Gina Carano Interview for Haywire

When you first met with Steven Sorderbergh I understand you had a very long lunch, what was it in particular that you talked about at that time?

We talked about my life and his life, films, fighting and family. It was a very relaxed kind of conversation between two people.

What sort of films did you mostly talk about?

He was talking about how in action movies he doesn’t like how they’re kind of unbelievable. Like when there’s a car chase, this person miraculously gets out of it by smashing into a bunch of cop cars and doing a whole bunch of crazy stuff. When in reality if that did happen they would get caught, right? So he was always like, what was the realistic way for a person to get away from the cops. He was talking about in action films what he wanted to see as opposed to what’s out there. More of a perspective on how things could actually happen.

He was kind of letting me know where he was coming from as far as making an action film with me.

Did he give any examples of specific action films that he did like?

He sent me a couple actually. He sent me La Femme Nikita, which I absolutely adored that movie. As far as some other ones he sent me; a couple of his movies, he sent me Bubble, The Girlfriend Experience, stuff that he’d directed to, I think, give me an idea of what kind of director he was.

What in the films of his did you see that you particularly liked? What drew you in?

I was always a fan. The one that always stuck in my mind was Traffic, when I saw that movie it was an impactful film. I just loved the way it was shot also. And Erin Brokovich and The Informant. They’re real life scenarios that you’re like, wow that’s a crazy story that probably normally I wouldn’t have been interested in but because it was directed so well, because it was put together so well, it was instantly interesting.

There are films there with strong female characters too, Erin Brokovich obviously, The Girlfriend Experience and in many ways Out of Sight too. Was the strong character of Mallory Kane something that really appealed to you?

Yeah, but he didn’t have a script written when I met him. He was just meeting with me to just see if I would be interested in doing a film with him. And he said there was no script, no studio attached to it, and then he went off and created Mallory Kane and Haywire with me in mind. But it’s kind of funny, he had me in mind but Mallory Kane ended up being the complete opposite kind of character as I am in my real life.

I know some actors don’t like watching themselves, have you seen the whole film now?

Yeah, I honestly didn’t want to see it because it was such a special time for me, making it. It was so close to my heart, everything single day on set. My grandfather and me won a state basketball tournament and we’ve never watched the video of it, because it lives in our hearts so we don’t need to see it. We’re scared that the score will change or something [laughs].

So, I saw the film a couple of months ago. I’ll probably watch it a couple of years from now but it was my first acting experience, I think I’ll let myself settle into that.

Obviously it’s quite common for fighters to watch back their fights, right?

Yeah, I always watch my fights and critique them. But when I was fighting I would get so much anxiety about fighting that I couldn’t watch other fights. It was definitely work to watch a fight, I felt everything. It was the same way with the film, I couldn’t watch any movies. Which meant I was on YouTube the whole time looking up things to make me laugh [laughs]. So, the only film I could watch was Public Enemies, with Johnny Depp in it, that was the only film that kind of relaxed me. So every night I just put that on and would just fall asleep.

I asked Steven, ‘Is this going to ruin movies for me forever? Because now I know how they’re made’ and he said, ‘No, no, not forever, it might give you more of an appreciation for it’. And sure enough finally, I guess five months later, I was like oh…

At the beginning when I tried to watch movies I caught everything – [pretends to sound exasperated] ‘Oh no, they’re ruined for life’ [laughs].

Have you watched many Muay Thai films, those with fighting styles similar to your own? Do you find yourself critiquing them?

Yeah, but I’m always a fan of the story and the dialogue though. It’s really refreshing when there is a nice fight scene. Ong Bak was one that visually, for a Muay Thai person, was good. I really enjoyed that, as far as watching him do all of his own stunts. The fight scenes were incredible.

And you did pretty much all of your own stunts in Haywire, is that right?

Yeah, I did have a stunt double for one fall but she was pretty much bored for the rest of the film [laughs]. I felt so bad for her, she had to show up every single day and be in the same clothes I did and I was doing everything. I mean, that was the whole reason I got the job, my physicality. But she was a delight and there were times, because she was an ex-gymnast, where I would be like, ‘how would you do something like this?’. And she would show me and I’d do it and so we collaborated. It was nice to have her, as far as having another female on set but I felt bad that she didn’t get to work as much. It might have been a nice refreshing vacation for her if she didn’t have to show up everyday.

What are your next plans and the end of Haywire does leave it a little open for sequel, was there any talk of that?

Well, Ewan McGregor’s so funny. He was like, ‘You know my character didn’t die.’ To Steven, ‘You know my character didn’t die. What could we do with this?’ I mean, Steven’s been talking about retiring for a long time. I don’t know if he’d be interested in doing a sequel. I think it would have had to have done really really well in the box office for him to have wanted to do a sequel.

I don’t know, I’d love to bring more of my physicality to films. I think that’s my niche right now. That was my first experience, I’m at the beginning now. I just need to get the right projects and really kind of learn, I guess.

And what was the hardest part of learning on set during Haywire?

I think just being vulnerable. It’s like when you first start fighting and you walk up to the mirror and you start shadowboxing and you feel like such a dork. You’re just punching air and you’re thinking is this how everyone else is doing it, because you don’t know anything. I think that‘s the same way when you start another career, you feel a bit funny at first and the more you learn about it you get more comfortable and understand how things work. I think being vulnerable and starting something new is probably the hardest thing in life. But I loved it and adored the whole experience and it was one of the best experiences of my life. So, of course Id love to do it a million time again.