When MMA fighter-turned-action star Gina Carano first met with her A-list “Haywire” co-stars — Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor and Antonio Banderas — she did so knowing that at some point in the near future, she’d likely have to beat them up.
But according to Carano, that fact never got in the way of their working relationships. “It wasn’t about beating each other up,” she said. “It was about creating something great, and that’s what they do every day on film, so it was nice to be able to share what I do.”
Carano spoke with MTV News in the lead up to the release of “Haywire” on Blu-ray this week, and she explained that her approach to fighting on film was not that different from her cage fighting. “I’ve learned through fighting that you never judge anybody off of what you think you know about them,” she said.
Even months after the initial release of “Haywire,” the hard blows of Carano’s fight with Fassbender stand out as some of the best of the year. For Carano, it was a very intimate experience between her and her co-star. “It was just very intense. The adrenaline’s up,” she said. “It’s one of the best feelings in the world.”
Fassbender brought as much to the fight as Carano did, according to the actress. “He’s a great guy and a great actor. He’s got a really special energy about him and he brings that to whatever he does,” she said. “It was the first fight scene that we got to film, so it was that much more special. It just kind of moves through the room in a very sexy way. It’s got a really beautiful story to it.”
With the health and safety of some of Hollywood’s top talent in her hands, Carano was acutely aware of her responsibilities on set. “I was made aware that I was the lead actress, but I would also be the lead stunt woman. Some people have a very big weight on their shoulders to carry because they have to take care of the people who are going to be on film,” she said. “You can replace a stunt person, but you can’t replace these actors.”
It was Carano’s experience in the octagon that allowed her to keep everyone safe from her own special talents. “I knew that these actors signed on knowing that Steven Soderbergh is the director and he’s going to take care of them. It was easy for me because I’m used to controlling my body in those circumstances,” she said. “They were such cool guys, and it was OK if we got bumps and bruises along the way because we were working for something.”
What it really came down to when making a fight scene work was respect between Carano and her on-screen opponent. “There were no egos involved. I think on these other action films sometimes, you put a guy against a guy, and it becomes this ego struggle,” she said. “With me, it’s like, ’I’m going to take care of you, but I’m going to make it look good.’ They trusted me. I really feel like they trusted their bodies in my hands. It was a mutual kind of respect.”
“Haywire” hits Blu-ray and DVD on May 1.
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