Jean Reno: 15 Things You Didn’t Know (Part 1)

Jean Reno (born Juan Moreno) is a talented acting globetrotter. He enjoys filming in different countries and languages and has a natural theatrical expertise like no other. Here are 15 little-known facts about the French actor. Stay tuned for part two, coming soon!

Number Fifteen: He Feels More Andalusian than French

Reno was born in Casablanca, Morocco, to Spanish parents running away from Franco’s dictatorship. The actor says he doesn’t feel very prototypically French, and it’s his Andalusian heritage that defines his character: “The melancholy is the Andalusian in me […] When you are unhappy, you drink, you eat, you listen to a little flamenco, the black sounds. It reminds you to live.”)

Number Fourteen: Jean Reno Is an ISFP

According to Jungian Briggs Myers’ personality test, Jean Reno is an ISFP type, or “The Composer.” That stands for Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Perceiving.

Number Thirteen: ‘Leon’ Was Written With Him in Mind

Luc Besson and Jean Reno have a long cinematic history. They first worked together in Besson’s short film L’avant dernier, in 1981, and have been collaborating ever since. Besson never considered any other actor for the role of Leon. Keanu Reeves showed interest in the part, but couldn’t get it—it was written with Reno in mind from the very beginning.

Number Twelve: You’ll Never Believe What Character He Played

He played…Doraemon! However, it wasn’t in a movie. It was in a series of Toyota commercials shot and aired in Japan.

Number Eleven: He Prefers Doing Comedies

In the U.S., Reno is most famous for his roles in American thrillers and action movies (Godzilla, Mission: Impossible, The Da Vinci Code, Ronin) but, in France, Reno works in comedies most of the time. “I’m not one of those guys who’s fascinated by guns. That’s why I like to do a lot of comedies in France.”

Number Ten: French Critics Feel Betrayed by Him

According to the actor, French critics don’t praise him the way American ones do. Apparently, he has been accused of selling out to the American entertainment market. “In France, if you have any sort of talent, you’d better keep it here. And if you’re going to go abroad, it had better not be America.”

Number Nine: Nicolas Sarkozy Was His Best Man

France’s former President Nicolas Sarkozy was Reno’s best man at his third wedding, to Zofia Borucka, in 2006. The actor and president were neighbors for 10 years in Paris and became very close friends.

Number Eight: The Director Who Most Inspired Him Is…

Roberto Benigni. Benigni directed Reno in 2015’s The Tiger and the Snow. The actor says Benigni is the filmmaker he has learned the most from, other than Luc Besson: “He’s not a human, he’s an angel, someone who levitates rather than walks on the ground. I love him.” Stay tuned for part two, coming soon!