Gina Carano, 29, the sexy new actress of the star-studded Haywire and MMA (mixed martial arts) fighter, has people buzzing about her debut performance in the new action flick.

Carano plays the ass-kicking Mallory in the upcoming Steven Soderbergh film — also starring Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Channing Tatum, and Michael Fassbender — and she not only stars in the movie; she's the very inspiration behind it. Soderbergh saw footage of the athletic Carano's fighting, and decided to build an entire film around her, reports MTV.

Haywire follows Mallory, a supersoldier who was betrayed by the very government she worked for. Think Bourne Identity-goes-buxom. For Carano the role was quite a departure from her fighting career, which earned her the informal title, "Face of Women's MMA."

"The physicality, that was fun for me," Carano says of the role. But physicality is old hat to the native Texan. The difference? "I didn't have to hurt anybody," she said. "I didn't have to worry about getting choked out, and there were no egos with any of the actors. They all wanted to do their own stunts, and a lot of people around me were like, 'Gina, that's not normal. You've got some beautiful people to work with and a beautiful first experience.'"

The tough-as-nails athlete has a softer side, too. When she appeared on Conan Thursday night, she was a bundle of nerves. "I'm so nervous," she told host Conan O'Brien, which seemed to surprise him. "Don't be nervous! After what you can do? I've seen what you can do," he said, referring to Carano's celebrated fighting skills. "I would rather get punched in the face right now," she revealed, adjusting uncomfortably in her seat. "Don't worry, it's just me," the late night host assured in a syrupy, seductive voice. "Did they tell you I was a perv before you got here," he later asked, referring to his repeated references to Carano's sex appeal. Considering the way everyone's talking about her breakout performance, however, she might want to get used to it.

Watch the Conan interview here:

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  • A Grinshpan
    A Grinshpan on

    That is so cool! Lucky girl – Soderbergh is amazing and he made a film for her! Crazy! And what a stellar cast – this looks fantastic!

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