Why Rene Russo Had to Have Her Hands Tied Down While Filming “Major League”, According to Director

"The only problem we had with her was she's Italian," writer-director David S. Ward said of Russo on Wednesday's episode of the 'Hollywood Gold' podcast

<p>Everett</p> Charlie Sheen (left), Dennis Haysbert, Rene Russo, Tom Berenger and Wesley Snipes in


Charlie Sheen (left), Dennis Haysbert, Rene Russo, Tom Berenger and Wesley Snipes in 'Major League'

Rene Russo had her hands tied on Major League — literally.

Nearly 35 years after the movie's release, writer-director David S. Ward appeared on Wednesday's episode of the Hollywood Gold podcast, where he shared a story about Russo, now 70, who made her big-screen debut in the 1989 sports comedy.

"The only problem we had with her was she's Italian," said Ward, 78. "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 the hands down.' "

"And finally what I did is, I tied them down," he went on. "I tied them down for the first take and she said, 'Okay, 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, doing wipes across your face.' "

A rep for Russo did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment on Thursday.

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<p>Allen Berezovsky/WireImage, Michael Tran/FilmMagic</p> Rene Russo (left) in Hollywood on Dec. 7, 2017; David S. Ward in Hollywood on Aug. 5, 2009

Allen Berezovsky/WireImage, Michael Tran/FilmMagic

Rene Russo (left) in Hollywood on Dec. 7, 2017; David S. Ward in Hollywood on Aug. 5, 2009

Related: Rene Russo Has a Hard Time Remembering Her Last Girls' Night Out and It's Super Relatable

According to a synopsis on IMDb, Major League tells the story of "the new owner of the Cleveland Indians" [the late Margaret Whitton], who "puts together a purposely horrible team so they'll lose and she can move the team. But when the plot is uncovered, they start winning just to spite her."

Aside from Russo and Whitton, the movie also starred Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, Corbin Bernsen, James Gammon and Bob Uecker, plus Wesley Snipes in one of his first big-screen roles. Russo played the ex-girlfriend of protagonist Jake Taylor (Berenger, now 74).

Recalling her first audition, Ward said on the Hollywood Gold podcast, "She was very raw at the time, but she had this quality that you just liked her — you wanted to watch her, you wanted to root for her, you just felt like, 'This is a really genuinely sweet and lovely person who can also be funny.' "

"When she came in for her interview for Major League, she was so nervous that she basically stood in a corner," he continued. "Most people, when they read, they stand up, they walk around — she stood in a corner."

<p>Photo by John Salangsang/Variety/Penske Media via Getty </p> Rene Russo

Photo by John Salangsang/Variety/Penske Media via Getty

Rene Russo

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And while Ward thought Russo's audition "was not in the top 10," he added that "her quality in terms of just when she read the lines [was like] — [I thought], 'I just love her, and I think she's gonna be great with Berenger.' "

Before they made Major League together, Ward had previously worked on the 1982 dramedy film Cannery Row, his directorial debut, with Russo. The director said he "took a real chance" on her for Major League.

"She was better than she was on Cannery Row, but she came out of the modeling world," he said of Russo. "She was Cindy Crawford before Cindy Crawford was Cindy Crawford."

"So I thought, 'Okay, well, let's put [her] and Berenger together and see what happens.' And it was just great," Ward added.

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