Steven Soderbergh and Ewan McGregor after the 2011 AFI Fest
Secret Screening of Haywire at Grauman’s Chinese
Photo: Jason Merritt. Copyright 2011 Getty Images

The post screening Q&A’s at these things are rarely all that illuminating, but yeah I still get a dorky thrill being in the presence of certain actors, actresses and filmmakers.

After a super-quick introduction wherein Soderbergh quipped for everyone to turn on their cell phones and to hit record now if they planned to pirate the film, Haywire itself unfolded before a full house at Grauman’s Chinese in Hollywood. My thoughts are below while the rest of the audience, sated on several days of serious arthouse fare, seemed to enjoy the break with a film that had no pretensions about changing the world or even cinema. They laughed and applauded in the right places and took the film for what it was: a fun showcase for mixed martial artist Gina Carano who is making her cinematic debut in this film..

Despite high-powered talent like Soderbergh, Michael Fassbender and Ewan McGregor, the loudest cheers and applause were saved for Carano herself who seemed more than a little bewildered and intimidated to be under this kind of spotlight. Put her in a cage and she’ll beat the shit out of you, but on a stage she doesn’t quite seem to know what to make of it all yet. She should get used to it though because she has all the makings of a new action star. She’s pretty and a little bit sexy and she’s totally convincing when she’s beating the crap out of someone. She handled her dialogue scenes with confidence and even showed a little flare for a rough kind of romance. Those latter two skills already set her above most American or European action stars of the last many years.

As for the 25 minute session itself, Joel McHale took plenty of opportunity to be a smart ass, while Soderbergh and his cast fielded the questions gamely. When the question of a sequel came up, Soderbergh joked that that’s how you get actors to work cheaply – you promise to take care of them in the sequel. To that, McHale joked that’s what they told Ryan Reynolds for Green Lantern. “Everyone wants to see that one, right?”

Soderbergh said his inspiration for the film literally came after he’d been fired from a movie (Moneyball) and he saw Carano on a late night MMA show on CBS and he thought someone needed to design a movie around her. He called up Lem Dobbs who wrote screenplays for Soderbergh’s Kafka and The Limey. With a few ideas of his own for a revenge picture, Soderbergh’s main instructions were that Carano “needs to beat her way through the entire cast.” Et voila: Haywire!

At a certain point, McHale promised not to turn the questions over to the audience because that’s always a disaster. As if to illustrate his point, a woman in front got everyone’s attention and Fassbender handed her the mic. She took the opportunity to launch into a rant about using words instead of guns before Fassbender reeled the mike back in with a grimace.


Michael Fassbender, Gina Carano and moderator Joel McHale after the
2011 AFI Fest Secret Screening of Haywire at Grauman’s Chinese
Photo: Jason Merritt. Copyright 2011 Getty Images

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