AFI Fest kicks off today with Clint Eastwood‘s “J. Edgar” getting its world premiere, and the lineup for the next week includes an array of awards season heavy hitters including “The Artist,” “Carnage,” “Shame,” “Rampart” and more. However, just like last year, they’ve got one film yet to be announced. Festival-goers in 2010 were pleasantly surprised with a secret screening of David O. Russell‘s “The Fighter,” and on Sunday night another mystery movie will be unveiled, one that should definitely get the adrenaline pumping of everyone in the room.
The Playlist has heard pretty reliable word that Steven Soderbergh‘s “Haywire” will make its world premiere at the Grauman’s Chinese theater on Sunday, November 6th at 9:30 PM. Over the summer, attendees of the San Diego Comic-Con got a first taste of the movie when Soderbergh arrived to show off select footage from the movie, but this will be the first time it screens in full, in what is another solid ace up the sleeve for AFI.
“Haywire” marks the big screen debut of MMA fighter Gina Carano, who takes the lead in the gritty spy thriller written by Lem Dobbs (”The Limey”) about Mallory Kane, a black ops soldier on a mission of revenge after she’s double crossed by one of her teammates. As usual, Soderbergh has assembled a crackerjack ensemble that includes Michael Fassbender, Channing Tatum, Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Bill Paxton, Michael Angarano, Matthieu Kassovitz and Antonio Banderas in a movie that won’t be your usual ‘Bourne’ style flick.
As we noted earlier in the year, “Haywire” promises some bracing, reality based action. In our recap of the trailer and fight sequence footage shown in San Diego, we said the choreography maps “out a plain-in-sight geography that put the focus on pure and grueling mano y mano combat.” In the Fassbender/Carano battle that was previewed, it was delivered with “no music and no sound other than grunting, the smashing of fists on flesh and the breaking of glass and furniture.” And it’s this clear-eyed realism that Soderbergh was aiming for.
“People really get hit in this film and they get hurt,” the director told us this summer. And as for the movie, it will get things moving right away. “It’s kind of a cold open, we kind of parachute into the beginning of the story,” Soderbergh explained. “At a certain point, the story catches up…the second half of the film plays out in real time. I love spy movies and we tried to be really accurate about this world…we had a couple of consultants who worked with us to a make sure that everything we were doing was factually accurate.”
Should be a pretty charged up evening, all told. You can try and get tickets here if there are any left (they’re free), but if you can’t, not to worry as “Haywire” opens on January 20, 2012. One more thing, we’re also hearing the film is being eyed by the Berlin Film Festival for a competition slot, but nothing has been firmed up just yet.