Mixed martial arts sensation Gina Carano is getting her shot at Hollywood: she's teaming up with Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh of the "Ocean's Eleven" spinoffs.
Carano, who grew up in Las Vegas, will star in the spy thriller "Knockout," described by Variety as "a closer cousin to 'La Femme Nikita' and 'Kill Bill' than 'Million Dollar Baby.'"
Soderbergh, who won his Oscar for "Traffic" and was nominated for two others, ("Erin Brockovich" and "Sex, Lies and Videotape") plans a late January production start, according to Variety.
A rare combination of beauty and athletic prowess, Carano, 27, will play a girl from the wrong side of the tracks "who is given a second chance to use her skills for constructive purposes," Variety reported on Sunday.
The report added that Soderbergh considers the film more in the James Bond mold. It will shoot in locations around the world that include Ireland, Turkey and the United States.
Carano's acting credentials include the documentary "Ring Girls" and the Oxygen reality series "Fight Girls."
Ranked No. 16 on Maxim magazine's 2009 Hot 100, she played Crush on NBC's "American Gladiators," and recently shot the action film "Blood and Bone."
Carano's father, Glenn Carano, was a standout quarterback at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas before spending six seasons as a backup to Roger Staubach and Danny White with the Dallas Cowboys.
She lost a megafight last month to Brazilian Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos.
Soderbergh, who filmed most of the "Ocean's Eleven" sequel in Las Vegas in 2001, also has a Liberace film in development.
THE SCENE AND HEARD
The MTV Video Music Awards return to New York City's Radio City Music Hall on Sunday. Look for the Palms to make an all-out charge to get 'em back. Who can forget the 2007 VMAs, when Britney Spears forgot what planet she was on? ...
I'm hearing more shockers are coming down the pike as cutdowns continue in local TV newsrooms. ...
Laura Croft, Playboy's Miss July '08, posted a tweet Friday saying she was at Firefly, the tapas hot spot on Paradise Road, with a hot date: "Smitten," she wrote, adding he was well-known. "He's an angel." No, not that Angel, said "Peepshow" star Holly Madison, responding to my query. Her gal pal Croft, said Holly, "can do waaaaaaaaaaay better than that!" Croft has been seen with Palms owner George Maloof. ...
A baby boom among the "Jersey Boys" is producing a lot of little "Jersey Girls." Jeff Leibow, who plays Nick in the Las Vegas production at The Palazzo, is the latest. Others include: Jeremy Kushnier, who was the original Tommy DeVito in Vegas and Erik Bates, who replaced Jeremy here; plus Jamie Karen and Eric Gutman, former cast members from the first national tour. Vegas sax player Eric Tewalt was the only one who had a boy.
The Las Vegas cast is performing on "America's Got Talent" on Wednesday (KVBC-TV, Channel 3, 9 p.m.) ...
Anthony Crivello, the lead of "Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular," performs on the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon between 12:15 p.m. and 1 p.m. today.
Donny Osmond, sampling steak Saturday during SW Steakhouse chef David Walzog's grilling demo at Whole Foods in Town Square. ... The Venetian headliner Wayne Brady and Toby Allen, vocalist from local show "Human Nature," dropping in to see Bette Midler after her show Friday (Caesars Palace). ... At Lavo (Palazzo) over the weekend: Actress Regina King, Brady, and the musical duo LMFAO, who went to the lounge upstairs and hopped on stage for a performance of "La La La."... At Tao (The Venetian): "One Life to Live" actress Crystal Hunt, with gal pals. Also in the house: Patrick O'Bryant, 7-foot center of the Toronto Raptors, who proposed to his girlfriend Molly Bergeson. ... Former California Angels pitching star Chuck Finley, who made headlines with his marriage to model/actress Tawny Kitaen, at Capo's on Sahara Avenue, with free agent major league pitcher Jaret Wright before heading off to the Def Leppard Concert at MGM Grand. Also at Capo's: Antoinette Giancana, discussing design plans for the Mob Museum being planned on the Strip, in competition with the downtown Mob Museum project. ... Showing up to support Frank Marino's new "Divas Las Vegas" at the Imperial Palace over the weekend: Mary Wilson of The Supremes, illusionist Steve Wyrick and cast members of "Matsuri" and "Jubilee." ... At the Palms over the weekend: Actor Michael Clarke Duncan at Rain nightclub; baseball slugger Frank Thomas and Larry Johnson of the Kansas City Chiefs at N9NE Steakhouse.
THE PUNCH LINE
Muhammad Ali visited the town in Ireland where his great-grandfather was born, and thousands of people lined the streets to greet him. All the Irish people had one burning question for Ali: 'What's it like to fight with someone while sober?'" -- Conan O'Brien