Channing Tatum knows how to pick a fight. Last year, he quite vocally went on the record admitting he wasn’t interested in watching or starring opposite a female action hero until Hollywood unearthed a woman who was truly intimidating. “I’ve always wanted someone that I would be afraid to fight.
And they found one,” he grins, sitting in a suite at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills where he’s promoting his latest film, “Haywire,” a Bourne-esque action thriller about a covert operative caught in a deadly double cross that’s headlined by female mixed-martial arts star Gina Carano. “Isn’t she just the most amazing little thing ever?” Tatum gushes. “I mean, she’s diesel, but she’s just got the best heart and she’s so good in this movie.”
Carano, best known for her fight appearances and role as Crush on “American Gladiators,” was approached by “Haywire” director Steven Soderbergh to do an action movie, though he did caution her it would be “interesting” to see who signed opposite on for roles that demanded grown men get their butts kicked by a girl … who also happens to be a trained Muy Thai fighter. “She’s a real fighter, she can beat up most dudes,” Tatum chuckles.
Her other co-stars are equally enthusiastic: “Oh, I got my butt kicked sideways by her and I loved every minute of it,” Ewan McGregor offers. “It never crossed my mind for a minute not to do the movie for some macho reason.”
Carano, who describes herself as “a tomboy who also loved ‘Pride and Prejudice,’” says she feels incredibly lucky to have been given the chance to do any movie, let alone the lead in a Soderbergh project. “I don’t consider myself what people are necessarily looking for,” she says, surprisingly sheepish for someone who knows her way around a submission choke-out.
She recalls her first day of work, which had her going toe-to-toe with one of 2011’s breakout stars, Michael Fassbender. “I showed up and Michael said, ‘You want to run lines?’ And I said, ‘Please.’ It was the first time I’d run lines with an actor.” she says. “He put some whiskey down in front of me and said, ‘OK, let’s do this.’”