Gina Carano as Mallory Kane and Michael Fassbender as Paul star in HAYWIRE, a film by Steven Soderbergh. Picture courtesy Relativity Media. All rights reserved.


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Haywire (2012)

Opened: 01/20/2012 Wide

Arclight/Holly...01/20/2012 - 02/16/201228 days
NoHo 701/20/2012 - 02/09/201221 days
Showcase Cinem...01/20/2012 - 02/09/201221 days
Georgetown 1401/20/2012 - 02/09/201221 days
AMC Deer Valley01/20/2012 - 02/09/201221 days
AMC Loews Meth...01/20/2012 - 02/08/201220 days
Columbia Park ...01/20/2012 - 02/02/201214 days
Fallbrook 701/20/2012 - 02/02/201214 days
Playhouse 702/03/2012 - 02/09/20127 days

Trailer: Click for trailer

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Genre: Action/Thriller

Rated: R for some violence.


In the gripping new spy thriller from Academy Award®-winning director Steven Soderbergh (Traffic, Ocean's Eleven), a female covert ops specialist goes rogue when she discovers that the very people she has trusted with her life have double-crossed her, putting her and everything she values in jeopardy.

Mallory Kane (Gina Carano) is a highly trained operative working for a government security contractor in the dirtiest, most dangerous corners of the world. After successfully freeing a Chinese journalist held hostage in Barcelona, she discovers the man has been murdered--and all the evidence points to her as the main suspect. Suddenly the target of skilled assassins who know her every trick, Mallory realizes someone deep inside has betrayed her. But who? And why?

Far from home and on the run, Mallory executes a series of daring maneuvers to throw the local SWAT team off her trail, only to find herself pursued by far deadlier forces. Crossing multiple international borders, she eludes a powerful web of law enforcement and private operatives until she finds herself left with few options. Increasingly desperate to clear her name and reveal the real traitor, Mallory uses her black-ops military training to devise an ingenious--and dangerous--trap. But when things go haywire, Mallory realizes she'll be killed in the blink of an eye unless she finds a way to turn the tables on her ruthless adversary.

Mixed martial arts champion Gina Carano stars opposite Channing Tatum (G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra, Dear John), Michael Fassbender (Shame, Inglourious Basterds), Ewan McGregor (The Ghost Writer), Michael Angarano (Red State), Antonio Banderas (Desperado), Michael Douglas (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps) and Bill Paxton (Titanic).

Steven Soderbergh directs from a script by Lem Dobbs, (Kafka, The Limey). The film is produced by Gregory Jacobs (Contagion, The Informant!). Production designer is Howard Cummings (The Underneath, Wind Chill) Costume designer is Shoshana Rubin (The Informant!). Original music is by David Holmes (the Ocean's Trilogy, Out of Sight). Counter-terrorist specialist Aaron Cohen is the technical advisor. Ryan Kavanaugh (Immortals, Cowboys and Aliens), Tucker Tooley (Immortals, Limitless) and Michael Polaire (Contagion, The Informant!) serve as executive producers on the film. Alan Moloney (Albert Nobbs, Breakfast on Pluto) is co-executive producer.

About the Production

With his latest thriller, Haywire, Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh once again tackles a popular movie genre, adding elements that subtly turn the audience's expectations on their heads. Combining intrigue and suspense, complex characters and glamorous international settings with bone-crunching action, real-world special ops techniques and a charismatic female hero, the director has reinvented the espionage thriller.

"I am a fan of the early James Bond films," says Soderbergh. "From Russia With Love may be my favorite. In those movies, you get to know who the characters are instead of just what they do. In more recent espionage-action films, there isn't a lot of time spent developing the supporting characters. I wanted to revisit the early Bond films. Their ratio of story to action is very much like ours."

Soderbergh's longtime filmmaking partner, producer Gregory Jacobs, knew that the director had been interested in exploring the genre for some time. "The idea had a lot of appeal for him," says Jacobs. "He had always wanted to make a true action movie. We'd been thinking about it for a while when we contacted Lem Dobbs, who had written two films, The Limey and Kafka, for us in the past."

