Last November, Haywire was the secret screening at the AFI Fest, with a Q&A session afterward with director Steven Soderbergh, Gina Carano, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, moderated by Joel McHale. I discussed the movie back then with my contributor Eric Edwards, but since the movie is opening tomorrow (Jan. 20), I thought I’d post some highlights from the lively Q&A.
McHale asked Soderbergh, “How’d you find Gina?” Soderbergh said, “I watched her fights on CBS on Saturday nights…I just thought, ‘Wow’—somebody should really build a movie around this woman…She’s a natural beauty and she beats people into a pulp in a cage.” He’d just been fired from a movie (he didn’t say which one but it’s believed to be Moneyball), he’d always loved early Bond films, so he decided to combine a spy film with “this new thing” because “why is Angelina Jolie the only woman currently who’s allowed to run around with a gun?” When Carano said yes to the movie, he called screenwriter Lem Dobbs (The Limey) and mapped out a plot outline about revenge, with the directive: “She needs to beat her way through the cast.”
And beat them she did. Ewan McGregor was asked about his fight scene with her. He told a story about how he was supposed to throw a punch over her head at one point, but instead, “I punched her in the head. She came straight up and said, ‘Are you okay?’…I really f**king hurt my hand! She didn’t even feel it!”
Soderbergh said he approached Fassbender and asked, “How would you like to get your ass kicked by a woman?” Fassbender replied, “It’s one of my fetishes in life.” He said his brutal fight scene with Carano in a hotel room took two days to shoot, after which “I went back to my room and puked. I put it down to a bug and not getting my ass kicked by Gina.”
McHale asked Carano about her experience fronting the movie, surrounded by such an impressive supporting cast. She said, “It was surreal. I felt more vulnerable than I’ve ever felt in my life.” There’s been press about how her voice was electronically lowered in the movie, and though she sounded softer in real life—probably due to being nervous as a newbie doing Q&A in front of a film audience—she didn’t sound drastically different than she did as Mallory Kane.
In the movie, Carano sports cornrows at one point and McHale jokingly wanted to know if she was doing a Bo Derek homage. “I fight in cornrows,” Carano said, explaining that it keeps her hair out of her face while she’s working. McHale quipped, “I know. I work at E! Ryan [Seacrest] is always punching me in the knees.”
Speaking of hair, McGregor’s character has a geeky cut that’s “based on a guy who owns a private army,” the actor said. He declined to identify that person.
McHale moved on to Fassbender, asking about the roots of his surname. The Irish-German actor said, “In English, it means Cooper, which is someone who makes binding for barrel carts.”
News of the Kardashian divorce had recently broken back on the day of this screening, so McHale asked Soderbergh, “How do you feel?” Soderbergh said, “I almost didn’t come tonight. We’re all in a period of mourning.” He added, “I’ve been on some miserable shoots and 72 days is a long time.” Judging from the good humor and camaraderie of the cast, I’m guessing Haywire‘s shoot wasn’t one of those.
Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images