Gina Carano: It Wasn't Easy Getting Here
On screen, Gina Carano is an ass-kicking, bone-crunching, tough-as-nails femme fatale. In person, she's soft-spoken and giggly, something I wasn't expecting. Although maybe I should have anticipated this duality since her performance in Steven Soderberg's Haywire perfectly played to both of these strengths in creating her character (a black ops super soldier who is set up during a mission by her ex-lover).
And while Gina continues to line up action movies, her longterm cinematic goals involve much less bruising. I caught up with the rising star to talk about her big screen debut, joining the next Fast & Furious film and why she longs to be featured in a lavish musical number.
Insider.com: Nothing like making your big screen debut as the star of an action movie where you beat up Hollywood's hottest men for 2 hours. Did you feel like, Go Big or Go Home?
Gina Carano: [laughs] Yea, I kind of did. I'd never done much acting before, never read lines with other actors before or anything like that. I mean, Michael Fassbender was the first person I'd ever gone over dialogue with. I had to ask, "How do we do this?" [laughs] Being someone who has never been in a play or this world at all, you kind of feel a little silly at first, but then you realize this is what this job requires and you have to roll with it.
Insider: As a trained fighter, what were you more nervous about: the performance or not accidentally punching these actors?
Gina: Definitely the performance. Yes, this cast was filled with the most beautiful people I've ever worked with, but I feel really comfortable throwing punches and using my body. I feel like what I've been doing for the last 10 years is an expression like acting is, but I've just never needed to use my words. And now these words are a character's words. I was the most nervous about that, but Steven Soderberg really held my hand throughout the process – and he knew I was new to all of this.
Insider: I loved that while strong, Mallory was also very feminine. Looking at your next projects, it it important to keep walking that line and showing all the colors of what a woman can be?
Gina: Absolutely. I want to educate the world a little bit on what this type of woman can be. I have a lot to give in terms of being physical, but I also have a lot of expectations for myself in terms of what I want to see on a big screen. Eventually I'd like to move into more comedy or drama, but that's later – right now, I want to open eyes to the fact there are a lot of women out there like me, which I think is refreshing for a lot of people.
Insider: Is that what attracted you to the sixth Fast & Furious film?
Gina: Absolutely. That was kind of a surprise because it's such a huge film. For someone like me, that will be an awesome learning experience and was such a cool phonecall to get. I'm really excited about it.
Insider: Any truth to reports you're also going to star in a female version of Taken?
Gina: Yes [it's called In The Blood]. That's the film I was working on before getting the call for Fast. It's a project I'm so excited to get into soon. I love the character because she has to figure out how to defend her husband after he gets hurt. I hope it makes women think about how far they'll go to defend and find their loved one. I think that hits home.
Insider: A lot of stars have older actors to use as reference points for career paths. You really don't.
Gina: I know, man [laughs]. It's been the story of my life. It hasn't been easy getting here, but that makes me more thankful to actually be here. I haven't seen anybody do it the way I want to do it – but I want to get better at acting. I know what it takes to train in something and see yourself get better – there's a never-ending knowledge absorption. I can see acting being that for me. I really want to get good at this.
Insider: Is there any kind of movie you would or could never do? Say, a musical?
Gina: You know what's so funny? When I was little I would watch Annie and A White Christmas and I would dream of dancing down some stairs like they do in every movie-musical. If those old school musicals ever came back, I would be the first in the audition room [laughs].
Insider: Can you sing?
Gina: I can hold a tune. It's something else I would have to work on [laughs]. But I think I'm a good singer in my car. With the music blaring.
Insider: Are you into karaoke?
Gina: I'm a huge fan of karaoke. The thing is, when I get up there, I take it so seriously, so it kind of intimidates me and dissuades me from getting up there. It's like I have stage fright or something [laughs].
Insider: What's your go-to-karaoke song?
Gina: Don't Stop Believing by Journey. Always a good one. But I really want people to open up some karaoke places where you can do some modern songs. Those are the songs I'm singing. Those are the songs I know – I have the musical tastes of a 12 year old boy [laughs].
Haywire is now on DVD.