Jean Reno (born July 30, 1948) 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.
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) withTom 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 Visitingin 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.