Born in 15 March 1959 as Renny Lauri Mauritz Harjola, he is the most successful Finnish film director in the history of Hollywood.
Harlin started his career in film business in the beginning of 1980s when he was directing commercials and company films for company's like Shell. Later he worked as a buyer for Finnish film distributor and met Finnish Markus Selin in Los Angeles. They became friends and started writing a screenplay called "Arctic Heat". The project started fast and soon they had Chuck Norris signed on leading role for the film. But with money problems shooting schedule didn't hold and Norris left the project, but Selin and Harlin got Mike Norris for the leading role. They wrote new script, Born American (1986), and got financial help from USA. In the year 1986 Born American (1986) was finished and the most expensive Finnish film ever opened in USA in over 1,000 theaters and reached no 9.
The film wasn't successful in Finland, where it was banned. Harlin moved to Los Angeles and got a job from _Halloween_ producer Irwin Yablans who offered him script of "Prison" to film. Film was made with low budget and distributed with only 42 copies. In the same year 1988 he got a job from New Line Cinema to direct A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988) after meeting producer Robert Shaye numerous times, who at the first didn't want Harlin to direct the film. It became the highest-grossing film in the series, though its budget was seven times greater than the original "A Nightmare on Elm Street" film.
20th Century Fox wanted Harlin to direct the Andrew Dice Clay rock'n roll comedy The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (1990) and also a sequel to Die Hard (1988). Harlin made the both, but only Die Hard 2 (1990) was commercially successful, with over 239 million dollar worldwide gross. Next he directed Cliffhanger (1993) with Sylvester Stallone which made $255 million worldwide and was nominated for 3 Oscar's. Before Cliffhanger (1993) Harlin was hired to direct "Alien³" but he left the project because of creative differences.
His next film Cutthroat Island (1995) was a pirate film made with $100 million budget. Unfortunately it came out without good promotion and flopped badly. It made only $10 million in USA and for a time became the biggest flop in Hollywood history. But for Harlin, it wasn't a total loss.
The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996) was a critical success, but was a box office flop, grossing only $30 million domestically with a $65 million budget.
In year 1998, Warner Bros. wanted a summer blockbuster for the year 1999 and Renny Harlin was the right name to direct. Deep Blue Sea (1999) came to theaters after costing 60 million dollars to film and made $160 million worldwide. The film never hit the top spot in the USA but still grossed $73 millions in the USA alone.
Harlin was hired to direct Exorcist: The Beginning (2004) after John Frankenheimer left the job and died shortly after it, and Paul Schrader was fired. Producers knew that Harlin could made a blockbuster even with the weak script, and so he did. With $50 million budget the film opened in number 1 and grossed $80 million worldwide.
Probably most liked Harlin's film Mindhunters (2004) was released in 2004 after years post-production. It was released in USA in 2005 in over 1,000 theaters but it only reached 10th place. In 9 weeks it grossed only $4 million dollars.
The Covenant (2006) was released in 2006. With non-famous (but attractive) actors, the film hit the top in its opening weekend and became a successful film. With a $20 million budget, it grossed $37 million worldwide and DVD sale brought $20 million more.
|Geena Davis||(18 September 1993 - 21 June 1998) (divorced)|
Includes references to Finland, his country of birth [Finland]
Worked on Alien³ (1992) for over a year and asked to leave the project after not being satisfied with any script and wanted to do something completely different, and the next day was offered The Adventures of Ford Fairlane (1990) by Joel Silver.
When he was starting out in Hollywood, he would travel via the city bus system with reels of his work to show studio executives.
Was perhaps the first mainstream, American-based filmmaker to use Toronto for big-budget locational and shooting purposes (something that has become very commonplace for American films nowadays) with his film The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996).
In 2001, he bought an apartment from former Formula One driver Eddie Irvine.
He is a friend of Sylvester Stallone.
He got a medal ("Kultainen ansiomerkki") from Finnish WWII veterans in 2004. He helped to organize "Kiitoksen paikka" concert which collected money to secure treatment and help to the old war veterans. Harlin said that helping the defenders of Finland is much more important that his other achievements.
Does a director's commentary for the DVDs of every single one of his movies.
Was originally slated to direct Outlander (2008).
Said that Deep Blue Sea (1999) was the most difficult film he had ever made (1999).
Thinks The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996) is his best film.
In 2006, Harlin was hired to direct a biography of Finnish Marshall and president Gustaf Mannerheim. The film is going to be produced by his old friend Markus Selin who produced his first film. The two men had announced initial plans as early as 2001. For a long time, there were major problems with funding, and the production was stopped. However, now the film has been rescheduled, and Mikko Nousiainen has been named as the leading star. The budget is estimated to be at around 10-14 million euros, which would make it the most expensive movie in Finnish film history.
One of his favorite movies is The Wild Bunch (1969).
As a child he went to see Alfred Hitchcock films with his mother.
Worked as an commercial and company film director before directing his first feature film.
Mario Kassar thought Harlin was ideal director for "Gale Force," a film about hurricanes and starring Sylvester Stallone. After Harlin didn't accept the first offer, Kassar started offering more and more money, and in its way, it changed the pay scale of Hollywood directors. "Gale Force" was never made but, instead, Harlin directed Cliffhanger (1993).
Was offered the chance to direct GoldenEye (1995) but turned it down because he felt he had made enough sequels.
His film _Cutthroat Island (1995)_ resulted in as a massive failure because of the loss of money. The budget of the film was $92 million however the box office of the film was $10,017,322. As a result, the executive producer of the film Mario Kassar's production company, Carolco Pictures. declared bankruptcy. This film also earn a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the biggest loss of money for a film company ever.
Mario Kassar and Renny made two films together, Cliffhanger (1993) and Cutthroat Island (1995). Cliffhanger (1993) resulted to a box office success while Cutthroat Island (1995) on the other hand resulted to a massive flopped. Which also resulted that Mario's production company Carolco Pictures bankrupted because of the loss of money for the film.
In a interview film in 1990 Harlin told about his future projects. He was going to shoot after "Die Hard 2" (1990) a modern remake of Humphrey Bogart film "Key Largo" (1948). Film was titled "Gale Force", but was never made. After "Gale Force" he was going to film "Torpedo" titled gangster film which would have been set in 1939 New York, but this film was never made either. He dreamed it would have become his "Godfather" film. After those two films he planned to make the "Fade" with Steven Spielberg producing. Film would have told a story about teenage boy growing up in a small town in 1940's. Spielberg had offered him the film by sending him the book the script was based on.
On May 29, 1991 Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat wrote that Finnish director Renny Harlin had signed a contract with Paramount to direct the new film adaptation of The Saint (1997) with Robert Evans producing. Eventually the film was directed by Phillip Noyce.
In 1997 he was going to direct Frequency (2000) for New Line Cinema, but allegedly the film got in trouble after Sylvester Stallone asked too much for playing the lead. Eventually film was directed by Gregory Hoblit and starring Dennis Quaid.
"Soon, a hundred million dollars is going to be a normal budget for an action picture. That size picture is in the works at every studio." (Precognitively, after seeing Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), USA Today, August 1, 1991).
In Europe, film making is perceived as an art form with marginal business possibilities, and in the US, film making is a business with marginal artistic possibilities.
[on writing for Hollywood] I don't want accidents I want disasters. I don't want dirt, I want filth. I don't want a storm, I want a hurricane. I don't want fear, I want panic. I don't want suspense, I want terror. I don't want humor, I want hysteria.
|Born American (1986)||$10,000|
|Die Hard 2 (1990)||$750,000|
|Cutthroat Island (1995)||$3,000,000|
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