It's always tricky when you hire someone who isn't a professional actor to act in your film, but it's even harder to build an entire film around someone who doesn't do it for a living.  I can understand Steven Soderbergh's urge to figure out if Gina Carano has it in her to carry a movie… after all, she's easy on the eyes and she's a real-life ass-kicking machine.  That's a pretty potent combination, and Hollywood already spends a ton of money on movies that celebrate that particular archetype.

It's an interesting year for Soderbergh fans.  His virus-on-the-loose thriller "Contagion" is set for a September release, and he's going to be at Comic-Con for what I'm guessing is the first time ever to help promote "Haywire," the film he designed around Carano.  It seems like this one's been in production for a while, and I was hoping we'd have a trailer by this point, something where we can see Carano in action and hear her deliver a few lines of dialogue.

For now, this still, just officially released by Relativity, is the one official thing we've got to judge, and I think there's something funny about the idea that Carano is an MMA fighter, but the first image we see of her is firing a gun.  I might have tried to find a picture of her breaking a nose or snapping a rib, something involving some bare-handed badassery, but this isn't a bad image.

The one thing it reminds me of, though, thanks to the way she's holding her mouth here, is a story that Billy Crystal used to tell about his first day shooting the film "Running Scared."  He and Gregory Hines were supposed to burst into a room and open fire with their guns, and the first take went technically fine, but when Peter Hyams called cut, everyone started laughing, and they had to explain to Crystal that he was making actual "POW! POW!" noises with his mouth when he was firing the gun, a holdover from childhood games of cops-and-robbers.  It looks like Carano is making some "POW! POW!" noises of her own here.

Also, should you really hold a machine gun like that when firing it?  Isn't there a bit of recoil to worry about?

I tease, mainly because I'm curious to see if Carano's got the charisma to carry a whole film.  We'll find out when the film finally lands in theaters January 20, 2012.