After all the drama surrounding Moneyball earlier this year, Steven Soderbergh (Ocean's trilogy, The Informant!) has shrugged his shoulders of it and is moving onto another project, the bluntly titled Knockout. The film is a spy thriller that will see the true acting debut of female MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighter, Gina Carano, and is described as being closer to La Femma Nakita and Kill Bill than Million Dollar Baby.
Knockout will be directed by Soderbergh, produced by Gregory Jacobs (Soderbergh's long-time collaborator) written by Lem Dobbs (who's written a couple of Soderbergh movies before) and financed/produced by Relativity Media.
Carano's big-screen debut will see her playing, "a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who is given a second chance to use her skills for constructive purposes." Soderbergh considers it an action film in the style of James Bond, as opposed to being set in and around the (fighting) ring like the aforementioned Million Dollar Baby.
Carano is considered the face of women's mixed martial arts fighting, and has a record of seven wins to one loss (the latter being last month). Along with fighting in MMA, she's also appeared as the Gladiator "Crush" on American Gladiators, as well as starring in a couple of documentaries, appearing in some cut scenes in Command & Conquer 3, and a small role in the Michael Jai White action film, Blood and Bone. So we know she has the kick-ass credentials for a film like Knockout. Added to that, Carano is... well, let's just say she's got the looks, too.
This isn't the first time Soderbergh has directed a film starring a young woman who has never truly acted before (Carano's not totally inexperienced, but has never appeared in a leading role). Soderbergh's indie film The Girlfriend Experience (see my review) starred adult-film star Sasha Grey in the lead role (not that good of a movie IMO, but Grey was great in it) - so maybe if Carano does well in her Knockout role, then Soderbergh can add another thing to his lists of filmmaking talents.
What do you think of Soderbergh's next project? Do you think Carano will do well in her first proper starring role?
Knockout is planned by Soderbergh to start production in late January next year, with shooting hoped to take place around the world in locations like Turkey, Ireland and the U.S. No release date has been set yet, but domestic distribution is expected to be locked very soon.
Sources: Variety and ThePlaylist