Friday, April 12, 2024

Rene Russo Is Back After 5 Years Off: “I Wasn’t Sick, I Just Did it for Myself”


I am happy to report that Rene Russo is back in the movies! She co-stars this week in her husband Dan Gilroy’s exceellent film “Nightcrawler” with Jake Gyllenhaal. Rene took five year off after working since age 9. Some people– like me!– thought it was because of something she told a TV show recently about being “bi-polar.”

“Oh no!” Russo said at the Stone Rose (Time Warner Center) after party for “Nightcrawler” this week. She laughed. “I  think I was always bi-polar, or something! That’s not the reason I took time off! ” Her off handed remark got a lot of headlines. But Russo seems about as grounded as a person could be after making a lot of movies with Mel Gibson (in his pre-crazy days), Pierce Brosnan, Kevin Costner, Dennis Quaid, Al Pacino– the list of leading men goes on and on. Russo is always the number 1 choice to play “the wife” in big budget movies.

“Nightcrawlers” should fix that. Rene plays a local TV news producer in LA with a voracious appetite for ratings, headlines, and personal enjoyment. In one scene, she kicks the LAPD out of her station (improbably but fun to watch). She flirts shamelessly with Gyllenhaal, who’s getting Oscar buzz for his role as a freelance cameraman who scours LA at night looking for sensational stories.

So what’s Russo been doing? “Gardening,” she says. “And being with my daughter. It was time.” Now she’s back, if anyone wants to know . She’s got one film in the can, and she’s starring in Nancy Meyers’ “The Intern” next. According to the imdb, she’s 60. But 60 is the new 40 in Hollywood. Rene is a fox. And she’s had no plastic surgery. (Maybe the gardening is good for you!)

PS “Nightcrawler” is one of my favorite films of this year. And it’s a Gilroy family affair. Dan wrote and directed, Tony — best known for writing three “Bourne” movies and “Michael Clayton” — is a producer on this one, and brother John is the film editor! By the way, superstar cinematographer Robert Elswit makes “Nightcrawler” look pretty damn sumptuous.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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