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Nightcrawler star Rene Russo plays a female TV news show producer who is very aggressive to make it in her career. Did Rene find anything in common with her? Nightcrawler is written and directed by Rene’s husband, Dan Gilroy, so what was it like to be given direction by her own husband? Rene also revealed what she did during her long hiatus! I guess that is her beauty secret?!
Q: Did you get a chance to talk with any news anchors, or news women?
I didn’t. I don’t usually do that, as an actress… Like when I played an epidemiologist, I guess I spoke to an epidemiologist, but I didn’t really get that much from it. So I didn’t really have Nina for a long time, and it wasn’t because I didn’t know a news anchor, it’s because I didn’t know who she was. If I can’t use my own colors and life experiences, then I don’t know where to go. And I’m naturally just a hard-assed bitch, who is going to get what she wants at any cost. I mean, I’m not that, I don’t know how I necessarily would play that, but I have been desperate, and I have crossed moral boundaries in my desperation, so it wasn’t a stretch for me to understand Nina. I mean, she’s older. She could lose her health insurance. Look, I’ve always had health insurance, thank God, but to be alone, to be older, to be on the lowest rung possible, in your career, knowing you could get shipped off God knows where… I didn’t want to judge Nina for any of that — just like I wouldn’t want to be judged for any of the moral boundaries. They’ve always been because I’m scared to death, really. Some people do it out of greed, some do it out of fear, and some maybe out of both. But for me, I kind of had to find Nina in that desperate place.
Q: You said you asked yourself, “Are you just going to keep doing one movie after another, after another?” then took time off. What did you do in that long hiatus?
What did I do? I did things that are so boring to talk about. I worked with the DWP in California to start a garden. So usually I don’t talk about these things but I just feel like California doesn’t necessarily have a sense of place because people have just ripped everything out of the ground when East came west and brought their water-loving gardens. We’re in a huge drought, so I’ve got in a completely native garden that I spent a lot of time with the designer doing, and I loved it. And then I actually started a dairy company. [Laughs] I have 40 cows. [Laughs]
It’s east Otto, right outside of Buffalo. I have this friend who’s a farmer, and also who used to be in advertising. He’s a freakin’ genius, and an incredible chef. He came to Christmas one day and he had this amazing milk, and I go, “You know, man…” and he had this amazing yogurt, and I go, “You made this? You could sell this!” Anyway, long story short, it started too long ago. We’ve gotten amazing write-ups in Bon Appetit … It’s the best yogurt in the country. Whole Foods said they wanted us but we didn’t want to go because we wanted to keep it a local, sustainable food for the farmers because they’re paid nothing. It’s helpful to the community, and it’s really healthy, so I thought, “Well, this will be fun to do!” but it’s taken up a lot of time. We have one store, so we’ll see where it goes but it’s cool. It was fun.
Q: What’s it called?
White Cow Dairy.
Q: What made you decide to come back to acting?
I don’t know. It was Thor, and I was going to play a queen, and it was kind of like [laughs], “Okay, what the hell? And I’ll go to London. It’s a small part. I’ll do it. I’ll see.” Then this role… this was a killer role. I could not have said no to this. I just take it one day at a time. I don’t know if there’s ever going to be another role that crosses my path that I feel excited about doing. We’ll just have to wait and see. Take it a day at a time. If not, I’ll go milk my cows. [Laughs]
Q: How was it having your husband as the director? What was it like when you came back home and the director is around?
Like, would we fight? You know what? It was so hard for Danny in terms of the hours. He got home at like 6 o’clock in the morning. It was a log. It was all night shooting, so I think that we didn’t have time to fight because we were just passing ships in the night. He was great on set. I think we worked out a lot of stuff before, and he just allows you a lot of room. He really is an actor’s director, Danny. He really is.
Nightcrawler opens in theaters on October 31st.