Director Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire made its world premiere at last night’s AFI FEST sneak screening, providing a packed audience with the first taste of the fruit of the director’s efforts with his latest muse: MMA star Gina Carano. Soderbergh was introduced to the American Gladiator athlete and mixed martial arts expert while watching TV one Saturday evening. He was inspired by Carano’s striking combination of beauty and pure, unrelenting, ferocious fighting power, and having just been let go from a directorial job he decided to focus his energy on creating an espionage/action film that would serve to highlight Carano’s cage-fighting skills.

Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas, Bill Paxton and Michael Douglas all signed on to take part in Gina’s introduction to the world of movie-making. Though she was a model and established fighter, Carano had never acted prior to her involvement in this film, and has said that she “never felt more vulnerable in her life.” She was quite in her skin during the brutally raw fight sequences, but felt exposed and well out of her element when she first began her scene work with these established veterans.

When Soderbergh chose to craft a film around Carano he hoped to present the world with a more realistic female action star, a woman that we as an audience can truly believe is capable of the physical feats that she performs in this film. It is less about showcasing her talents as an actress and more about broadening her reach as an awe-inspiring MMA performer. As such, in some ways Haywire is to Gina Carano what Conan The Barbarian was to Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1982 (though they are very different films and performers).

We had the opportunity to speak with Carano and her co-star Channing Tatum briefly about the knock-down, fast-paced, hand-to-hand, furniture-smashing fights that define Haywire and their hopes for ushering in a new era for the female action star.

Carano also provides some hints about her possible future as the live-action version of the comic-book heroine Adrenaline.

Take a look at the interviews and the synopsis for the film below.


Mallory Kane (Carano) is a highly trained operative who works for a government security contractor in the dirtiest, most dangerous corners of the world. After successfully freeing a Chinese journalist held hostage, she is double crossed and left for dead by someone close to her in her own agency. Suddenly the target of skilled assassins who know her every move, Mallory must find the truth in order to stay alive. Using her black-ops military training, she devises an ingenious—and dangerous—trap. But when things go haywire, Mallory realizes she’ll be killed in the blink of an eye unless she finds a way to turn the tables on her ruthless adversary.

Haywire interview with Channing Tatum:

Haywire interview with Gina Carano:

Haywire opens in theaters on January 20th, 2012.

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