The resulting script is less a tribute to previous films than a complete reworking with a unique twist typical of Soderbergh. "I always wondered why the main character in these films had to be a guy," he says. "I find there's an added level of drama and conflict whenever you have a female protagonist. There's always the additional layer of operating in a world run by men. It's another wall that they have to go through. In addition to this being a story about espionage and covert operatives, it's also about the relationships our lead character has with the various male characters and how she functions in a male-dominated world."

Soderbergh points out that there is nothing overtly feminist in the script. "It's rarely brought up that Mallory Kane is a woman. It's just a fact, and people make assumptions about her that turn out not to be true."

The director likes to describe the film as a Pam Grier movie made by Alfred Hitchcock. Character development was particularly important to him as he worked with Dobbs to flesh out Kane, a black-ops specialist working for a private security contractor. "I wanted to layer the character a little bit," he says. "For example, there's a scene in which she sucks out the contents of her partner's phone while he's out of the room. At that point, it is unprovoked. He hasn't done anything to make her suspicious, but I felt that it was something the character would do.

"It adds a layer of guilt," he continues. "And I think the reason Hitchcock movies are still watchable is not just because of his technique, but because, at their core, they are all about guilt. There is always somebody at the center of the movie that has something they don't want known. I wanted to have some of that so she wasn't just a 'goody-goody' the whole way through. As it turns out, that decision probably saved her life. But when she does it, you're wondering why."

Soderbergh found his muse for this film in an unexpected venue. He had seen mixed martial arts champion Gina Carano fight, and became intrigued by the idea of featuring her in a movie. A thrilling and demanding combination of fighting styles including Muay Thai, Karate, Jiu Jitsu, Judo, wrestling, boxing, Sambo, kickboxing and Kung Fu, mixed martial arts gave Carano the ability to perform the kind of deadly hand-to-hand combat the director envisioned for his film.

"I knew there had to be a woman other than Angelina Jolie who could run around with a gun," he says. "After I saw a couple of Gina's fights, I viewed some interviews with her that showed her as a really genuine, very grounded person. It occurred to me that I could combine my desire to make a realistic espionage film with her expertise. But first I had to meet with her and see whether or not it would appeal to her."

After an initial meeting, the filmmakers began to tailor the part of Mallory Kane for Carano. "We knew she'd be able do most of her own stunts," says Jacobs. "That was key, because Steven was adamant about not wanting to do a lot of wire work. He didn't want the audience to feel the action elements were so acrobatic or dangerous that a human couldn't possibly be doing them. The wonderful thing about filming with Gina was that there were no special effects in the fights. Everything was real."

That fact was critical to Soderbergh's vision of the film as a realistic adventure, which also meant he eschewed the kind of futuristic technology that is a staple of many films in the genre. "In many ways, we wanted to go against the grain of the way action is usually shot," he says. "I really wanted to take advantage of the fact that we had people who really could perform these actions and not be indulging in the kind of trickery that is sometimes necessary in a movie. I didn't want anybody doing anything that wasn't physically possible. And I didn't want to rely on technology that didn't exist."

"If two people are in a room fighting, it has to end at a certain point because you'll run out of things that are plausible," he says. "This was my take on that kind of movie. Haywire is more of a drama with action in it than it is a wall-to-wall action movie."

The Spy Who Broke the Mold

With a unique heroine like Mallory Kane, Soderbergh knew he needed a singularly talented actress to fill the role. Gina Carano, sometimes referred to as the "Face of Women's Mixed Martial Arts," is beautiful, determined and tough as nails. She arrived at her first meeting with Soderbergh sporting a black eye she had earned in battle the previous week. Though she's fearless in a fight, Carano, who counts Soderbergh's previous films Traffic and Erin Brockovich as two of her favorites films, says she was a bit overwhelmed to be meeting with the director.

Starring in a film was not something that Carano ever anticipated doing. "Every kid thinks, if people only knew what I was capable of," she says, "but I've always known that I'm not your typical celebrity. I don't think I look or act like anybody else. I'm slightly awkward. So I always knew that if it was going to happen, somebody was going to have to come find me. And that's exactly what happened."

Soderbergh did his best to put the newcomer at ease. "I can only imagine how weird it must be for a non-actor to have a director ask to meet you and then propose building a movie around you," says Soderbergh. "But she was game for it. I explained that we would be designing the film to capitalize on her strengths, both physically and in terms of performance. I wasn't going to ask her to do things that were out of her range."

