Five Favorite Films

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.

by | January 18, 2012 | Comments

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 (Tony Scott, 1993; 91% Tomatometer)

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.

Braveheart (Mel Gibson, 1995; 79% Tomatometer)

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]

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (George Roy Hill, 1969; 89% Tomatometer)

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.

Next, Carano chats about working with Steven Soderbergh and dueling with her co-stars.


Steven Soderbergh really threw you in the deep end here, headlining your first major film against some serious acting talent. Were you daunted by the challenge?

Gina Carano: Yeah he threw me in the deep end, but he threw himself in with me, you know. It wasn’t like I was by myself — and he knows how to swim like an Olympic champion. He was right along with me and he knew exactly what he wanted. It was really refreshing to meet a man with a vision who knows exactly what he wants to do, and he doesn’t — he doesn’t panic, and never gives up. And I really saw that in him. The people that he surrounded me with — not only on-screen, but off-screen — made me very comfortable. I felt like the whole reason I got the job was because of my physicality, and so I felt more confident than I ever have in bringing fighting to the big screen.

Working alongside people like Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, Michael Douglas and Antonio Banderas — that must have been some crash course in acting for a first-timer.

Well, the first person I started off with was Fassbender, and whether any of them knew it or not I was 100 per cent observing and learning as much as I could from them. And what I realized was they really go with their gut instinct on certain things, and they really put their heart into what they do, and their opinion into the characters that they choose.

Even Steven said, It’s gonna be really interesting to see who takes these roles, because the guys that take these roles are gonna have to be okay with being physical with a female and/or possibly getting beat up by a female — so we’re really gonna find out who’s an actor by the guys that take these roles. And they were all so genuine. There were no egos involved. It was all about creating the best possible scenario, instead of, you know, “Well my character needs more of this or more of this.” It wasn’t about that. It was about creating something beautiful, regardless of how they looked after. So I thought that was really cool.

How did the other actors take to the physicality of the action in the film?

I think that, you know, being physical in those situations is acting. With physicality, even if there’s no lines in a movie, just walking around you still have a camera on you — so I really realized how genius these guys are. Because they didn’t have the last nine years I had to get good at technique; they only had a certain amount of time in their schedules to learn these fight scenes, so it was really fascinating to see how quickly they all picked it up, and how much they threw themselves into it. Every single one of them — Channing, Michael, Ewan — nobody wanted a body double, nobody said, “Oh, that’s too tough for me,” you know; they all wanted to do more.

Once they all realized they could throw me around, you know, and be as completely physical with me as they would a man — except that there’s no ego there — then it was so much fun for us to walk away with bruises. It was really one of the most poetic feelings in the world; especially because my purpose in the fight isn’t to hurt them as much as take care of them. So it was kind of like this cool, weird thing where you could be physically violent with each other but at the same time take care of each other. That was very interesting to see that they just threw themselves completely into it.

Haywire opens in theaters across the US and UK week.

