With the news that an all female ‘Expendables’ film is in the works and the first few cast members have been named, that got us thinking. Who do we see as badass women, both as performers and as the characters they play?
We decided to come together and list women we feel are total badasses. So who is the ‘we’ in question, well your lovely women of the site Marcey and Bea! We’ve got four picks each, so take a look at our picks and why we chose them.
Naturally there are omissions, we can’t name everyone.
Marcey: One of my absolute favourites in the industry is the amazing Zoë Bell, stuntwoman extraordinaire and genuine badass. We all took more notice of Zoë with her co-starring role in Tarantino’s Death Proof (as part of the Grindhouse feature). Not only was she a cute and bubbly actress, but also right before our very eyes we saw her do some of the craziest stunts. I really couldn’t believe my eyes, and there was no doubt this really happened, Zoë the cat made it look easy!
She has been doing stunt work since the days of Xena: Warrior Princess, as Lucy Lawless’ stunt double. I remember seeing some awesome stunts, and later found out it was in fact Zoë. Then come to Kill Bill and Tarantino and she was the double for The Bride, and who better to make that character even more of a badass right? The woman has been working steady since, and branched off into acting with films like Bitch Slap, Whip It and Angel Of Death. As a current crop of strong badass women, she’s surely a contender for this ‘Expendables’ project. She could quite possibly be one of the most badass women on the planet, someone who really inspires me and I adore her!
Recommended Zoë Bell Watching: Death Proof, Angel Of Death
Bea: In Hollywood, the concept of appearance unfortunately means more than experience, especially for women who want to be taken seriously in such a shallow domain. While many actresses LOOK like they could beat you within an inch of your life, Hollywood is more concerned whether or not they look good doing it rather than actually doing it.
However it is professional MMA fighter Gina Carano who palm heels that notion in the face. Casting Carano in her debut role as the lethal black-ops agent Mallory Kane (I LOVE that name) was a risk that director Steven Soderbergh was willing to take in order to give us a very different female badass. Rather than rely on wire work, super powers and skin-tight leather, Kane’s fighting practicality is matched by her dress sense (hell, just before getting into a brutal life and death confrontation with Michael Fassbender’s character, she takes off her high heels, knowing she wouldn’t be able to be an efficient fighter if she kept them on). Kane knows that she could very well die if she does not apply herself with the view to survival and no fight move is too dirty. She takes measure of the situation before she fights, she sizes up her opponent the way a wolf does and not once does she use her sex or her looks as an excuse. While there is no doubt Carano is very attractive, it is her genuine physical prowess, attitude and commitment to the character of Mallory Kane that truly counts, which has given her the distinction to be on this list.
Recommended Gina Carano Watching: Despite the fact Ms. Carano is not by common definition a film actress, I dare you to watch her fights and NOT cringe when she beats her opponents.
Bea: If you’re gonna go mainstream, you gotta go for the best and I have always, always thought Princess Leia was the biggest badass in George Lucas’s galaxy and behind every movie badass is a badass actress.
Carrie Fisher, despite her personal ups and downs is somebody I look up to. She has been through some seriously dark times and yet she has managed to find a way to dig herself out of trouble and has become a stronger, wiser person for it. From an early age, Fisher was all but forced into the enormous and ruthless world of show business and truth be told, she did get swept up in the danger of it all. However, as she got older and began to understand how the nature of the beast operated, she became stronger both personally and professionally. Rather than merely resting on her laurels as Princess Leia, she actively not just pursued film roles but became a novelist, stage actress and screenwriter. In one of her most noted works “Postcards from the Edge” Fisher’s semi-biography observes the trials and tribulations of a young woman’s experience in showbiz fearlessly and candidly with more than a little irony. No wonder director Mike Nichols chose to adapt the book to the big screen in 1990 because of it’s relevance to not only the vindictive nature of Hollywood in general, but to the perils of young women who enter the industry.
Recommended Carrie Fisher Watching: While Ms. Fisher is not as active as she was 20 years ago, her role as Princess Leia is immortal. Additionally in Joe Dante’s hilarious satire on neighborhood politics “The ‘Burbs” (1989) Ms. Fisher proves that she can play comedy straight down the line. Oh and you can hear her voice in “Family Guy” as Angela which proves that despite all the darkness she went through, Carrie Fisher is still a badass.
Marcey: Jodie Foster has always been an icon for me, she’s an amazing actress and she certainly has a strong presence. There isn’t much that she can’t do, as seen with her filmography. Her early days were interesting, and she got attention by playing a teenage prostitute in Taxi Driver, opposite Robert DeNiro and Harvey Keitel. She followed that up with roles in Bugsy Malone, Freaky Friday and The Little Girl Who Lived Down The Lane, showing what an amazing range she had. The woman made waves with The Accused playing the victim of a vicious rang rape, which she won an Oscar. Soon after, the role that she became best known for happened, Clarice Starling in The Silence Of The Lambs. Another Oscar came her way, and both were very much deserving. She played two very different women, who has these inner strengths that made them extremely relatable.
