It seems like the Haywire trailer came out of nowhere, but when it did, it got everyone’s attention: Real-life MMA fighter Gina Carano, a relative unknown to movie fans, faces off against such recognizable faces as Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum, and Ewan McGregor in cringe-worthy fight scenes.
So why did director Steven Soderbergh go for someone who could fight but had no on-screen experience, and is this acting gig a temporary detour for the MMA fighter or a more permanent career change? Here are the five facts we found about Gina and her involvement with Haywire.
1. Soderbergh first approached Gina barely a week after she got her ass handed to her by Christiane “Cyborg” Santos in 2009. Gina wasn’t feeling up to any sort of meeting, but she said that talking with Soderbergh was so laid-back that when he offered her the role she couldn’t say no.
2. She’s actually been on hiatus from MMA since she first started developing Haywire. Even though her last fight was the defeat at Cyborg’s hands, Gina seems content for the moment to bide her time before her return. “I don’t think my ego works like that; I kind of wish it did, because then I’d be a better fighter,” she told MMA Fighting. “I’ve gotten better at watching fights; I can get excited and handle it. I think I’m a late bloomer and I feel like I got pushed out there almost too fast.”
3. Doing every fight scene meant she had to teach her male co-stars that it’s OK to hit a girl. “I was very new to acting, they were very new to being physical with a female in fight scenes,” she said in a recent interview, “and I threw myself into the character Mallory Kane and they did the same thing with fight scene.” She did acknowledge, however, that their different skills led to a mutual respect.
4. Unlike actresses with diva reputations, Gina was totally fine with Soderbergh’s decision to drastically alter her voice. They both agreed that her character, Mallory Kane, should be an entirely different entity than Gina Carano. Soderbergh explained,
That’s not really her speaking voice. We spent a lot of time in post working really hard on her voice, and we used every trick imaginable that’s used on records today — in the editing, in the pitch. We combined five different readings in one sentence… So that took a lot of work, and we worked really hard on it. That was the point of it. Everyone under the age of 30 is terrified of Gina, but Mallory is someone new.
Gina has emphasized how excited she is simply to be involved: “There was a little joke that I was saying that even if [Soderbergh] would have shaved my head and put Bill Clinton as my voice, I would have still done it.” Here’s the trailer, and a red-carpet interview with Gina, for you to compare voices:
5. Based just on the five minutes of Haywire that’s been released, Gina has already been offered two other big roles. One is as Circes, the alluring Greek goddess, in an upcoming Percy Jackson and the Olympians sequel. The other? Wonder Woman. Even though the David E. Kelley pilot tanked, fans haven’t given up hope for a muscular, powerful woman to embody the Amazonian superhero. And it seems like they’d rather have someone with more fighting than acting experience.