Growing up in Texas, Gina Carano would spend hours on a sofa in front of the TV watching Cry-Baby and Pride and Prejudice.
I never really watched action films, Carano tells The Post. I really loved dramas.
Two decades later, her whole life would be action-packed.
By 2008, Carano was a professional mixed-martial arts fighter with a 7-0 record, competing against the likes of top-notch rivals Elaina Beef Maxwell and Julie Kedzie. After director Steven Soderbergh discovered her on the MMA circuit in 2009, when she suffered a devastating defeat to Cris Cyborg, he cast her in his 2011 spy thriller Haywire. That silver-screen breakthrough led to roles in major action films such as Fast & Furious 6, Deadpool and, now, Scorched Earth, out Friday.
A bona fide action star, 35-year-old Carano gives another fighting, femme fatale turn in Scorched Earth, an action thriller in which she plays a post-apocalyptic, gun-toting bounty hunter. Still, she says, shes ready to embrace her softer side.
To find yourself getting pigeonholed into one genre, she says, is a little bit discouraging. If somebody would just put me in a corset and put me in a period piece already that would be great, because then theyll really see what Im capable of.
Carano says she can do much more than gritty acting and dangerous bouts.
I want to create and produce, she says. Put my piece of art out there.
That realization came after a two-year hiatus, when Carano moved from Los Angeles to San Francisco to take acting classes and continue to train in fighting.
I shot Scorched Earth, and then I felt like I should step away. And now Im kind of coming back with a refreshed sense of self, says Carano, who began dating kickboxer Kevin Ross last year after breaking up with Superman star Henry Cavill. Sometimes you need to do that.
Although shes since returned to LA, you wont be seeing her in Deadpool 2. Carano says shed signed on to return as Angel Dust, the villain she played in the 2016 original, but that changed after director Tim Miller was dropped from its sequel.
They rewrote the script and my character got the boot, says Carano, who nevertheless hopes Angel Dust returns someday.
While shes mostly left the MMA behind, Carano credits it with giving her the fighting spirit an artist needs.
[Fighters] know what its like to go in on any given day and get the living s–t beat out of them, she says. Going into an acting class, or going onto a set, and getting the living piss beat out of you in a scene Fighters know how to pick themselves up and be like, All right. My face isnt broken, and Im not bleeding.
I can get up and do it again tomorrow.