<
>

The disappearance of Gina Carano

If the people who figure out this kind of stuff are correct, Sylvester Stallone's done-blowed-up-good "The Expendables" will make $30 million or $35 million this weekend. That would exceed the three-day debuting gross of "The A-Team," giving co-star Randy Couture the distinction of being the MMA athlete with the best opening weekend. I'm sure this matters to someone, somewhere.

This relates to Gina Carano how?

Carano has a starring role in "Haywire," a Steven Soderbergh film set for release in early '11 in which she plays some kind of covert-ops spy targeted for elimination. (I have never heard of such a plot before. Exceptionally well done, Steven.) Next to co-star Channing Tatum, Carano may even give off the impression she can act. But while Couture and Quinton Jackson rotate increasingly substantial feature work with fights, Carano may have seen the last of the latter.

Via CagePotato, Couture told fans at a Q&A that he "hasn't seen [Carano] in the gym in nine months … I'd be very surprised to see her back in the cage."

The implication is that Carano is enjoying acting more than training or fighting -- a career that may have become increasingly less pleasurable for every minute she spent in the arena with Cristiane Santos. But is "Haywire" really Carano's parole from fighting?

Soderbergh's precocious technique of casting a complete amateur in a starring role is nothing new: He used a cast of non-actors in "Bubble" and, more infamously, cast adult film actress Sasha Grey in "The Girlfriend Experience." (She played an escort; the billing would be more interesting if she had played a nun.) None of these people have gone on to actual careers in performing; Carano might be a complete block of wood on screen. That wouldn't seem to bother Soderbergh but might have an impact on her future opportunities.

Couture and Jackson seem to have more of a grasp on the fickle nature of both industries and keep their opportunities open from both ends. Carano is particularly lucky considering her promoter, Strikeforce, isn't going to insist on throwing her to the wolves over and over again. If Hollywood is interested in Carano because she's "a real fighter," she might want to consider continuing to fight. Cynthia Rothrock, after all, never got her phone call from a Mr. Spielberg.