Actress Renée Willett got her first start in acting in the comedy horror film Sharknado 3 in 2015. Since then, the 25-year-old New York native has wrapped movies featuring Daniel Radcliffe, Alec Baldwin, Ron Perlman and Molly Ringwald. She had also worked with Jennifer Aniston and Toni Collette in the war drama, The Yellow Birds.
Renée would be what one would consider a “multipotentialite.” Beyond her acting career, a path that started as doing films and commercials as a hobby, she was also a professional junior tennis player, has degrees in Economics, Spanish and Theatre, and is currently earning an MBA in film finance at USC’s Marshall School of Business.
While Willett was taking classes at UCB and the Groundlings, she realized she wanted to do more comedic roles, and started writing her own material. She had a fateful encounter with a show producer for Gotham Comedy Club at a party in the Hamptons last year. The woman persuaded her to come perform. Two days later, Renee was on stage at Comic Strip Live in New York City doing her first standup comedy show.
“It went great, and I haven’t stopped since,” she says. Now, she regularly performs in New York and Tel Aviv; her skits are based on themes of single millennials and dating in New York vs. Los Angeles.
Her comedic works also have a charitable side. Willett has been known to host charity events for organizations she supports, such as United Hatzala, Shalvah Children’s Center, Harlem Junior Tennis and Education Program, and The China Institute. At a recent fundraiser for The Jewish Museum, Willett also opened and did standup for Liev Schreiber.
Andrew Dice Clay as mentor
Willett went to see Andrew Dice Clay, a standup comedian, perform prior to shooting a film together. “We hung out after the show and I did some of my bits for him,” she says. “He loved it and wanted to mentor me. We went back to Manhattan and spit-balled ideas over pizza. He may he even have me open for him!”
Willett will be starring in her biggest role yet, opposite Ray Liotta in the upcoming crime mystery, Cutman. It’s a story that unfolds tales of revenge and redemption and two people finding each other at a desolate East Texas motel. In addition, she will also film with Famke Janssen and Cary Elwes, which will shoot in Montauk. Willett is working with a writer on a basketball film, which she is producing and acting in, and many famous NBA players have signed on for cameos.
Willett continues to train at various comedy schools, and studies acting with Lesly Kahn in L.A. “I believe in always honing your skills and learning; it’s kind of like with tennis, you can’t really go into a tournament if you haven’t been practicing and training every day. You can’t just walk in and expect to win.”