Director Steven Soderbergh has committed to next direct “Knockout,” a spy thriller that will mark the screen starring debut of Gina Carano, the mixed martial arts circuit fighter. Production is slated to start in January of 2010.
Scripted by Lem Dobbs, “Knockout” casts Carano as a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who is given a second chance to use her skills for constructive purposes. The film is a closer cousin to “La Femme Nikita” and “Kill Bill” than “Million Dollar Baby,” in that it doesn’t take place in the fight ring. Rather, Soderbergh considers the film as a flat out action film in the James Bond mold, and will shoot in locations around the world that include Ireland, Turkey and the U.S. The plan is for Soderbergh to surround Carano will name actors in supporting roles.
The MMA circuit is where Soderbergh discovered Carano, a lightweight division slugger with movie star good looks. The Muay Thai-trained fighter has compiled a 7-1 record. Though Carano suffered her first loss in a title fight last month, she is considered the face of the fledgling women’s mixed martial arts fighting circuit.