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Renny Harlin

Renny Harlin is a filmmaker with the ability to identify and develop a wide range of projects. His credits span multiple genres and include both action-oriented blockbusters and critically acclaimed dramas.

Harlin's recent work in the thriller genre – The Covenant for Sony Screen Gems and Mindhunters for Dimension Films, starring Val Kilmer, Christian Slater, LL Cool J and Clifton Collins Jr. – attracted critical and audience attention. In 2004, Harlin joined forces with Warner Bros. to create the domestic and international box office hit, Exorcist: The Beginning, the prequel to the legendary film.

Harlin initially distinguished himself by directing A Nightmare on Elm Street IV. Released in 1988, the film became the highest grossing independent film of all time. He followed up with the dark comedy The Adventures of Ford Fairlane before helming his breakthrough hit, Die Hard 2. In 1993, Harlin produced and directed Cliffhanger. The high-wire blockbuster, which starred Sylvester Stallone, John Lithgow and Janine Turner, established Harlin as one of Hollywood's premiere action directors.

Harlin went on to direct and produce 1995's Cutthroat Island and 1997's critically acclaimed The Long Kiss Goodnight, the latter starring Geena Davis and Samuel L. Jackson.

In 1999, Harlin thrilled audiences with the summer hit Deep Blue Sea. Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Thomas Jane, Saffron Burrows, and L.L. Cool J, the film grossed over $160 million worldwide. In 2001, Harlin directed Driven, starring Sylvester Stallone, Burt Reynolds and Estella Warren. The thriller revolved around a veteran racer who is lured back to the tracks to help a fast-rising rookie.

In 1991, Harlin made his producing debut with the critically lauded Rambling Rose. The film starred Robert Duvall, Lukas Haas, Laura Dern, and Diane Ladd. Harlin received an Independent Spirit Award for best independent movie of the year and Oscar nominations for best actress (Dern) and best supporting actress (Ladd). Additional producer credits include Speechless, a romantic comedy starring Geena Davis, Michael Keaton and Christopher Reeve, and Blast From the Past, which starred Alicia Silverstone, Brendan Fraser, Sissy Spacek, and Christopher Walken.

Harlin's most recent film Cleaner debuted as the Gala screening at The 32nd Annual Toronto International Film Festival, the 55th Annual San Sebastian Film Festival and the 18th Annual Stockholm International Film Festival. Cleaner is a dramatic thriller starring Samuel L. Jackson, Ed Harris, Eva Mendes and Keke Palmer. Jackson plays a former cop turned crime scene cleaner who unwittingly cleans up a murder scene and disposes of all evidence.

Harlin's production company Midnight Sun Pictures is based in Los Angeles, where Harlin resides.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2009.
Read earlier biographies on this page.

Renny Harlin Facts

Birth NameLauri Harjola
BirthdayMarch 15, 1959 (64)
BirthplaceRiihimäki, Finland
Height6' 4" (1m93)  How tall is Renny Harlin compared to you?

Selected Filmography

The Covenant
Lady Stardust
The Devil's Pass
The Legend Of Hercules
Deep Blue Sea
The Long Kiss Goodnight
Die Hard 2: Die Harder
5 Days of War
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