Steven Soderbergh’s Haywire stands out among a crowded field of 2010s auterist action movies for its brilliant pacing and unsparing fight scenes. The movie’s quality is a testament to how much a great director can get done even with a lead actor who doesn’t know how to act at all. The benefit of Gina Carano in the starring role is that she used to be a professional MMA fighter. She brings a propulsive physicality to the action scenes and nothing else to any other scenes.
Soderbergh knows the satisfactory value of showing Ewan McGregor and Michael Fassbender getting their asses kicked. Somehow the movie totally works, even though Carano was so bad at speaking lines of dialogue that her performance was heavily dubbed. Carano leveraged that role into a real career and a character on a hugely popular TV show, and it would’ve been a real win for the underdogs had she not gone out of her way to publicly air all manner of repugnant opinions.
Like Curt Schilling before her, Carano has been fired from a good job at a Disney subsidiary for posting too much Nazi-adjacent stuff. Carano had played Cara Dune on The Mandalorian until Wednesday, when Lucasfilm booted her from the show and confirmed she would never appear in any Star Wars works again, saying “her social media posts denigrating people based on their cultural and religious identities are abhorrent and unacceptable.”
Carano stepped over the line this past week, though it’s worth understanding her ousting as more the result of a critical mass of noxious posts and years of idiotic opinions rather than a reaction to a single post. The straw that broke the camel’s back was an Instagram story repost from user @warriorpriestgympodcast (truly a potent string of nouns), as Carano found it necessary to share a comparison between the persecution of Jewish people during the Holocaust with someone being called out for odious political beliefs. Her recent posting history also includes plenty of QAnon-adjacent nonsense, as well as this kind of shit:
Carano has found an unlikely ally for herself. New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait wrote a column today about how her firing over “unsound political views” is no different than the House Committee on Un-American Activities’ blacklisting campaign in old Hollywood. Chait appears to build his column on the notion that Carano had committed only two other noteworthy posting sins: one about election fraud, which he calls a “standard-issue Republican belief,” as if the onus is on everyone else to accept that, and one “very small joke” where she made fun of pronouns and then apologized. Reading Chait’s column in full, he seems to have no sense of why people are actually mad at Gina Carano.
It is important not to draw the lazy conclusion, as Chait did, that Carano was fired simply for having conservative politics, as it takes Carano on the most charitable rhetorical terms, waves away her prior opinions as “commonly held beliefs,” betrays a child’s understanding of McCarthyism, and deliberately conflates incessantly posting pernicious, dodo-brained nonsense with being a conservative. Carano was fired because she became a bigger liability to Disney than she was worth, and she simply kept posting until the PR equation tipped against her. If you think Disney actually cares about making the world a better place or anything besides providing value to shareholders, I have a Steamboat Willie cel to sell you.
Carano’s firing will enable her to fully embrace the life of a fringe crank, and she’s already putting on a brave face as a victim of cancel culture. Today she announced a new movie project with Ben Shapiro, telling Deadline, “I am sending out a direct message of hope to everyone living in fear of cancellation by the totalitarian mob.” Hopefully the Daily Wire’s studio makes plenty of room in the budget for ADR.