There are few things more embarrassing for an evil, tough-guy villain than getting his ass kicked by a girl. In John Stockwell's latest release, In the Blood, Amaury Nolasco's character Silvio - a slimy, slightly psychopathic crime boss - gets his ass kicked by a girl a lot. MMA star and native Texan Gina Carano plays Ava who's on her honeymoon with her husband in the Caribbean. When her husband disappears, Ava, who just happens to be a trained fighter, goes looking for him busting quite a few heads along the way. As the chief-lowlife-in-charge, Silvo gets her repeated attention.
"I read the script and saw, oh, hey, a girl is going to kick my butt. Really? Okay, let's see how this is going to happen," Nolasco tells us laughing.
"I knew Gina from Haywire. I knew she was from MMA, but I had never seen her fight. So we get to the set and I think, 'How tough can she be?' Little did I know, this girl is a lethal weapon.
"I'm a 175 pounds of muscle and Gina just threw me around like I was nothing. At first, I was like, 'Don't worry, I'll go easy on you.' After the third take, I said, 'Ah ... cut! Don't I have a stunt double somewhere around here? Can somebody get him, please?' She is the real deal."
Multiple ass-whippings aside, Nolasco enjoyed playing Silvio who comes off equal parts demented and charming. "I don't describe him as a villain or a bad guy, he was just misunderstood," Nolasco laughs. "Here's a guy who controls the underworld on the island but he gives back to the community. Sure, he pays off the cops to do what he tells them to do but he takes care of the people who live in his neighborhood. At least that's what he thinks."
"It's always fun to play the villain. They say blonds have the most fun, but I think villains actually have the most fun. The villains, I'm pretty sure they're not villains to their mothers. Somewhere there's something redeeming in Silvio; I tried to find that. He needs to survive and he's willing to do it at the anybody's expense. I can understand that."
During one scene, Silvio expresses surprise at Ava's hostility. Sure, her husband is being held hostage but there's no need for her to be so angry.
"I wanted to give him some dimension; I didn't want him to just bark, bark, bark. I wanted to give him some flair. At one point, he's like 'Hey, what's with all the violence?' He's the most violent person in the room, but he doesn't see it that way. He thinks he's a pretty nice guy."
At another point in the film, Silvio and his gang are searching a neighborhood. Silvio questions a small boy but doesn't get any answers. Undeterred, Silvio pulls out his gun and offers it to the boy. "You want to hold it?" he asks. The boy emphatically shakes his head no.
" [John Stockwell] likes to give you a green light. He has a script, but he says it's really just an outline. Once the cameras start rolling, it's just go. Like with trying to give a gun to a kid, I was thinking, 'How sick can I make this guy?' So he tries to give a kid a gun and doesn't think anything of it. It's just a normal, every day thing to him.
Nolasco won't be visiting Houston as part of the In the Blood publicity tour but he says the city holds a special place in his heart. "My sister, may she rest in peace, died around three years ago. She was born with heart troubles and when she had to have surgery, we would take her to Texas Childrens Hospital in Houston. My parents would make a vacation out of it and we'd all go down to WaterWorld, to AstroWorld, to the Astrodome to see Jose Cruz play with the Houston Astros. I haven't been there in a while and I understand WaterWorld and AstroWorld are gone, but I have lots of good memories of Houston. It's a great place."
In the Blood screens at various times daily starting April 4 at AMC Theatres 30, 2949 Dunvale. For information, call 713-977-4431 or visit amctheatres.com. It's also available on iTunes and On Demand services the same day.