Rena’s Big Break in Hollywood12 Aug 2014, Posted by in ARTICLES & INTERVIEWS
Rena’s Big Break in Hollywood
by Elizabeth Tindall
New Idea Magazine, January 1, 2000
Life just keeps getting better for Rena Owen. Since relocating to the US less than a year ago to fulfill her Hollywood dream, the stunning actor has hit the big time – a top role in a major Hollywood film.
Vivacious Rena is ecstatic that her move to Tinseltown has paid off and now she’s ready to show the Americans what she’s made of.
“I invested everything I had to be in LA, but I knew if I wanted to get the work, I had to live here. I’m very pleased to get this job in America and it’s a damn good one. It’s a brilliant opportunity,” says the stunning star.
Rena will play the role of Soona in An All-American Girl, a controversial true story about Mary Kay Letourneau, the teacher who was sent to prison for having a love affair with her 13-year-old student Billy. After falling pregnant with his child, Mary Letourneau was convicted of rape of a minor.
The producers were looking to cast the role of Billy’s mother and Rena fitted it perfectly. “The director had seen Once Were Warriors and said, ‘We’ve just got to have this woman,'” Rena says proudly.
An All-American Girl will be a ‘Movie of the Week’ played on US TV. Rena’s excited about the huge number of people who’ll be watching the film and she says thousands more people watch TV instead of going to the movies.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better break as far as exposure goes. It is a household story like the OJ Simpson case. Everyone’s going to watch this film because they know the story. Even now there are large protest groups with people saying ‘It was rape’, and other groups saying ‘Live for love’. So, you’ve got quite extreme views of the case,” she says, speaking exclusively to New Idea from her West Hollywood apartment.
When she read the script, Rena immediately [fell] in love with it. “I read it knowing none of the history. I put it down and I thought it was beautifully written. I never for one moment doubted the depth of love they had and that they were soulmates.”
Rena feels very at home in LA. She enjoys the casual lifestyle in Hollywood and the fact that she just has to walk down the road and she’ll bump into a famous celebrity.
“You can’t avoid the film industry. Everywhere you go you see somebody. It’s extremely casual except of course when it comes to premieres, although they are the only perspective the world gets of Hollywood.
“The reality is you’ll see Gwyneth in her T-shirt and shorts. The stars don’t live the life we all think they live. They’re just real people doing their thing.”
Rena loves LA. “It is such a wonderful learning centre. You can go to screenings every day or workshops on screen-writing, directing or producing. There is just so much available in this town,” she says.
Talented Rena also gets a kick out of the exclusive parties, premieres and dinners she attends with top Hollywood actors. Just last week she went to Lawrence Bender’s (producer of Pulp Fiction and Good Will Hunting) pool party. There she socialised with Joseph Fiennes, Sean Penn and his wife Robyn Wright, plus Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Salma Hayek.
“It was a huge mansion fully equipped with staff to take your car and get you food and drinks. There was a huge gathering of folk out in the gardens. I was listening to this guy sitting next to me talking about the tree surgery he does. I thought, ‘I’ve met this guy before because he looks very familiar’. Then the penny drops: it’s Joseph Fiennes!
Rena says she finally feels like she’s grown up. She’s the happiest she has ever been because she knows who she is and respects herself.
“I’ve matured and let go of my rebellious ways. Life is about learning lessons. You don’t become wiser or stronger if you don’t make mistakes. I did the drugs and prison thing, then I didn’t cope with fame and that led to the pool cue incident and getting DIC’d. Those were hard lessons, but it’s the hard lessons that make you wake up.
“I finally feel I have arrived at myself. I feel very satisfied and complete. They often say that we women don’t get to our prime until our mid-thirties or forties. I’m experiencing that. I feel like I’ve stepped into my own power.
“This is my life and I’m in charge of it. I’m free. I’ve learnt that we create our own lives,” says a focused Rena.
She’s living a healthy lifestyle, starting each day off with a yoga class. “It’s important for me to stay healthy because as an actor, I’m it. My body and who I am is my instrument. So if I’m not good, how can I expect my work to be good?”
Rena says one of the reasons for moving to LA this year was because she has no ties, but she wants to get married and have kids soon.
“I want to have one, if not three children. So I figure I’ve got another couple of years where I can be committed to my acting, but come the year of 2001 I’ll be ready to settle down.
“There is no way I would ever give up having a family for my career. It’s too important to me. One of the ultimate successes in life is to be a good parent. To bring a healthy human being into this world and try to make it a better place.”
Rena says her ideal man is someone sensitive, secure, strong, successful and sexy. “The most important thing is that they have a good heart and an awesome spirit.”
© New Idea Magazine