intheblood-posterGina Carano, former mixed martial arts champion, known as “The Face of Women’s MMA,” made her acting debut three years ago in Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire. She next appeared in the blockbuster Fast & Furious 6 with Paul Walker and Vin Diesel, playing a member of Dwayne Johnson’s team. In her new film, John Stockwell’s In the Blood, Carano is again able to display her incredible skills as an MMA fighter but she is also allowed to showcase her acting skills and her vulnerable, emotional side. Carano plays Ava, a trained fighter with a dark past. When her new husband (Cam Gigandet) vanishes during their Caribbean honeymoon, Ava uncovers a violent underworld of conspiracy in the middle of an island paradise. Armed with a deadly set of skills, Ava sets out to discover the truth — and to take down the men she thinks are responsible for the abduction, one by one. In the Blood, which opens today in select cities and is available On Demand and on iTunes, also stars Treat Williams, Luis Guzmán and Danny Trejo.

Danny Miller: I so enjoyed your kick-ass performance in this film! I frankly can’t imagine anyone else having what it takes to play this role. Was it written with you in mind?

Gina Carano: It’s funny, because I got the script a long time ago and when I first read it, I thought, “Oh, this is perfect!” I have two sisters that I’m highly protective of and I used to always think about how could I save them if they were in trouble so I related to the whole story — it was like a fantasy of mine! Then, much later, after I got the part, I met the writers and they said, “Yeah, we wrote it for you!”

Your fighting skills are just insane in this film! Did you choreograph those scenes yourself?

Yeah. On my previous two movies there was a ton of pre-production and all the fight scenes were choreographed long in advance. I’d share my own opinion every once in a while but those films were on such a bigger scale. But this movie was very different. We had a much smaller budget, obviously, and we shot the whole thing in a month. I had just finished Fast & Furious 6 and flew into Puerto Rico and the next thing I knew I was in a wedding dress shooting the first scene — and I’m in nearly every frame of the movie! Whenever I had a break I’d start figuring out what I’d do in those fights. It was all very raw. I think not having a lot of preparation really fits this story. We didn’t have hair and makeup every 15 minutes like on those other films so what you see here is really what I look like after a fight! Sometimes we would just figure out the fights on the day that we were shooting them because we’d be in a new location and wanted to incorporate the surroundings.

When you’re doing such intense scenes like that, do you have to worry about accidentally hurting the other person?

I’m pretty good at that, I like to take care of people and I know what I’m doing. When I was fighting, you’d often get these people who come into the gym and they want to spar with you but they don’t have the best training so you have to really learn to be in control of yourself more.

Do you think acting is a natural progression from your experience as a fighter?

When I watch someone performing, whether it’s a singer, actress, athlete or fighter, I look for something unique about that person, some quality that I like about how they’re expressing themselves. Being athletic or in sports or a fighter — it’s all about your self-expression. Sometimes it’s hard for people who are used to you in one role to accept you in another, but I’ve always felt I was much more than just an athlete. I really hope that people can see me in different ways — I loved doing the emotional scenes in this film.


There are so many great actors in this film. I loved seeing Treat Williams pop up as your difficult father-in-law!

Treat is one of the sweetest, most professional people around. He really did feel like a Dad on set! It was also a thrill getting to act opposite people like Luis Guzmán. He’s so great and he really ups your game.

Do you have to worry about whether you’ll have chemistry with your leading man when you play a part like this?

This was the first time I’ve had a role where I have to care about somebody and that was so enjoyable for me to do. I felt great energy with Cam right away so I was really glad it was him! He was great to work with. I hope it came across like we were a real couple!

I know you’re a big role model for girls and women in the mixed martial arts world. Do you think the role of women in that sport is increasing?

Absolutely. It’s more popular than it’s ever been and I feel very honored to have been a part of it. There was a woman who was doing it way before me who was a role model for me and I’m very glad that I also had a hand in making it easier for women to come into gyms and persevere in this sport. Mixed martial arts completely changed my life and I know it’s continuing to do that for many girls today.

I never know what to believe on IMDB but I was very excited to read about that project that you’re attached to with those other great women including Pam Grier, Sharni Vinson, Linda Hamilton and Katee Sackhoff. Is that happening?

Oh, the Adi Shankar film? I hope so! It’s sort of a work in progress at the moment so I’ll probably do a few other films first. But it would be great. I mean…Pam Grier!

Do you mostly get scripts where you’re beating up everyone around you?

Yes, and I really don’t want to do the same thing over and over. I’ve got a couple of films lined up that are pretty different. I’ve had wonderful experiences with movies so far, starting with the amazing Steven Soderbergh as a director up to this much smaller film with a lot of emotion. I think our director, John Stockwell, having been an actor himself, really helped me explore new things in my acting. I love character-based roles, I don’t want to just be the bad-ass!

I have to say, though, that after seeing you in the films you’ve done so far, I think you were born to play Wonder Woman!

(Laughs.) It’s funny, because people have been talking about that since I did Haywire, and in that film they reference me as Wonder Woman at one point. But no, that’s never been discussed, and I’ve worked with the woman, Gal Gadot, who’s playing that character in the upcoming Batman vs. Superman movie. She’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever met — just precious and she embodies so many great qualities, I think she’ll be absolutely perfect for that role!

Okay, but I still think you need to be in some big superhero movie!

Oh, I would absolutely love to play a superhero, are you kidding me? People have been talking about She-Wolf lately and that would just be heaven!

In the Blood, distributed by Anchor Bay and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, is playing in limited release and is available on VOD and iTunes.