Renny Harlin

  • Birth Name: Lauri Mauritz Harjola
  • Birth Place: Riihimäki, Finland
  • Profession: Director, Producer
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Fast Facts

  • As a child, he entertained neighborhood kids by staging plays and puppet shows.
  • First professional job was a 20-minute industrial video for Shell Oil.
  • Came to the U.S. in the early 1980s with an aspiring-moviemaker friend after they had sold their businesses, taken out loans and put a lot of money on their credit cards.
  • Helped make ends meet in Hollywood by writing movie reviews for some Finnish newspapers.
  • Shot Die Hard 2: Die Harder and The Adventures of Ford Fairlane back-to-back and edited them simultaneously; they were released within a week of each other in 1990.
  • His 1993 wedding to Geena Davis was a three-day extravaganza that featured pony, elephant and hot-air-balloon rides, skywriting planes creating aerial artwork; it reportedly cost $700,000. 
  • Cutthroat Island (1995), which he directed, was the movie industry's first $100 million flop.
  • Shooting for 2001's Driven required nighttime filming in Toronto and, at the time, it required the largest police lockdown ever in that city.
  • Despite Exorcist: The Beginning (2004) being a completed film, producers were unhappy with director Paul Schrader's final cut and hired Harlin to reshoot the entire movie.


  • 1992, Independent Spirit Awards — Best Feature: Winner


  • Laura Dern — Ex-significant Other
  • Geena Davis — Ex-wife


  • Attended the University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
MIXED-ISH - In "mixed-ish," Rainbow Johnson recounts her experience growing up in a mixed-race family in the '80s and the constant dilemmas they had to face over whether to assimilate or stay true to themselves. Bow's parents Paul and Alicia decide to move from a hippie commune to the suburbs to better provide for their family. As her parents struggle with the challenges of their new life, Bow and her siblings navigate a mainstream school in which they're perceived as neither black nor white. This family's experiences illuminate the challenges of finding one's own identity when the rest of the world can't decide where you belong. (ABC/Kelsey McNeal)

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