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Michael Fassbender says fighting Gina Carano in “Haywire” is a freeing experience


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Haywire” hits theaters this weekend, bringing director Steven Soderbergh’s vision for a hard-hitting action movie to life and marking the debut of professional fighter Gina Carano in a starring role.

Lauded for its unique approach to violent encounters, “Haywire” offers up one of its best brawls when Carano and co-star Michael Fassbender go toe-to-toe in a hotel room, beating each other senseless in a brutal sequence that showcases its star’s formidable talent as a butt-kicking MMA specialist.

IFC had a chance to speak with Fassbender about the scene, which puts him up close and personal with Carano’s fists, feet, and, well… other body parts.

“The thing is, I’m not going to hurt Gina, she’s going to hurt me if it’s going to be anyone that’s going to go down,” laughed Fassbender when we asked whether he approached the fight scene any differently knowing that he was facing a female partner.

“But what I did know was that I was working with a partner who was very physically adept,” he continued. “She’s got great control physically and obviously she knows her body very well. She’s well-coordinated, so then you can actually go further than you might be able to do with somebody who’s not as talented as her or as experienced as her as a fighter. It actually gives you more freedom, so the fact she was a girl didn’t bother me, because I knew she could handle herself.”

And as Carano proves time and time again throughout the film, handling herself in a fight is something she certainly can do — but Fassbender was quick to point out that there’s still some movie magic when it comes to portraying any fights (even if they involve an MMA pro) to the screen.

“If I’m doing a scene like that, my aim and my goal and what I enjoy about doing fight sequences like that, is that there is a control element to it, but it looks out-of-control — and that’s the fun part for me,” he explained. “It’s making it look as chaotic as possible, but it’s actually in a very controlled environment.”

“There has to be a level of focus and relaxation to it, and then like I say, it’s kind of a dance,” he added. “You don’t want it to look choreographed. [You want it to look] somewhat stylish, but also very messy. That’s what you’re looking for; that’s what makes it look so violent and vicious.”

For Fassbender — and perhaps for Soderbergh, too — “Haywire” serves as a throwback to ’60s and ’70s spy films that walked the line between romance and danger at every turn. Leaving the motives of its characters uncertain until the very last moment is all part of the plan, as he sees it.

“I wanted to have this sort of thing between the two characters where you don’t know whether they’re going to end up in bed or not,” he said. “That was the thing that I was sort of playing in the character — that there is a sort of sexual energy there, so you’re not expecting it to go down the way it does.”

“Haywire” hits theaters January 20, and stars Gina Carano, Channing Tatum, Michael Douglas, Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender, and Antonio Banderas. The film is directed by Steven Soderbergh.

What do you think of Steven Soderbergh’s decision to use a real fighter in “Haywire”? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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