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

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