MMA fighter turned action heroine Gina Carano is primed to headline a feminine riff on ‘The Expendables’ franchise. The project is being financed by Adi Shankar’s production company 1984 Private Defense Contractors, and written by up-and-coming scribe Dutch Southern.
Shankar has recently carved a niche for himself in the action genre, producing last year’s survival pic The Grey (AKA Liam Neeson vs. wolves), as well the upcoming film Killing Them Softly, starring Brad Pitt. Carano landed the role of a lifetime with Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire, a lo-fi revenge flick completely built around Carano’s considerable skills as a fighter. Carano held her own against a cast full of more experienced actors, including Ewan McGregor, Bill Paxton and Michael Fassbender. She is currently prepping work on The Fast and the Furious 6.
Variety reports Shankar is “in talks with several prominent actresses affiliated with the action genre” to co-star with Carano in the pic that Expendables 2 director Simon West jokingly titled the ‘Expenda-Belles.’
Since news of the film broke, the Internet has been abuzz with speculation, fan casting, and wishful thinking. One question about the project remains whether Shankar and co. will stick to the Expendables formula of casting older action stars, or opt for younger, more marketable movie stars. Prominent actresses like Charlize Theron have some experience in the action genre, while actresses like Michelle Rodriguez and Milla Jovovich are genre stalwarts.
Personally, I hope the female action legends of the ’80s and ’90s get a shot at a Dolph Lundgren-esque comeback. Imagine a group of gun-toting ladies led by Linda Hamilton, Michelle Yeoh, and Sigourney Weaver and tell me that’s not an awesome image.
Whoever rounds out the all-female cast, Shankar and co. have made a wise decision signing Carano first. She proved she could headline a movie and lead a strong ensemble cast with Haywire.
“I don’t know how I’m supposed to make a movie that is supposed to be the female version of ‘The Expendables’ without Gina Carano in it,” said producer Adi Shankar. “It would be like making Twix without caramel or Jamba Juice without jamba.” He makes a compelling (and delicious) argument.