'Major League' Director Shares Cheeky Reason Rene Russo's Hands Were Tied Down

Rene Russo apparently took the dialogue into her own hands while filming “Major League.”

The beloved actor scored a home run with the 1989 baseball film, where she starred opposite Charlie Sheen and essentially landed her breakout role. While she was a talented team player during production, director David S. Ward claims Russo needed a little help.

“The only problem we had with her was, she’s Italian,” he said on Wednesday’s episode of the “Hollywood Gold” podcast. “And when she gets going, there’s a lot of the hands, a lot of the talking with the hands, you know? And they would be flying across her face.”

“I said, ‘Rene, you’ve got to keep your hands down,’” he added.


Russo told Variety in 2021 that she’s “kind of a street girl” who “can get angry really fast,” and called this “the Italian side” of her personality. And this week, Ward recalled that side emerging through Russo’s hands during her very first scene in “Major League.”

“Finally what I did is, I tied them down,” he said on “Hollywood Gold.” “I tied them down for the first take, and she said, ‘OK, I think I got it.’ And then I untied them and she was fine. Every once in a while, I’d have to remind her again: ‘Hands in the frame, across your face.’”

A representative for Russo did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

Rene Russo, seen here in 2014, started out as a model and landed her first major movie role in 1989 with
Rene Russo, seen here in 2014, started out as a model and landed her first major movie role in 1989 with "Major League." Andy Kropa via Associated Press

Russo spent her 20s as a model before landing “Major League” as her first major film at 35. She previously told BuzzFeed News that the experience was “a real confidence booster” for her as an actor.

“I did a library scene in that movie, where there was no cutting ... I didn’t know if I could, you know?” Russo told the outlet in 2014. “There’s no cutting, so you had to do it one take. And at the end of it I thought, ‘OK, well then, maybe I can do this.’”

She certainly could. Russo went on to have an impressive career that has included blockbusters like “Get Shorty,” “The Thomas Crown Affair,” two “Lethal Weapon” films, “Nightcrawler” and multiple Marvel flicks as Asgard’s Queen Frigga. For Ward, Russo’s talent was apparent from the first audition.

“She was very raw at the time, but she had this quality that you just liked her, you just wanted to watch her, you wanted to root for her,” he said on this week’s podcast. “You just felt like this is a really genuinely sweet and lovely person who can also be funny.”