Mixed martial arts star Gina Carano makes her film acting debut as a secret agent on the run in a new action-thriller from director Steven Soderbergh. Here's a look at her film, Haywire.
MALLORY: "This is your pitch? You want me to be 'eye candy?' MI-6 wants me to be eye candy? I don't even know how to play that. I don't wear the dress."
When Mallory Kane does wear a dress it is likely to get ripped up as she rips into her opponents.
A former Marine trained in all sorts of weapons and hand-to-hand combat, Kane now works as a top secret "special ops" agent. She knows she has to watch her back; but she doesn't suspect that her boss will turn her into the target.
Six years ago, Gina Carano became one of the first women to compete in the Mixed Martial Arts or "MMA" arena. She says it was the combination of femininity and fists that convinced Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh to put her in a starring film role.
"I think my physicality is the whole reason why I got the job in the first place," she notes. "I think it is probably because I do a lot of things like guys. I fight like a guy …a little bit …and I run like a guy."
KANE: "You can tell me right now why you sold me out or you can tell me in 10 minutes when I have my hands around your throat. Surrender now if you want to live."
KENNETH: "I'm sorry, Mallory, that's not possible."
KANE: "All right, Kenneth, we'll do it your way."
Gina Carano stars in "Haywire"
"I fight for a living and I think every fighter probably watches action films and they think about what they would have done and what is realistic," Carano says. "What I'm bringing to it is just whatever I can to give these fights my own flavor and my own personality."
Channing Tatum plays a fellow secret operative and says he had to battle his own upbringing to do the visceral fight scenes with Carano.
"I grew up in the South and you don't hit women. You don't curse at them, yell at them or anything," he explains, [and] I had to smash a ketchup bottle on her face. It was so alarming to see a beautiful girl sitting across from me and I just couldn't physically do it. She had to make fun of me and challenge my manhood to be able to do it. Then I finally did and realized I made a huge mistake because I did it too hard and her face came back like that and I was, like, 'uh-oh.'"
But Ewan McGregor, who co-stars as her character's duplicitous boss, says the men quickly realized Carano's skill would make fight scenes appear realistic to the film audience without actually harming her opponents …that is, her fellow actors.
Ewan McGregor and Gina Carano in "Haywire"
"We were in very safe hands with Gina because she is so precise," McGregor explains. "I didn't feel that it was ever an issue to be worried or hurt. The only time I did get hurt is when I accidentally punched Gina in the head and she came straight up to me and said 'are you okay?' I was trying to be very [tough] and said I'm fine, but my hand was [hurting]. She didn't feel a thing."
Gina Carano says she hopes to find more film roles as she moves on from her fighting career. Haywire also features Michael Fassbender, Michael Douglas and Antonio Banderas.