Rene Russo’s Big-Screen Comeback in ‘Thor’

The Hollywood Reporter
Movie Talk
Rene Russo Paramount Pictures
Rene Russo Paramount Pictures

Rene Russo returns to the big screen Friday in the hotly anticipated Marvel comic-book pic Thor -- her first role in six years.

So why has the actress -- who's been the love interest for such A-list action heroes as Mel Gibson, Pierce Brosnan and Clint Eastwood -- been M.I.A.?

"I just wanted to take time off," she recently explained to Jay Leno. "I had been working for so long ... I just couldn't do it anymore. There have been so many movies back to back. I thought, 'This is it. I can't do it.'"

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So after wrapping the 2005 family comedy "Yours, Mine and Ours" with Dennis Quaid, she took her career in a wholly different direction ... and began working with cows.

Russo has been helping launch products for White Cow Dairy, a food extension of Blue Hill Farm, a fourth-generation family dairy operation run by Patrick Lango in Buffalo, N.Y.

The dairy line (which ranges from cheeses to yogurts) has won praises from The New York Times and Bon Appetit and Saveur magazines, which has described its products as "novel and delectable."

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Rene Russo and Mel Gibson in 'Lethal Weapon 3' Everett Collection
Rene Russo and Mel Gibson in 'Lethal Weapon 3' Everett Collection

But the side gig wasn't enough to impress her teen daughter, Rose (Russo has been wed to screenwriter Dan Gilroy since 1992).

"My daughter, one day, made me feel like a complete loser," Russo recalled to Leno. "She said, 'Mom, get a job!' I did truly feel like, 'Well, maybe I should get a job!' So finally I said, 'OK, I'll get a job.'"

Russo was surprised when she was cast in Thor ... as a mother.

"I am like, 'Have I been gone that long?'" she asked Leno. "It's like, where's the love scenes?"

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In the film, she plays Frigga, mother of Thor (portrayed by Chris Hemsworth) and Loki, the movie's primary villain (Tom Hiddleston).

Playing Hemsworth's mom was "odd," Russo admitted.

"The guy looks like he eats superheroes for breakfast!" she told Leno.

While shooting scenes, she said she recalled thinking, "'God, you have beautiful blue eyes. What's under the red cape? ... Dear God, who has arms like that? ... I just couldn't get used to it."

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Luckily, the actress will get some lovin' for her next film role.

She is set to play the real-life groupie who wed Frank Garcia — bassist for the early 1980′s one-hit wonder OXO - and then watched him burn-out in the indie, Frank and Cindy.

The movie is based on the 2007 documentary of the same name.

Shooting is set to begin this summer.

See the trailer for 'Thor':