Jun 22, 2011

Haywire Gets a (New) Release Date

This is at least the third release date (and second distributor, and second title) that we've seen mooted for Steven Soderbergh's spy thriller Haywire (which was once called Knockout and scheduled for a January 2011 release from Lionsgate)... but the first one backed up with an actual press release, so let's assume it's for real this time. Relativity Media announced last week that it has retained North American rights to theatrically distribute its action thriller Haywire, directed by Soderbergh and starring MMA fighter Gina Carano. The film is now set for a January 20, 2012 wide release, aiming for the some of the same action movie gold that Taken mined in 2009. Neither the change in studios nor the change in dates reflects on the quality of the picture. Lionsgate was a distribution partner before Relativity structured its own distribution arm, which it naturally wanted to flex given the opportunity; Lionsgate’s Mandate International is still handling foreign rights. As for pushing the film back to next year, that gives Soderbergh the opportunity to promote it during his press tour for Contagion, a great big, star-studded virus thriller with Matt Damon made after Haywire, but set for release before it (now), this fall.

Carano (who was also part of the recent version of American Gladiators) makes her feature film debut, starring and performing her own "high-adrenaline stunts." Since Carano's unproven as a movie star, Soderbergh backed her up with an impressive cast including Ewan McGregor (The Ghost Writer), Channing Tatum (GI Joe: Rise of Cobra), Antonio Banderas (Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever), Bill Paxton (True Lies), Michael Douglas (Shining Through) and newly-minted spy superstar Michael Fassbender (X-Men: First Class).

The press release offers what I think is the first official synopsis of the film, and I was impressed that they managed to squeeze in "espionage," "betrayal," "covert ops," "international operatives," "double-crossed" and "Agency" in one sentence! Now that's a movie made for me! Observe: "In Haywire, an electrifying tale of espionage and betrayal, a female covert ops specialist (Carano), who works in the deadly world of international operatives, strikes back after discovering she’s been double-crossed by someone close to her in the agency. The film is produced by Gregory Jacobs (Ocean’s Trilogy) and written by Lem Dobbs (The Limey)." Furthermore, they manage to use the word "sophistication" in conjunction with an action movie starring an MMA fighter, in a quote from Relativity’s President of Worldwide Production, Tucker Tooley: “We are honored to be working with Steven Soderbergh on this project. This film is full of amazing action sequences, and with a sophistication only Soderbergh can deliver.”

Soderbergh's next spy assignment is supposedly a feature film version of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. starring George Clooney, but I'll believe it when I actually see it...

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