After the glossy, ultra-stylized series of Ocean's movies, director Steven Soderberg seems to be wanting to head down a more gritty, realistic avenue. In his last project 'The Girlfriend Experience' he sought to achieve this by casting a real-life porn actress in the lead role of a prostitute. His next project is entitled 'Knockout' and will be a Bond/Bourne style action spy thriller with a female lead, and it appears he is going to achieve the realism he is looking for by casting a girl that could actually kick your ass.
According to Variety, Soderbergh will direct MMA fighter Gina Carano in "Knockout," a spy thriller fully financed by Relativity Media with a script from "The Limey" screenwriter Lem Dobbs. The movie marks Carano's on-screen debut as a leading lady, but the plot won't focus on the fighter-turned-actress's day job -- as it turns out, "Knockout" has a lot more in common with Jason Bourne than Chuck Liddell.
"Knockout" tells the story of a young girl on the wrong side of the tracks (Carano) who is "given a second chance to use her skills for constructive purposes." The film is expected to be a flat out action flick that will shoot across the globe in locations such as Ireland, Turkey and the United States.
Carano definitely has the Hollywood look and will obviously be able to handle the stunt work and fight choreography that the role will require (in fact she might be able to bring some of her own experience into the mix and show the stunt-men how it's done) but as is always the case when non-actors are cast there is always the risk that they won't be able to cut the mustard when it comes to portraying emotion convincingly. Another worry is that Soderberg has yet to prove himself as an action director, though the kinetic style of the Ocean's films suggests he will probably be able to pull it off.