Interview

David Jenkins

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Riikka Sormunen

Gina Carano: ‘I never thought I’d eventually be in a Marvel movie’

A one-time mixed martial arts champ completes her transition to the big screen with Deadpool.

Gina Carano found fame as one of the leading lights of the Mixed Martial Arts arena prior to meeting with Steven Soderbergh and then accepting a leading role in his superb 2011 spy feature, Haywire. She is now part of the latest Marvel movie, Deadpool, playing the role of Angel Dust, who is a shady henchwoman prone to bouts of adrenalin-fuelled violence. Here she talks about what it’s like being a woman who makes action movies in Hollywood.

LWLies: Did you have any great love for Marvel movies before you came aboard Deadpool?

Carano: I must say, I wasn’t much of a Marvel or DC movie watcher. I dunno… I saw Iron Man and I saw The Avengers. But I never watched them thinking I’d eventually be in one. I’ve since watched them all and have developed a newfound appreciation of the whole Marvel universe. I just love that there are these fictional characters that people are so passionate about.

You go to ComicCon, and you actually find people who dedicate their lives towards their own, single superhero. You can ask someone what their favourite sport is and you can find out a lot about them. I think the same goes for superheros. I’ve found that it’s the cooler people that I am more drawn to. I like the people who like Deadpool and Wolverine. It’s become one of those things I ask people now. If someone says Batman, if someone says Superman, well… If the answer is Deadpool or Wolverine, they’ve clearly thought about it. I like the idea that they’ve done something in their lives to make them come to that conclusion.

Aren’t Wolverine and Deadpool the most violent superheroes?

Yeah, right? I still think that’s interesting.

Since you’ve moved into movie acting, do you watch things with the thought of one day being in them?

Absolutely. It’s not that being in one of these types of movies hadn’t crossed my mind, but I think I’m a little bit if a niggler. If you have straight hair you want to have curly hair, and vice versa. I have this really nice skill of making action look really real. When I throw a punch, I feel like people believe it. Of course, what I want to do is a romantic comedy. Or a drama. That’s what I want. All the stuff I watch I think, ‘Oh it would be awesome to tell this kind of story.’ But I’m over here in action land where every actress in Hollywood seems like they want to be.

Did you read comic books when you were young?

For this I did as much Angel Dust research as I could online, though there wasn’t a lot. When I moved to Vancouver for the shoot, Ed Skrein [who plays Ajax] took me to a local comic book store and I bought my first comic. Which was of course ‘Deadpool’. He’s been super passionate about this, especially helping to induct me into this world. This wasn’t something I was super passionate about as a kid. I’d occasionally look at the artwork, but never the stories. ‘Deadpool’, can you imagine, is a very different kind of story. So I grew an appreciation for it, and Ed became my mentor during the whole thing. He would walk everyone through their back stories, the nature of the relationships, try to work out what our motivations were. Aside from just being a really solid, awesome human being.

Did you have any contact with the guys who wrote the original stories?

I didn’t. I’ve known comic writer Rob Liefeld for a few years as we wanted to make a movie of his ‘Avengelyne’ books. I actually took Avengelyne to director Tim Miller, and he said, ‘Yeah, yeah, angels and demons, that’s cool but I’m kind of an atheist’. He then took us into his little personal theatre , and said, ‘let me show you a little thing that me and Ryan Reynolds have been working on for the last five years’. And that was two years ago. And that was the Deadpool teaser.

This is a major passion project for Tim. Not only that, it’s his first directing project. He’s such a natural. He didn’t try to be something that he wasn’t. If he didn’t know something, he had the right people around him to advise him. But when he got the momentum, he was unstoppable. And he’s just the most abrasive, hilarious, sweet-hearted person you’ve ever met. The most abrasive things come out of his mouth. If something’s not working, he’ll just crack up and shout, ‘That was awful!’ But not in an aggressive way – he’s trying to make it an open, fun environment.

Are you allowed to be honest back to him?

Absolutely! He wouldn’t want it any other way. I just felt so relaxed around him. I took the criticism and tried to implement what he wanted.

What were the differences between making a movie like Haywire and a giant production like Deadpool?

They were 100 per cent different. Like night and day. I really did get so genuinely spoiled by Steven Soderbergh. And also that was my first movie. It’s that first experience that you can never really replicate. It holds a special place in my heart. I was so vulnerable, and the people involved knew that. And people like Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor and Michael Fassbender gathered around to help me. On top of that, it was just a beautiful experience.

The way Steven shot those fight sequences, and the fact that these actors were also up for making it feel real too… So it was a really beautiful entry into this business. Coming to Deadpool, I’ve gained a little bit more knowledge regarding what Hollywood is really all about. The main similarities were that that the people involved in making Deadpool were also awesome. Just lots and lots of awesome people.

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