The filmmaking experience left Carano with a great deal of respect for the hard work that goes into creating a movie. Even after her grueling experiences as a professional fighter, she found herself exhausted by the process. "I've never experienced such long days," she says. "Not only are you putting yourself out there physically, you're putting yourself out there emotionally. You're surrounded by people constantly and even your body is not your own. You've got hair and make-up, people are picking out your clothing, you're with all the different actors. It was the most overwhelming experience, but I also felt like we were on this adventure together."

Giving her an added boost of confidence was the top caliber cast and crew. "Steven surrounded me with the best people from beginning to end," she says. "He walked me through every step of the way. He gave me the opportunity of a lifetime."

According to Jacobs, selecting the remaining cast for Haywire revolved around finding A-list actors to support the young star. "Steven and I promised the studio we would surround Gina with great actors," he says. "Both Ewan McGregor and Michael Fassbender signed on early in the process. Then Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas and Channing Tatum became available. Not only are they all great actors, they are extremely nice men. Each has given his character real substance. And each one welcomed Gina and gave her incredible support and confidence."

The first scenes Carano filmed were set in Dublin, where Mallory begins to suspect she is being set up. Irish actor Michael Fassbender plays Paul, the charming but duplicitous operative paired with Mallory for what appears to be a routine assignment. "Michael Fassbender is not only a handsome, charming man and a tremendous actor," says Jacobs "He is also able to hold his own in a fight scene with Gina."

"That we filmed those scenes first turned out to be a lucky circumstance," says Soderbergh. "Michael was extremely helpful to Gina, putting in a lot of time working with her away from the set, going through the scenes and lines. It made her feel very comfortable."

Carano admits she was so inexperienced that Fassbender had to teach her to run lines with another actor. "I'd never done that before," she says. "Michael took me under his wing. He was really giving with his time. When we got to the fight sequence, it was great because that is my comfort zone. I was able to be physical and shine. It felt like an exchange of expertise."

Fassbender says he signed on to the film for two reasons. "What I liked about the script was the intrigue. There are many things not said. It is an old-school espionage film, like the spy thrillers that I remember from my childhood. And I was excited to be working with Steven Soderbergh. He has an air of confidence that relaxes everyone on set. The speed with which Steven works is fantastic. It lends itself to experimentation, which gave the filming a very fluid feel. We were able to discover scenes as we went. It happened very organically. I discovered bits and pieces of Paul every day."

The actor was also fascinated with the idea of plunging a non-professional into the world of acting. "Gina was willing to jump in headfirst," he says. "With her fight training, she wanted to get things right. But she's also very good at just sitting and listening to notes, taking everything in and then applying it. It's been impressive to watch her work. She has a unique energy as well, which I think shines through."

The idea of performing a brutal, hand-to-hand fight scene with a woman left Fassbender nonplussed. "But it was just a matter of accepting it," he says. "Going in I had no problem knowing that she was going to kick my arse all over the place."

The scene is one of Carano's favorites. "We were smashing each other into everything possible," she says. "Vases were getting smashed over heads, we were tumbling over couches, I got slammed into a flat-screen and then there's the triangle choke at the end!"

Ewan McGregor plays Mallory's boss and erstwhile lover, Kenneth. Jacobs and Soderbergh consider snagging McGregor a casting coup. "To have an actor of his caliber play the bad guy and Mallory's foil was exciting," says Jacobs. "Ewan brought so much depth to the role."

Working with Soderbergh was a long-held ambition for the actor. The quality of the script was icing on the cake. "It was a total page-turner," McGregor says. "The action was vivid and well written, and the plot quite complex. This is a story where everyone is playing his own game, perhaps Kenneth especially. You're allowed bits of information here and there that unlock scenes as you go along. And the characters are not movie characters; they're very real."

McGregor experienced Soderbergh's legendary speed behind the camera the minute he arrived on set. "You really don't believe it until you get there," says the actor. "My first scene was in Spain, where Gina and I did a walk and talk down some stairs and reveal this beautiful cityscape behind us. Steven did it in one shot. There was an air traffic control strike in France at the time, so it took me 22 hours to get from Los Angeles to Spain. I shot for maybe an hour and a half, and then it took me about 22 hours to get home.

