This is going to be a heavily trafficked genre next year.

Zack Snyder's gearing up on "Sucker Punch," his crazy all-girl uber-violent "Alice In Wonderland in a mental institution" action film.  And now Steven Soderbergh, making a lovely recovery after the indignity of the public implosion of "Moneyball," is set to make "Knock Out," a film that's being described as a spy film along the lines of "La Femme Nikita" or "The Bourne Identity."  And to star?

He's picked Gina Carano.  Mixed Martial Arts star.  Badass and photogenic as hell.

GOOD CHOICE.

I like Soderbergh's desire to cast untested mainstream leads.  I think especially in an action film, you've got a lot of room to do that.  You're looking for credibility more than you're looking for a movie star just acting like a movie star.

[more after the jump]

And I like that he's making this one in January.  Batten the hatches.  Full speed ahead.  He's got a busy 2010 ahead if he gets both "Liberace" and his "Cleopatra" musical going, both of which I reeeeeeeeeally want to see.  I've heard that the music by the Guided By Voices guy for "Cleo" is just amazing, and then add this weird experimental 3D visual approach by Soderbergh... uh, yes, please.

Those are both going to take some time, though, so I'm glad he's making this one in the meantime.  Relativity Media is producting the film, and Lem Dobbs is writing it.  That's exciting if you're a fan of "The Limey" or "Kafka," earlier collaborations between Dobbs and Soderbergh.  I can't wait to see if Carano can act, but as far as being a serious action presence I'll buy onscreen, I've seen a few of her fights.  I buy it.  I wouldn't want her kicking my ass, certainly, and I'm sure she could.

Both Variety and The Playlist had strong write-ups of the news up early this afternoon.  It's obvious this casthing choice is going to get the film some attention.  Now it just has to be good.  No pressure.

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