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Why Angel Dust From Deadpool Looks So Familiar

Make no mistake about it, "Deadpool" changed the game for the superhero movie genre. It wasn't the first film of its type to garner an R-rating. However, Ryan Reynolds and Tim Miller's raunchy, ultra-violent adaptation of the Merc with a Mouth definitely opened the door to new possibilities in the modern era of cape-centric blockbusters. Although Reynolds stole the show as the titular mutant antihero, part of what gave "Deadpool" its unique charm was its colorful cast of side characters. Wolverine, Jean Grey, and Magneto were nowhere to be seen, but in their place, a slew of lesser-known characters from the X-Men universe were given a chance to shine. 

Most notably, Deadpool was flanked by Colossus (Stefan Kapičić) and Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand) at various junctures throughout the film. That said, there were memorable characters sprinkled throughout the movie's considerable runtime. The good guys were given priority, to be sure, but one of the villains was a scene-stealer in their own right. Namely, Angel Dust – a member of the disaffected Morlocks in the comics who appears in this movie as a moody enforcer and full-on badass.

Angel Dust's screen time is intermittent, but when she's there, she's making an impact. And that impact was aided in no small part by the recognizable actress who played her: Gina Carano. Here's why Angel Dust from "Deadpool" looks so familiar.

Gina Carano began as an MMA sensation

Once upon a time, Carano was a main event attraction in the world of mixed martial arts. Years before Ronda Rousey ushered in a new era for female MMA competitors, Carano — who first rose to prominence in the kickboxing game and Muay Thai — was the sport's first breakout female star in the mid-2000s.

She began her MMA career with a pair of eye-catching, knockout wins in World Extreme Fighting and World Pro Fighting Championships, respectively. From there, she made the move to the burgeoning Strikeforce promotion, where she participated in its first-ever female fight, beating Elaina Maxwell. In 2007, she began her star-making run with EliteXC, beating Julie Kedzie, Tonya Evinger, Kaitlin Young, and Kelly Kobold over the next two years and pushing her undefeated record to 7-0.

However, Carano's impressive streak came to an end at a Strikeforce event in 2009, when she squared off with Cris Cyborg (who, in 2021, is the Bellator Women's Featherweight Champion). Although she had rarely been challenged to that point in her career, Carano was completely overpowered by Cyborg, who won via first-round TKO.

That would prove to be Carano's last fight. At one point, she was slated to make her return in a dream match with Rousey, however, she later told ESPN that UFC president Dana White ruined the deal. Instead, she continued to focus on her fledgling acting career.

Carano arrived on the Hollywood scene with Haywire

Although she had been part of a few small-scale and direct-to-video projects previously, Carano's first foray into big-budget Hollywood filmmaking came with the 2011 action-thriller "Haywire." Directed by Steven Soderbergh and co-starring such luminaries as Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Bill Paxton, Channing Tatum, Antonio Banderas, and Michael Douglas, the movie told the story of Mallory Kane, a government-contracted black ops soldier who is betrayed and left for dead during a hostage rescue.

Carano notably did her own stunt work for "Haywire," however, her voice was curiously overdubbed for the film's final cut. Speaking to ESPN, Carano confirmed that it was indeed another actress' voice that had been applied to her performance and she also revealed that a personal trauma contributed to the situation.

"I had a miscarriage. It wasn't like an on-purpose thing, it was a very accidental thing. So, I was in a very fragile, I think, position as it was," she said. Carano further purported that she was in Thailand dealing with the emotional fallout of the event when "Haywire" was in reshoots and that she wasn't allowed to finish her work on the project, adding "my entire voice was robbed."

Per Box Office Mojo, "Haywire" pulled in just over $34 million at the worldwide box office against a budget of $23 million.

Cara Dune & The Mandalorian

As memorable as her performance in "Deadpool" was, Carano is likely most identified with her turn in the Disney+ series "The Mandalorian."

Over its first two seasons, Carano appeared in seven episodes of the popular "Star Wars" universe series in which Pedro Pascal plays a steely bounty hunter from the ruined world of Mandalore. Making her debut in the Chapter 4 episode "Sanctuary," Carano plays a former Rebel Alliance shock trooper and Alderaanian named Cara Dune, who encounters and, eventually, befriends the titular character when he travels to the planet Sorgan to protect one of his former bounties, a child.

Dune later aids the Mandalorian in his efforts to defeat the former Imperial soldiers who originally charged him with locating the child. She also rejoined the bounty hunter for his attempt to rescue the child when he is abducted.

Carano's portrayal of Dune was a big hit with fans, who seemingly always wanted more of the character. More recently, though, Carano was fired from the show after she made controversial posts on social media, as relayed by The Hollywood Reporter. "Gina Carano is not currently employed by Lucasfilm and there are no plans for her to be in the future," a spokesperson for the show said at the time.

Carano also appeared in the Fast and the Furious franchise

"Star Wars" and "X-Men" aren't the only mega movie franchises Carano has been a part of. She also acted alongside Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in 2013's "Fast & Furious 6."

Carano plays Riley Hicks in "Fast 6," a Diplomatic Security Service agent who joins fellow DSSer Luke Hobbs (Johnson) in his hunt for mercenary and criminal Owen Shaw (Luke Evans). However, it is eventually revealed that not all is as it seems with Riley. 

Although Carano was part of a large, ensemble cast for the project, she still managed to make an impression in the film, particularly during some intense fight sequences. Her battles with Letty Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) were a major hit with fans and critics alike. Even director Justin Lin was taken aback by what the two women were able to accomplish on-screen.

"I've been hearing people talk about how that's like the best fight they've seen in films," Lin said about one of the encounters, via USA Today. "At first I'm like, 'Wow, there's a lot of films with fights.' But when you watch it, you see that, hey, there are moments in there."

"Fast 6" still ranks as the second-highest-grossing film in the "Fast" series at the domestic box office, raking in nearly $240 million per Box Office Mojo.