Tag Cloud

21st Century Fox australia SDCC Apple TV+ aliens Binge Guide Paramount Network television Comedy Central cooking worst movies name the review BET Awards a nightmare on elm street Funimation olympics streaming halloween dogs Creative Arts Emmys 93rd Oscars tv talk feel good book SundanceTV Trailer doctor who 1990s zero dark thirty wonder woman Photos DGA witnail Election Oscar Tomatazos The Walking Dead 2021 discovery romantic comedy TIFF TLC animated 79th Golden Globes Awards south america USA Network Extras 20th Century Fox comic book movies comiccon Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt spinoff hollywood TNT HBO Go war movie Rocky TCA Awards festival breaking bad BET slasher Image Comics The Witch Rom-Com TV movies The Purge game show dexter rom-coms Song of Ice and Fire international Teen Summer new york Paramount Pictures Avengers PaleyFest 99% TV One monster movies women The Academy Chilling Adventures of Sabrina political drama Ovation Awards 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Esquire WarnerMedia science fiction crime transformers true crime travel Ellie Kemper Toys superman Elton John theme song halloween tv young adult directors Kids & Family MSNBC First Reviews CBS All Access 2020 Winners President Alien diversity mockumentary christmas movies hispanic heritage month king arthur Best Actor interviews X-Men BBC One disaster Musicals Disney Hallmark italian BBC America werewolf Emmys summer TV preview Instagram Live slashers Best and Worst screenings Certified Fresh medical drama Winter TV Turner Classic Movies docuseries 73rd Emmy Awards Year in Review book adaptation leaderboard 2017 Nickelodeon APB Christmas crossover dark Music 90s gangster Chernobyl revenge Nat Geo Sneak Peek South by Southwest Film Festival FOX Polls and Games IMDb TV CW Seed ABC Signature Awards Tour space 71st Emmy Awards Grammys binge Sony Pictures suspense Fargo Podcast Martial Arts toronto Travel Channel Prime Video Fall TV docudrama best BAFTA Walt Disney Pictures zombie children's TV blockbusters Warner Bros. talk show Video Games spanish language biopic die hard kong legend stand-up comedy psycho See It Skip It Opinion Television Critics Association Marvel Television Black Mirror latino DC Comics Star Trek japanese technology Best Actress hidden camera all-time El Rey ghosts Spring TV Character Guide Best Picture reviews Pride Month twilight documentaries Baby Yoda GLAAD comedies TCA 2017 fast and furious ratings quibi reboot sag awards anime blaxploitation Pet Sematary Country Fox News BBC festivals new zealand archives TV renewals singing competition CMT TCA Winter 2020 adventure Legendary Vudu GIFs Schedule Peacock Heroines Mystery crime thriller sitcom YouTube History live event TV Land Discovery Channel mcc mutant Turner lord of the rings Interview cancelled TV shows casting Tubi dreamworks 45 YouTube Premium harry potter cartoon Lifetime Christmas movies DC Universe golden globes king kong E! ESPN Sci-Fi Freeform AMC Plus Syfy series scene in color trailers Spectrum Originals Marvel posters Masterpiece parents movies kids Comics on TV ABC Family Tags: Comedy historical drama batman basketball kaiju Mary Poppins Returns black canceled TV shows Comic-Con@Home 2021 live action superhero award winner laika HBO Shudder Crackle Lucasfilm rt labs news ABC Apple police drama cancelled television mob remakes boxing versus unscripted Western spy thriller 2016 new star wars movies dragons Paramount Plus natural history nbcuniversal spider-verse Academy Awards CNN Hollywood Foreign Press Association cults summer preview game of thrones DirecTV Ghostbusters Holiday 72 Emmy Awards Amazon FX on Hulu toy story Cannes Epix godzilla OWN FXX Crunchyroll Starz VICE social media blockbuster San Diego Comic-Con boxoffice Infographic HFPA Disney+ Disney Plus concert satire franchise Netflix what to watch Tokyo Olympics RT21 stop motion sequel spain YA nature sopranos Fox Searchlight asian-american Pop Trivia broadcast A&E Valentine's Day Britbox Box Office TCA NBC deadpool jurassic park independent Reality VH1 finale sequels Mindy Kaling summer TV Adult Swim trophy CBS teaser Oscars The Arrangement Showtime scary Brie Larson robots 4/20 strong female leads rt archives prank Comic Book Rocketman marvel cinematic universe zombies telelvision facebook rt labs critics edition Black History Month adaptation Neflix WGN 94th Oscars saw ViacomCBS Film Premiere Dates razzies PBS National Geographic nfl Stephen King YouTube Red renewed TV shows DC streaming service Broadway canceled Bravo Family 2015 fresh miniseries SXSW The CW composers American Society of Cinematographers Exclusive Video Disney Plus 2019 psychological thriller popular Cartoon Network Writers Guild of America Disney Channel Women's History Month genre green book hispanic royal family GoT Shondaland Tumblr LGBTQ james bond Drama Pixar ITV richard e. Grant joker cinemax Columbia Pictures Hear Us Out screen actors guild Comedy TBS Mary poppins obituary SXSW 2022 Apple TV Plus Acorn TV Arrowverse Quiz Best Director Logo Thanksgiving emmy awards high school Set visit rotten movies we love Superheroes AMC Anna Paquin Calendar Sundance TV A24 supernatural HBO Max Pacific Islander FX Cosplay NYCC Fantasy chucky classics aapi dceu Trophy Talk Universal Pictures Countdown Nominations Action scorecard MGM vs. foreign Rock art house justice league golden globe awards Star Wars hist dramedy Horror politics debate Disney streaming service biography Marvel Studios know your critic indie Lifetime The Walt Disney Company Sundance Now First Look E3 Watching Series spanish Wes Anderson vampires anthology worst Emmy Nominations Television Academy Universal serial killer NBA Pop TV indiana jones Mudbound free movies 007 crime drama IFC USA universal monsters cats Biopics cancelled TV series VOD Endgame Amazon Prime football 2018 Food Network comic scary movies New York Comic Con Red Carpet 24 frames comic book movie Marathons Amazon Studios TV TruTV comic books Sundance Reality Competition dc mission: impossible cops Animation obi wan Holidays based on movie black comedy IFC Films Spike TCM Lionsgate criterion period drama target OneApp pirates of the caribbean films MCU Tarantino critic resources heist movie cancelled Captain marvel thriller stoner video on demand documentary Netflix Christmas movies cars Pirates LGBT rotten Paramount japan adenture romance Hallmark Christmas movies Mary Tyler Moore MTV Hulu streaming movies Film Festival Super Bowl action-comedy PlayStation Superheroe elevated horror Amazon Prime Video sports streamig spider-man french Focus Features RT History Musical child's play video marvel comics venice jamie lee curtis comics critics ID Classic Film Dark Horse Comics