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Soderbergh on KO

09.30.2009

You may remember that Steven Soderbergh stunned a lot of people not too long ago with the choice of his lead for his next project, KNOCKOUT. He plucked superhot MMA fighter Gina "Crush" Carano out of the octagon to fill the badass title role, despite her almost complete lack of any acting experience.

Soderbergh recently chatted with Empire about that decision, and just what exactly we can expect from her in KNOCKOUT:

“My feeling was, If I don’t do this, somebody else will,” says the Oscar-winning director. “I felt, somebody is going to look at her and go, ‘She should be in a movie!’ And I felt like, Why shouldn’t I be the person saying that?”

“If you start following the female mma fighters, Gina pops out pretty noticeably,” says Soderbergh. “I thought it was a fascinating combination of appearance and activity... I’d been wanting to make a spy action film for a while, but hadn’t really determined what I was going to bring to it that would distinguish it from the traditional approach. Then I thought, ‘Why don’t I just build it around her? She can actually break people in half.’ I was interested in doing something ultra-realistic.”

And as for the film itself?

“My desire is for it to be a very realistic portrayal of somebody who gets hired, as these people do, by the government, to go and perform certain duties that it would be inappropriate to give to the military,” says Soderbergh. “That could be anything from a hostage-grab to surveillance to an actual killing... a combination of a Bond movie and Point Blank”

I guess it remains to be seen if she can actually act, but I applaud the effort in trying to get a real badass female action star out there, which hasn’t really happened in a long, long time. Sure there are female movie martial artists (Yeoh, Ziyi), and Angelina Jolie tries to be a hardass every so often. Uma Thurman had a shot (then regressed into movies like MY SUPER EX-GIRLFRIEND and MOTHERHOOD), and even Sigourney Weaver's run didn't really extend past the ALIEN series. Where are our female Schwarzeneggers, Stallones, Van Dammes and Stathams, who consistently kick ass across multiple films?

Can Crush pick up a mantle that doesn’t really even exist yet? I suppose we’ll find out, but I’m rooting for her.

Extra Tidbit: Carano never lost a single game to a challenger during her entire run on "American Gladiators."
Source: Empire

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