Steven Soderbergh Turns To Fight Club For Haywire Fight Sequences

During Comic-Con, director Steven Soderbergh was making the rounds promoting two upcoming projects. One is a thriller where mankind is combating a deadly virus (Contagion). The other features MMA fighter Gina Carano doing some serious ass kicking (Haywire). Yes, this is the same Soderbergh that propelled independent cinema with Sex, Lies and Videotape, and then parlayed that to direct the Ocean’s Eleven trilogy a decade later. So what gives with tackling the subjects of a deadly virus and female ass-kickery? It must have been a perfect storm of pitches and scripts that Soderbergh decided to direct a pair of ensemble-driven pieces that didn’t involve Las Vegas or the war on drugs (Traffic).

Women as the stars of action pictures is a rarity in Hollywood. Unless you are Angelina Jolie or James Cameron is at the helm (he turned Sigourney Weaver into an action heroine in Aliens, the same goes for Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2: Judgment Day), chances are slim that an action film will be dominated by a female presence. You already have Zoe Saldana being pushed as the next action heroine (her latest is Luc Besson’s Columbiana), but when Steven Soderbergh started to cast Haywire he went with an outside-the-box pick and selected a woman who had never acted professionally: Gina Carano.

Recently, The Playlist spoke with Steven Soderbergh about this upcoming release. “The film tested extremely well with women and the comments they left were super interesting,” he said. If you’ve seen the trailer, then you know she can take a punch, and she exhibits little effort in disposing of Channing Tatum (much to Kubryk’s delight, I’m sure).

“People really get hit in this film and they get hurt,” Soderbergh said. “Gina calibrated just slightly off on a punch and knocked out a stunt man cold on the first few days of shooting.”

Similar to Joe Wright’s Hanna and how its action sequences were staged, the scenes have no music, the only sounds are coming from men grunting and smashes of objects. In preparation of getting the geography and choreography just right, Soderbergh watched and reversed engineered (in his head) the fight sequences of David Fincher’s Fight Club. “I would study the film and look to see where he was cutting, but not just when he was cutting, but why,” Soderbergh notes.

The film came together quick, with Carano agreeing to star and Soderbergh teaming up with screenwriting partner Lem Dobbs (Kafka, The Limey), who wrote the first draft of the script in a month’s time. The film was finished in time for its initial April release by Lionsgate, but then Relativity Media, the financier of the film, restructured to become its own distributor.

Haywire is one of five titles that Steven Soderbergh has left to see release before he “retires.” It makes its way to theaters on January 20, 2012.

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Source: The Playlist