Five Favorite Films

Five Favorite Films with Jean Reno

The international stars shares his influences.

by | February 2, 2009 | Comments

Jean Reno
American audiences who know Jean Reno strictly from Luc Besson productions
(The Professional, Nikita, The Big Blue, Wasabi) and
smart action blockbusters (Ronin, Mission: Impossible, The
Crimson Rivers
) will be surprised how little ass-kicking he does in his role
as Ponton in The Pink Panther 2, opening this Friday. As family man
partner to eternal-bumbler Inspector Clouseau (Steve Martin), Reno’s character
is indeed one of the few to escape the mystery without slipping, falling, or
crashing into solid objects. But it’s representative of Reno’s career, a varied
body of work that frequently crosses over into video games, French slapstick,
and romantic comedies that is rarely seen in the States. RT spoke with Reno
recently to get his Five Favorite Films.

(1979, 98% Tomatometer)

Apocalypse Now
It’s like a surge of intimacy of human beings, you know? It is spectacular. It is well done, a lot of actors, and I like very much Coppola as a director. I like the performance of the main role, the guy…he had a heart attack. I don’t remember his name. Martin Sheen. I almost said Martin Short. [laughs] I like also the performance of Marlon Brando. I like it very much, that movie.

Taxi Driver (1979,
100% Tomatometer)

Taxi DriverIt was a shock, a real shock. The acting was so sincere, so honest. Brilliant performances from everybody, from Robert DeNiro and Jodie Foster. There are always good moments in the movie business, but that was a very intense moment in the American cinema. It was amazing to see those movies.

Life is Beautiful
(1998, 77% Tomatometer)

Life is Beautiful
A movie I like very much by Roberto Benigni. It’s a way of talking about a very serious matter through a comic form. A touching form. That was a new way of speaking of a moment in the history of humanity. Very painful.
[Having worked with him on The Tiger and the Snow], Benigni is somebody who [writes] the script and he is somebody who [interprets] the script, but he will let you very free. He is not a dictator. Basically, he is a poet. Somebody who sees the world through his own eyes in a poetic way. [The Tiger and the Snow] is a movie I like because he wanted to talk about the war through his eyes, and it is a very honest movie. Very.

Il Sorpasso (1954, Tomatometer N/A)

Il Sorpasso
Italian, a black-and-white movie. If you go to the internet, you can find it. Dino Risi movie, with Vittorio Gassman acting in it. And a French actor named Jean-Louis Trintignant. It is about somebody who is pretentious, who’s always speaking [loudly], always speaking about himself. And somebody in front who is shy. The story is about changing personality, and the moral of the story is, “If you want to change your personality, change with your own rhythm. Don’t try to imitate people.”
[This was] reality because so many people try to imitate things that they have seen without any reasons inside themselves. They just want to imitate because they have seen that on screen or in a book. Instead of following their own rhythm, their own needs. I still remember that… long time ago. 30 years

Beauty and the Beast
(1946, 95% Tomatometer)

Beauty and the Beast
Cocteau, black-and-white, with Jean Marais. That was [a] way of telling stories…very, very [strangely]. I was very shocked because everything [becomes] possible [when] you can present your story in a poetic way. And the voice of the actor…

When you are young, you understand [here] that even if you are not handsome, you can find love, because the girl loved the beast. [chuckles] It came maybe from my fears when I was young, not to find a girl, not to seduce. You know what I mean?

The Pink
Panther 2
opens in wide release February 6, 2009.
Click here for a full synopsis, photo gallery and trailers.

Want more Five Favorite Films? Check out previous installments with Ernest Borgnine, Mickey Rourke, Danny Boyle, and James Franco.