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January 18, 2012


Gina Carano and Haywire

Gina Carano

Steven Soderbergh's newest movie (his 25th!) Haywire comes out this week, and one early review from Hollywood Reporter has a lot of enthusiasm for Gina Carano and the ass-kicking she delivers to pretty much the entire cast. Carano is a top mixed martial arts star who Soderbergh caught on TV by chance one day--she's an experienced performer, but this is her first time doing conventional movie acting. I'm not expecting a nuanced story or anything like realism, but the fight scenes are going to be freakin' amazing. From the review:

Soderbergh shoots her half-a-dozen or so fight scenes without doubles or cheat editing, emphasizing his star's abilities to the extent that the semblance and extremity of the combat's reality becomes the film's entire raison d'etre.

As solid as all the male actors are, in the end the show belongs to Soderbergh, who took a risk with a largely untested leading lady, and Carano, whose shoulders, and everything else, prove plenty strong enough to carry the film. The director shrewdly determined what she could and perhaps couldn't do, and she delivers with a turn that makes other actresses who have attempted such roles, no matter how toned and buff they became, look like pretenders.

Soderbergh also cast performers who weren't conventional actors in The Girlfriend Experience, which was a pretty good movie, but I was left cold by Sasha Grey's flat, slack-jawed performance. Since Soderbergh gives Gina Carano something to do in Haywire, and seems to rely on her ability to throw a punch and not on her emotional expressiveness, I'm expecting better things. Plus, I'm delighted to see a female action movie star with arms that actually look like they could pound someone. As evidenced by her excellent photo shoot in this month's GQ (which praises her "debutante prettiness and skull-crushing thighs"):

Gina Carano in GQ

There's a great in-depth interview with Soderbergh at The AV Club about how he found and cast Carano, how he conceptualized the script, and why he doesn't use a handheld camera for fight scenes when his actors actually know how to fight (yay.)

A few excerpts that make me really excited for this movie:

I basically said, "Look, it's kind of a female version of The Limey. I want it to be nonlinear, and it's a revenge movie. I want her to beat her way through the cast." And [screenwriter Lem Dobbs] said, "Got it."

It took Gina a while to learn how to pull her punches. She hit a couple of the coordinators by accident. But she got there. That was a tricky scene for her, since we were able to give Michael Fassbender a little bit of padding, because she's really strong. She hits really hard. But she didn't get any padding, because she's in a cocktail dress. She had to keep telling him, "You can hit me harder than that. It's not going to look good if you don't."

I just find it annoying that in these [fight] sequences, traditionally, there's music trying to pump you up. I don't like that, personally, as an audience member. There were days, especially for the scene on the beach on the end, where some people were trying to convince me to put score over it, and I just wouldn't. I just thought, "No, it's great. We have the waves, we have the sound of their feet on the sand, and the sound of her punching him in the face."

Soderbergh's got three more movies in the pipeline, but still claims he's quitting after that. Hmph.

categories: Celebrities, Movies
posted by amy at 1:58 PM | #

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