Gina Carano, Christian schoolgirl-turned fighter/actress: 'I'm not a bad girl' (Q&A, Video)
Gina Carano may appear fearless, as she showcases her mixed martial arts fighting skills in the new spy thriller "Haywire" and even produced a play when she was a Christian schoolgirl.
Now tell her she's got to kiss co-star Channing Tatum on camera.
"I think he probably felt my heart beat through my mouth," she told OnTheRedCarpet.com. "I've never been ordered to kiss someone in front of people and it's all quiet and the camera's right there and you're like, 'I hope people consider me a decent kisser, 'cause that's going to be on film forever.'"
Tatum told the MMA program "H.E.A.T" that Carano is "beautiful" and that he followed her career before they filmed "Haywire."
"I was like, just don't punch me if I go too far," he joked, when referencing the kissing scene.
"Haywire" also stars Michael Fassbender, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Ewan McGregor and Bill Paxton. It is the second and biggest film for Carano, a 29-year-old Texas native, who also appeared on the reboot of the show "American Gladiators."
The thriller is directed by Steven Soderbergh. Carano plays Mallory Kane, a freelance covert operative who is betrayed by a person who works for her agency and seeks revenge, while assassins are sent to kill her.
Tatum also plays an agent, while McGregor plays her character's point man. Fassbender portrays an operative who accompanies her on a mission. Paxton, formerly of "Big Love" fame," plays her father, and Douglas and Banderas play her bosses.
Check out a Q&A interview with Gina Carano.
I do not believe this is your acting debut and I believe this is a video of you in grade school or something.
"In third grade, I put together this play where we performed it in front of the whole elementary school and since it ended up being so good, they played it for the high school. It was kind of like a mime play so everything was to music."
"I went to a Christian school. My mom was a missionary and she actually missionaried in Thailand and it was one of the ones I'd seen so many times that she'd done in Thailand and so I just copied that. During our recess, I would pass out the characters to everyone and I had everybody do it and it was just as good as how my mom did it. It was just, visually, I saw it and then I taught it."
So you were destined to be in front of the camera.
"I think I was destined to express myself."
I think three times at least in this film, I was sucker-punched because I did not know there was going to be a fight. It all happens very surprisingly, which is part of the fun of the movie.
"It's also real life. All the fights I'd been in outside the ring, in my earlier life, they always happen like that. It's always this fight where like, 'Oh god, I can't believe that just happened. It happened out of nowhere.' So that's Soderbergh all the way. He just, he really grasps that idea of realism, I think."
So you're saying you got into some fights - you were a bad girl as a kid?
"I wasn't a bad girl. I was just very ... my parents always taught me never back down and so I didn't. But I never went out looking for trouble. I'm not a bad girl. I'm just a girl who stood her ground and was a little bit confused with the bad girl, I think. So I got in trouble. I'm not going to look like I'm an angel, here. But I don't go looking for fights."
NOTE: Carano last fought in an MMA match in 2009.
Anyone who would do this role would need to have a certain physicality, which you clearly have. But I want to know why Soderbergh said it has to be you. This is a risk.
"It was definitely a risk and I think that is what makes him so great. You take big risks in life and the bigger ones you take, the more you learn from them. Not all of them are great risks and the risks in my life & I mean, going into the cage, people always ask me, 'Aren't you worried? You're putting your life on the line but you're also putting your looks and everything ... what if you break your nose?' I wouldn't want to live like that, in a box where I live day to day worried about not doing something that I was passionate about because of what other people are going to destroy and say about it."
This is your first time out and your first makeout sessions with Channing Tatum. So how many carrots did you dangle over your girlfriends and tell them, 'Guess who I'm kissing today?'
"I didn't. I didn't tell anyone. I didn't really call anyone during this film. I kept it to myself and I kept it very special and then when they saw it, they were like, 'Gina, really? You didn't tell us about this.' And still, a lot of them haven't seen it yet, so I'm really kind of smiling inside. I like to have people find things themselves. I love to find surprises. I love being surprised."
Reporting by George Pennacchio of KABC Television, which produces the syndicated entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings).
Check out the trailer for "Haywire."