"But there are no rules about what makes a director great," adds McGregor. "Steven is a quiet director, but he'll absolutely guide you in the right direction when you need it. He's meticulous and serious on the set, very concentrated, like a surgeon, ticking off shots. But when you get back to the hotel and hang out with him, he's chatty and amiable."

McGregor has high praise for his co-stars. "I was very lucky to have some wonderful scenes with Bill Paxton and Channing Tatum as well as with Michael Douglas and Antonio Banderas. It's always exciting, but frankly, it was quite nerve-wracking, to sit down and start shooting a scene with those two giants."

Channing Tatum plays Aaron, who begins the film as a member of Mallory's Barcelona team--and her casual lover--and later becomes her opponent. The G.I. Joe star found the premise of an ass-kicking heroine appealing. "I was told that Steven Soderbergh was doing an action movie, and I said I'm in," recalls Tatum. "I didn't really need to read the script. He's always on the cutting edge and I wanted to be on board. When I did read it, I thought it was so smart of him to find an aspect of action that really hasn't been explored: a realistic female-driven espionage film."

Working with this particular female action hero was a special treat for Tatum. "I've been a fan of Gina's for a while," he says. "I'll admit it--I love mixed martial arts. And she is the pioneer of female mixed martial artists, so it was really cool to get to work with her. Butting heads with her was intimidating and very challenging."

He says his father didn't believe in female action heroes and would often say, "let me meet the female that can whup me and I'll watch the movie." Tatum says he was happy to call his dad and offer to set him up with Carano. "I told him that Gina was the real deal," he says. "She simply has this incredible skillset and that's what Mallory is in the movie. She's smart, she's tough and she's lethal."

Michael Douglas was the only cast member with whom Soderbergh had worked previously. "When Steven and I were thinking about the part of Coblenz, we always knew that we needed somebody iconic," says Jacobs, "He's a formidable presence. We needed somebody who has the acting chops and the gravitas. The first person we thought of was Michael Douglas."

Carano says her scene with Douglas was the most intimidating experience of the whole shoot. On the next-to-last day of principal photography, she met the Academy Award winner at the tiny Las Vegas, New Mexico, airport on a freezing day with wind so fierce it was blowing snow sideways across the tarmac. "I think we all stepped it up a notch knowing Michael was there," she says. "I know I certainly did. It was so cold during our scene that I got a tear in my eye while he was saying his lines and it started dripping down my face. I wasn't going to mess him up, so I just let it go. When we finished, I was so thrilled because he applauded me for that. He told me it was very disciplined to just let it happen."

For the role of Rodrigo, a Spanish government official involved in setting up the Barcelona deal with Kenneth and Coblenz, the filmmakers needed an actor with European charm and elegance and the onscreen charisma to hold his own with Michael Douglas and Ewan McGregor. "The scene with the three of them is in the first ten minutes of the movie and lends it a real sense of weight," says Jacobs. "We thought getting Antonio Banderas for the part was just a pipe dream, but he signed on."

Banderas was as delighted by Carano as his cast mates. "She's an amazing girl and a very sweet lady for someone who can be quite dangerous," he says. "When she arrived on the set in Barcelona for my first scene, it only took three seconds for me to surrender to that smile. Anything she wants, I'll be there for her."

Soderbergh's lightning-fast shooting technique revitalized the filmmaking process for Banderas. "For actors, the speed with which Steven shoots is fantastic," he says. "He only uses natural light and now with the new technologies we have at our disposal, the art of filming movies has become very democratic.

"It's quite impressive to be on the set with a group of such great actors as he has assembled, and you're filming as though it were an independent movie. You feel much more a part of the entire process. Sometimes acting is just the art of waiting in a trailer while the crew is putting up lights and adjusting the set. Usually, the actor works only 10 percent of the day; the crew works 100 percent."

Soderbergh himself still seems slightly amazed by the cast he assembled for this film. "We were lucky enough to get people I'd always admired," he says. "They were all intrigued by the idea of the project and intrigued by Gina. She's completely unpretentious and charming. My assumption was that these actors would be great resources for her, and they were. They were all very, very generous. They wanted her to succeed and that helped a lot."