(Ready for her close-up. Image courtesy of gina-carano.org.)
According to Variety, Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh (Oceans 11/12/13, Traffic, Erin Brockovich, Out of Sight) has cast MMA starlet Gina Carano in the lead role of his next film. Here’s what we’re dealing with:
Scripted by Lem Dobbs
, “Knockout” casts Carano as a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who is given a second chance to use her skills for constructive purposes. The film is a closer cousin to “La Femme Nikita” and “Kill Bill” than “Million Dollar Baby,” in that it doesn’t take place in the fight ring. Rather, Soderbergh considers the film as a flat out action film in the James Bond mold, and will shoot in locations around the world that include Ireland, Turkey and the U.S. Soderbergh will surround Carano will name actors in supporting roles.
Knockout, which begins production in late January 2010, follows a very busy 2009 for Soderbergh, who released two movies this year: The Girlfriend Experience (which employed a similar bit of stunt-casting with porn-star Sasha Grey in the lead role as a high-end escort) and The Informant!, which comes out later this month.
Though Carano has previously appeared as "Crush" on American Gladiators and made a cameo in the low-budget action flick Blood and Bone, this will be her first role in a high-profile film production. Carano hasn’t yet revealed if she’ll be taking another fight in Strikeforce before the year’s end, so be warned — a long, Cung Le-esque layoff could be in Gina’s future.