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Interview: Gina Carano wants to be more than just tough

MMA star-turned-actress Gina Carano talks about her new action film "In the Blood," wanting to do more than hurt people but happy to be young.

Gina Carano plays a woman in over her head in the thriller "In the Blood." Credit: Getty Images Gina Carano plays a woman in over her head in the thriller "In the Blood."
Credit: Getty Images

Gina Carano continues to put the skills she developed as a former mixed martial arts fighter to good use in the action film "In the Blood," starring as a newlywed on the hunt for her husband after he's kidnapped during their honeymoon. But as much as Carano enjoys kicking butt, she's looking to do more than that on screen.

The situation your playing here is pretty terrifying, feeling alone in a foreign country.

Yeah. You don't speak the same language, that panic you feel and that desperation — which was one of my favorite parts in the movie. It was hard and interesting to figure out how to show that kind of emotion on film, but once I did it I absolutely loved that feeling of getting that out. It's almost like therapy.


Was it different than other acting experiences, then?

Yeah, yeah. I'm so completely about the depth of characters, whatever that is. I like that, I like exploring. Everybody always thinks, "OK, she's just physical and just a violent woman." [Laughs] But I'm actually not at all. I thrive off of the relationships in my life and the stuff I've been through. So to be able to do something like that on film, I'm way more attracted to doing that kind of stuff. It just feels more creative.

When you're looking for roles now, are you trying to avoid stuff that's more stunt-heavy?

Absolutely, yeah. I mean, I know that I'm at a point in my life where I get to use my physicality, so I know that as much as sometimes it really sucks to be typecast, I also get to, at this point in my life, be healthy and young and actually be able to do these physical things, which I actually love. Ultimately, I really just want to be able to tell a great story whether the character I play is physical or not. I would love to do something that has nothing to do with physicality.

How nerve-wracking were the zip-line sequences?

I'm kind of afraid of heights, but I will do the stunt and I will get out there. So the first time I ever went zip-lining was for this movie, and this guy's hanging from me, I'm looking at him and I can't tell if this guy is acting or if he's genuinely afraid. [Laughs] So I just used it. I was so petrified and scared.

Other than that, how was shooting on location?

It was exactly how the movie felt, actually. At the beginning, I showed up in Puerto Rico and I was instantly in a wedding dress, and it's this beautiful scenery, it's this big celebration and everyone's happy. Then slowly throughout the movie you start moving into the more risky areas of Puerto Rico and you kind of start to experience the scary part. By the time I was done filming this movie, I just happy to be alive. [Laughs] John Stockwell, the director, he likes to put you in real-life circumstances with real people, not just actors. So it was really thrilling. It was an intense shoot. But I really enjoyed it because I grew as an actress, I grew as a person, I grew in so many different ways.

Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter @nedrick

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