Jean Reno Biography
Jean Reno is a César Award-nominated French actor. Working in both French and English, he has appeared not only in numerous successful Hollywood productions such as Godzilla, The Da Vinci Code, Mission: Impossible and Ronin, but also European productions such as Léon and the 2005 Italian film The Tiger and the Snow.
Reno was born Juan Moreno y Herrera Jiménez (also written as Don Juan Moreno y Herrera Jimenez) in Casablanca, Morocco. His Spanish Andalusian parents were natives of Sanlúcar de Barrameda and Jerez de la Frontera, and had moved to North Africa to escape the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. Reno moved to France at the age of seventeen. His mother died when he was an adolescent. Reno is a former student of the Cours Simon. He was raised Catholic.
Due to his tall, hulking frame (188cm, 6' 2"), he mostly played villainous brutes early on in his career. Thanks to his skills as an actor, he has broken away from this stereotype and has played everything from romantic-comedy leads to action heroes. Reno's career began in French cinema, where he appeared in many of Luc Besson's films, including Besson's first short film, L'Avant dernier. The two have continued to work together throughout their careers, in films produced, written or directed by Besson, though the films in which he has done all three have proven to be the most popular, including Nikita (1990), and the English-language films The Big Blue (1988), and Léon (1994) (known as The Professional in the United States) featuring a young Natalie Portman. Additionally, he dubbed over the character of Mufasa in the French-language version of The Lion King, a role originally occupied by James Earl Jones.
Reno has starred in such high-profile American movies as French Kiss (1995) with Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline, Mission: Impossible (1996) with Tom Cruise, Ronin (1998) with Robert De Niro, and Godzilla (1998), for which Reno turned down the role of Agent Smith in the The Matrix. He has not neglected to continue making French productions either - e.g., Les Visiteurs (1993) (which was later remade in English as Just Visiting in 2001) and The Crimson Rivers (2000). In 2006, he had a prominent role in the remake of The Pink Panther, playing Gilbert Ponton, the partner of Inspector Clouseau opposite Steve Martin, and also portrayed Captain Bezu Fache in the Ron Howard film The Da Vinci Code.
In other media, Reno was involved in the production of the third installment in the popular PlayStation 2 series Onimusha (Onimusha 3: Demon Siege), lending his likeness to the protagonist, Jacques Blanc, as well as providing the voice for the character's French dialogue. Reno has also appeared in United Parcel Service advertisements on television.
On July 29, 2006 the actor married model and actress Zofia Borucka, 35, at the city hall of Baux-de-Provence in southern France. The French President (at the time being Presidential candidate) Nicolas Sarkozy was his best man. He was married twice before and has four children, two from each marriage. His first wife was Geneviève, with whom he has a daughter, Sandra (born in 1978), and a son, Mickael (born in 1980). His second wife is model Nathalie Dyszkiewicz, with whom he has a son, Tom (born 1996), and a daughter, Serena (born 1998). He maintains homes in Paris, Malaysia and in Los Angeles.
Reno endorsed Nicolas Sarkozy for the 2007 French Presidential Elections. He is a huge fan of Elvis Presley and can actually imitate Elvis' voice. He used his "Thank you very much" impression in a scene of the film Godzilla when the script needed his character to pass as an American.