The next major action star arrives on the big screen this Friday in Steven Soderbergh's Haywire, and as Ewan McGregor tells Michael Fassbender in the film, "You shouldn't think of her as being a woman. That would be a mistake."
In Haywire, mixed martial arts superstar Gina Carano gets her shot at big-screen stardom as a highly trained operative for hire who finds herself on the run after being double-crossed. In Soderbergh's capable hands, the film makes her look like a relentless "Jane Bourne." Look out, Matt Damon…
"I found a second love in doing this movie," Gina tells ET, saying that her Hollywood co-stars, from McGregor and Fassbender to Channing Tatum, Antonio Banderas and Michael Douglas, were "genuine characters" intent on bringing out the best in her onscreen.
"I've always seen them on films, but meeting them in person and seeing how open they were to working with an amateur like me, it was really nice," she explains. "I had the physicality to bring to [the role], and then they helped me out with the acting, knowing I had never done it before, and so we kind of had a nice little balanced trade-out."
As for the onscreen tussles, it was 100% Gina: "All the fight scenes are completely me, and all the fight scenes for the guys are completely them. There was never any body-double for them."
"She's absolutely precise and professional and I always knew that I was in safe hands with her," says Ewan. "She's 20 times stronger than I am and 20 times fitter than I am, and my only worry was keeping up with her." He adds that his fight scenes with her were "exhausting," especially one that takes place in the sand, but in the end, "she looked after me."
"She is beautifully gentle and feminine and caring and spiritual about her fighting, but capable of extreme violence in the ring," he continues, "but it seems like that's the only place that that happens – luckily for all of us."
So, what's next for Gina, who has been out of the mixed martial arts circuit for the last two years?
"I'm still very unsure about what my future holds, but I just need an outlet, a way to express myself, and I'll be okay," she says. "People love to be skeptical and so I'm very interested to see where I land after this comes out January 20."