I loved her in Nell, a very different sort of role and one that I imagine would have been very challenging. I thought her comedic turn in Maverick was entertaining and she captured something special in Contact. It wasn’t until the 00’s where her tough side began to come out with her intense and badass role in David Fincher’s Panic Room. Again she got to show her dynamic range, and I certainly looked at her in a different light. We had Flightplan, which wasn’t the best of films but she was good in it. Jodie nailed playing the bitch in Inside Man and another badass seeking vengeance in The Brave One. It looks as though we’ll be seeing that badass bitch side again in the upcoming Elysium and I can’t wait. Jodie is a force to be reckoned with.
Recommended Jodie Foster Watching: Taxi Driver, The Silence Of The Lambs, Panic Room
Marcey: I have a serious girl crush on Olga Kurylenko, she’s beautiful and a bonafied badass. She has been a Bond Girl and a Villainess, and she hasn’t stopped much. For me this woman lights up the screen, she certainly won me over in Quantum Of Solace and solidified that with Centurion.
Specifically with Centurion, this woman played a mute character, she had to rely on her look and demeanor to get across what she wanted to say and it worked. There was a real danger with her, no one stood a chance when she had her sights set on them. Her fierce eyes and temperament really made that film memorable and she was more than a credible villainess.
Say what you will about Quantum Of Solace, but I didn’t mind it and Olga was great in it. She wasn’t there just to be a pretty face, she got in on the action and I more than believed it. Her talents really shone through in the film, and she certainly gave us a different kind of Bond girl.
Recently her work has taken her to the new action/sci-fi film Oblivion, and I hear she’s pretty good in it. I sadly haven’t had a chance to see it yet but I don’t doubt that she owns her role. She has such an amazing screen presence and I’d glad let her kick my butt any day of the week.
Recommended Olga Kurylenko Watching: Centurion
Marcey: Robin McLeavy is definitely a new comer and one that made quite the impact playing the deranged Lola in the modern Australian horror classic The Loved Ones. That was a powerhouse performance, she showed so many emotions embedded within a clearly psychotic woman. I believed her, and if I saw Lola staring at me I would have been sure to leave the damn country!
No one was really a match for Lola, and I actually really loved that. She’s strong and fierce and crazy, the hero of the story has no chance against her. How often do we see that and actually believe it? Even towards the end of the film, not much can stop her, she made for one heck of a credible horror psycho and I loved every second of it.
After The Loved Ones, Hollywood came calling and she has starred in Hell On Wheels as a rather badass character (I am still watching), and the not that great Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. She has proved she is a badass, and she is going to have quite the career ahead of her. I was lucky enough to have met Robin and it makes me happy to see this gorgeous actress from Tasmania make it in Hollywood – that takes some true will power.
Recommended Robin McLeavy Watching: The Loved Ones
Noomi Rapace is the sort of woman who I not only enjoy to watch as an actress but also one I would consider marrying (if it were possible). Hers is a personality that is fearless yet once of grace, and every role she takes, she always offers up something unique. Be it as Nemesis personified Lisbeth Salander from the Swedish “Millenium” trilogy based off Stieg Larssons’ novels, to the faith-abiding Elizabeth Shaw from Ridley Scotts’ recent return to SF “Prometheus” she has such a wondrous presence about her that demands attention and admiration. Even in what was ultimately a thankless role (well, compared to that of Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr.) in “Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows” (2011) she was still a memorable addition to that rollicking bromance romp.
Her obvious talent, poise, approachability and wonderfully sang-froid nature really has left a huge impact in not just her native country, but all around the world, and as you can see, on me. I sincerely hope she stays around for a long time because women like her are a unique and inspiring force in an industry that is almost drowning in clones and unoriginality.
By the way, have you seen the woman smile? Ah, she looks gorgeous!
In the meantime however, she will be gracing the big silver screen again alongside the darling Rachel McAdams in the (supposedly) steamy thriller “Passion” directed by Brian De Palma.
Recommended Noomi Rapace Watching: As you have undoubtedly seen, the best films Ms. Rapace has been in thus far have already been discussed (and trust me, if I had more space I would go on more about them :D)
Bea: Wee, Zhang Ziyi!
Beijing native Ms. Ziyi is one of my favourite foreign actresses and has been consistently awesome in everything I have seen her (yes, even in “Rush Hour 2” no thanks to Brett Ratner). One of the most unique and inspiring things about Ms. Ziyi is that she is an accomplished dancer (she started when she was 8 years old ) and at 11 years old, by suggestion of her parents she joined up with the prestigious Beijing Dance Academy (which doubled as a boarding school) where she cultivated her talent. Despite loving what she was doing, she was taken aback by the sheer cattiness of the other girls who attended, and actually ran away from the school because she couldn’t tolerate that bullcrap any longer. Obviously she came back, and very quickly learned how to let go of whatever insecurity she had and by age 15 she won the national youth dancing championship which opened the door to appearing in television commercials in Hong Kong.
Not long afterward, she was permitted to enrol in the Central Academy of Drama at 17 years old. Now THAT is some hard work! Aside as her work as an actress, Ms. Ziyi is currently an ambassador for the Special Olympics and a spokesperson for Care for Children which is a foster care program active in China. It goes without saying Ms. Ziyi knows the value of hard work and commitment and that is why she is such a badass.
Recommended Zhang Ziyi Watching: You simply must see her in Ang Lee’s masterpiece “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (2000), “House of Flying Daggers” (2004), “Hero” (2002) and “Memoirs of a Geisha” (2005) because she absolutely shines!