Five Favorite Films with Gina Carano
The Mixed Martial Arts champion and star of this week's Haywire talks about her favorite films and working with Steven Soderbergh and her co-stars.
History is littered with the corpses of sports champs whose bids for movie immortality have been dubious at best; for every Hong Kong martial arts superstar and Austrian bodybuilder there are scores of straight-to-video beefcakes lacking the onscreen charisma to match their real-life skills. Rarer still is the successful female action hero crossover, but this week -- with the somewhat unlikely help of genre-shifting filmmaker Steven Soderbergh -- a new one arrives in the shape of Gina Carano, former Mixed Martial Arts fighter and now star of her very own spy thriller, Haywire.
The story goes that Soderbergh caught one of Carano's fights on TV one evening and couldn't believe the talented -- and visually striking -- fighter wasn't headlining her own movie. So, with the help of screenwriter Lem Dobbs (The Limey) and a supporting cast of thespian eye-candy that includes Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Antonio Banderas, Channing Tatum and Michael Douglas, he set about putting together an action vehicle for Carano, in which the fledgling actress plays a CIA-trained assassin on the loose and out to avenge those who double-crossed her. With its minimalist plot, punishing (yet expertly-staged) fight choreography and throwback thriller cool, Haywire is the kind of film that seems almost too good to be true in the movie release graveyard of January -- and, if fate smiles upon it, should make a new action hero of its leading lady. We had the chance to chat with Carano about the movie recently; but first, she ran through five of her all-time favorite films.
True Romance would definitely be in my top five. I particularly loved Patricia Arquette in True Romance. I loved how delicate she is but also how down she is in the fight scene in that film -- it's by far one of my favorite fight scenes ever. It's just so real. I loved that hotel fight scene. And of course I loved the dialogue. I loved how you could just get so attached to the characters. That's kind of like a fairytale for me: to think that two people could meet like that and be completely, you know -- just 100 per cent have each other's back, instead of all the bullshit we go through in everyday life. Two people that just fell in love, and their dedication to each other -- that really comes through in the film. And I think the whole story, and the dialogue, is just really cool.
Another one of mine is Braveheart. I just loved the whole -- I mean, I love anything that you can really feel. That was such a beautiful story, and the way it was filmed, and just the heart -- it just grabs your attention and you can't stop watching it. The tragedy in it. It's epic. It's one of those movies you can only dream about being in. I think I watched that movie before every fight. And I cry at the end of that movie. I must have seen it millions of times. I'm like that: I like to watch movies over and over and over, and so I've done that with Braveheart.
That ending gets you ready to fight?
Yeah! I just walk away from that feeling very good and free and ready to take on the world for some reason. [Laughs]
Let Me In (Matt Reeves, 2010; 89% Tomatometer)
You know the movie Let Me In? The new one -- I haven't seen the original. I really liked that movie. I don't know why. It's just one of those movies that I loved the relationship, and the dark story behind it all. I loved those two young characters, and how wonderful actors and actresses they were. I really enjoyed that movie.
Cry-Baby (John Waters, 1990; 76% Tomatometer)
I have to say -- there's gotta be a movie with Johnny Depp in it, because he's one of my utmost favorite actors. I'll tell you one of my old school favorites, and that's Cry-Baby. That's gotta be the comedy part of me coming out.
Oh, I love Cry-Baby.
You do?! Oh my gosh, that's so funny. 'Cause sometimes people look at me like I'm crazy when I say that. But I really do love that movie. It just made me laugh. And the characters in it... At the time [I saw it] I was in high school. I could probably quote that whole movie without even watching it. It puts a huge smile on my face. And [Depp's] just so phenomenal in it; and it's a musical as well. I still love Hatchet Face: "There's nothin' the matter with my face!" [Laughs]
Next, Carano chats about working with Steven Soderbergh and dueling with her co-stars.
I liked Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. I really enjoyed that movie. And I kind of fell in love with Paul Newman for a phase. [Laughs] I really kind of fell in love with him and started watching all of his movies.
He was a pretty handsome guy.
Yeah, and I hear that he was pretty short also, which is unfortunate for me -- 'cause I'm 5'8". So there would have been no me stalking him.