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Berlin 2012: Hitting a Woman in ‘Haywire’ Didn’t Faze Michael Fassbender

Michael Fassbender in
Claudette Barius/Five Continent Imports LLC

“It’s not me doing this, it’s my character. I’m here to serve the story,” Fassbender said at the film’s international premiere in Berlin.

BERLIN — Michael Fassbender said he had no problem beating on mixed martial arts fighter-turned-actress Gina Carano in Steven Soderbergh’s new action movie Haywire.

“It didn’t really faze me,” Fassbender said at the Haywire news conference in Berlin, where the film had its international premiere Wednesday night. “This isn’t Michael Fassbender doing this, it’s the character. I’m here to serve the story and the character. And in real life, Gina would beat the shit out of me in any circumstance. I mean, have you seen her on YouTube?”

Carano said despite the brutality onscreen, there weren’t any major injuries resulting from the Haywire shoot. “I broke my finger on Michael’s shoulder once, that’s all,” she said.

Soderbergh added that during one take, Haywire co-star Ewan McGregor kicked Carano in the head. “But she wasn’t bothered," he said. "She asked him if he was all right.” 

Haywire was well received at its Berlin premiere, with the festival audience whooping and cheering the film’s kick-butt action sequences. After a week of hard-hitting political and social drama — from Angelina Jolie’s In the Land of Blood and Honey about war crimes in Bosnia to 9/11 in Stephen Daldry’s Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close to the rape of Nanking in Zhang Yimou’s The Flowers of War — Berlin audiences welcomed a chance to lean back and be entertained.

Said Soderbergh, “When I was talking to [Berlinale festival director] Dieter Kosslick, I said I would love to come to the festival with this kind of film and show it at this time — after you’ve seen a lot of heavy drama and you are really ready to relax and just have a good time.”