a desk job, he’s placed back on the streets when he’s partnered with a fresh transfer to Homicide: a young detective with a chip on her shoulder that, rumor has it, is more than a little crazy.

      Find someone that Gibson has chemistry with, who can handle fast-paced, intense action scenes and looks like she crawls into a bottle and plays Russian Roulette every night (Caity Lotz springs to mind), and Bob’s your mother’s brother. You’ve got yourself a new lease of life on a franchise that had simply gotten too old for this sh*t.


    • Ranking the Lethal Weapon Movies

      The third in the franchise is the one I’ve probably watched the most, mainly due to its certification (the first to get a 15 rating in the UK, and thus, the first I was able to see at the cinema and subsequently buy on video). Perhaps familiarity has bred contempt, because it’s also my least favorite.

      Poor writing is the chief complaint. Shane Black had long abandoned/been pushed out of the franchise, and his absence is painfully evident. The dialogue by new chief wordsmith the late Jeffrey Boam attempts to reproduce Black’s trademark rapid-fire banter, but speed of delivery can’t hide inanity, and the actors’ doubtless chemistry is a poor substitute for wit. Indeed, some of Riggs and Murtaugh’s exchanges border on the irritating – and that’s without Joe Pesci making his unwelcome reappearances.

      Leo Getz was always meant to be an annoying ass, but in Lethal Weapon 2, he was forced upon our heroes, and we sympathized with Riggs and Murtaugh as they tried to keep this beep safe while resisting the urge to kill him themselves. By Lethal Weapon 3, they’ve willingly invited him into their lives, so every annoyance and irritation he causes is self-inflicted. If your feelings for a guy are such that you’d surreptitiously arrange for him to receive an unneeded rectal exam, then hey… don’t return his calls!

      But of course, the reason for Leo’s continued presence isn’t due to character development or story considerations. It’s down to the writers and producers falling into a classic franchise trap: An acute case of “the gang’s all back” syndrome. (Note to franchise overlords: Repeating gags and relentlessly referencing previous films is not the same as continuity; it’s the movie equivalent of a sitcom character arriving onto the set and the audience clapping and whooping while the actor smugly stands there.)

      Lethal Weapon 3 is constantly nudging you to remember characters and highlights from previous adventures when it would have been better off creating a more memorable chapter in its own right. I don’t need a character reminding me about the bomb under the toilet or the drug dealer shooting up the house or “that nail-gun incident” or Leo going on a “they beep you at the hospital” rant because he did a similar thing in the second one. All it succeeds in doing is calling to mind unfavorable comparisons instead of progressing the story with which we’re currently supposed to be engaged.

      Ah yes, the “story”. People always seem to recall that Roger was on the brink of collecting his pension in all the Lethal Weapon films – it’s become something of a cliche – but it’s actually only Lethal Weapon 3 where his retirement is anything approaching imminent, although it does form one of the film’s main plot strands. I say ‘one of’, as Lethal Weapon 3 has enough plot strands to weave into a plot rope – although this rope would be a terrible rope, as the constituent strands are short and weak and don’t go anywhere. We have a mangled mess of a narrative that features Roger’s countdown to retirement, armor-piercing bullets, Riggs falling for a kung fu lady cop (Rene Russo), Roger shooting the teenage friend of his son, an evil ex-cop property developer, our heroes blowing up a building and getting demoted… It’s less of a story, more of a random sequence of contrivances.

      The characterization is all over the place too. In the first film, Riggs had a grief-induced death wish, which explained his erratic behavior. Here, he’s just a bit of a reckless dick, endangering more people than he saves and all with a goofy “I’m mad, me” look of self-satisfaction on his face. His response to Roger tragically killing his son’s friend is so out of character that it’s particularly jarring: He basically ignores him for a few days to go on an adventure with (and then bedding) Russo’s Sergeant Cole. He only goes to check up on him when Roger’s daughter asks him to, and then halfway through Roger’s anguished outpouring of emotion over the shooting, he has the gall to yell at his partner that he’s being selfish for retiring. You, Martin Riggs, are an beep

      I’ve hardly even mentioned the main bad guy yet, and that’s probably because despite having seen it a billion times I keep forgetting that Stuart Wilson is in it. He’s a great actor, and he’s got a brilliant rat-weasel laugh, but a memorable villain he is not.

      Perhaps its greatest sin, however, is that Lethal Weapon 3 seems to forget that Riggs is essentially a superhero with a gun, able to dispatch henchmen with an almost Hawkeye level of accuracy. In all the other films, his marksmanship is given the chance to shine, but in this film he empties dozens and dozens of clips without seemingly hitting anything. The action set pieces in general are rather flat and uninspired – Riggs turning a leaky gas tanker into a mobile bomb being the only thing approaching “memorable”.

      Can I think of some nice things to say? Well it’s got Rene Russo in it, and Rene Russo automatically makes anything 14.5% better. And the villain’s second-in-command looks a lot like darts legend Martin “Wolfie'” Adams (it’s not him – I checked the cast list). But I’m reaching here.

      It’s a real shame, because the notion of how a twitchy cop like Riggs would cope knowing he was about to lose the stability of a partner like Murtaugh is a great hook for a third story, and a natural progression of all that had gone before. But that potential was squandered. All we got was that one great line – “I’ve got three beautiful kids, I love ‘em, and they’re yours” – which had the misfortune to appear during Riggs’ aforementioned guilt-trip tirade.

      At least this is the only Lethal Weapon film where Roger’s house isn’t seriously damaged or destroyed by bombs, fire, cars, or multiple home-invaders.

      Seriously Rodge, invest in a burglar alarm.


  31. Nostalgia Critic: Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle

    After years of being asked, the Nostalgia Critic looks at the animated dud that bored the world…but was it worth the hate?


  32. Meet Rene Russo’s model daughter: Riley Gilroy joins the It girls on the catwalk at Milan Fashion Week


  33. Freejack (1992)

    Fun fact about this film: Linda Fiorentino was originally set to play Julie Redlund, but dropped out at the last minute due to scheduling conflicts. Rene Russo was eventually cast in her place.


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