In Hollywood, where women are expected to do everything possible to stay eternally young, Rene Russo is an outlier. She has admitted in the past that she’s tried Botox, and had laser treatments, but says she won’t go any further when it comes to her face.
“I hate saying this — I think women should do what they want to do if it makes them feel better about themselves but I think if you do too much, you don’t look younger," she says. "You look odd. I wouldn’t do any cutting or pulling. If you look older, that’s OK. But there are women who do it and they’re happy."
In person, Russo is warm and outspoken. Those traits were passed down to her daughter Rose Gilroy, 24, now a model. Rose graduated from Colgate University with a double major in psychology and political science. And Russo says she didn’t have to work all that hard at raising an opinionated female. In fact, Rosie, as she calls her, often tells mom to speak up
“(Rosie) is strong and empowered," says Russo. "She’s taught me a few things. She’s strong. She has a good time. She likes what she does. She’s pretty amazing. She came out strong. I looked at her and thought, ‘You’re a strong spirit.’ She’ll give me advice, like, ‘Mom, why did you let them say that to you?’”
When she’s not working, which is fairly often, you’ll find Russo in her happy place. At home, with her husband, writer-director Dan Gilroy, puttering around her garden.
“Right now, if I’m presented a role that is a watered-down version of what I’ve done, it’s not much of a challenge,” she says.
For her, co-starring in "Just Getting Started," a comedic caper also starring Morgan Freeman and Tommy Lee Jones, was a no-brainer. It was an easy, convenient shoot. And for her, quality of life, and taking good care of herself, matters most.
“I don’t go in the sun. I don’t smoke. I’m not a drinker. If I have a drink, I have a tequila drink. I fall asleep on wine. I have a glass and fall asleep,” she says.
It must be a bit strange for Russo to be promoting a comedy during such a fraught time in her industry, when numerous powerful men have been toppled by accusations of serial sexual harassment or improper behavior.
“I haven’t experienced anything myself personally. I would have none of it. I understand it has to be really, really hard,” says Russo.
But then again, says Russo, “I’m not in the spotlight. It’s probably great for your career. I’ve never gone after that. I’m not a Hollywood person. I don’t even know what that means. I have a different set of friends."
“I grew up really fast in a rough neighborhood so it was different for me," she says. Russo dropped out of high school before eventually pursuing a modeling career. "I grew up in a neighborhood where (sexual assault) was commonplace. I think half the kids in my neighborhood were sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. This is not a surprise to me.”
In between shooting such stylish thrillers as "The Thomas Crown Affair," and the gritty nail-biter "Nightcrawler," Russo leads a quiet life, by choice.