Shankar: To do it without 'Haywire' star like 'Twix without caramel'

As “Haywire” star Gina Carano continues to establish herself as an action heroine with an upcoming turn in “The Fast and the Furious 6,” the former MMA fighter has become attached to topline an all-female riff on “The Expendables,” which is being set up by Adi Shankar’s banner 1984 Private Defense Contractors.

Shankar will produce for the shingle, which plans to fully finance the “Expendables”-inspired project.

Company remains in talks with several prominent actresses affiliated with the action genre in addition to Carano, who director Steven Soderbergh hand-picked to star in “Haywire” alongside more experienced thesps such as Michael Fassbender and Channing Tatum.

Dutch Southern, who wrote the 2010 Black List script “Hoof Harrington’s Greatest Hits,” was tapped to write the estrogen-powered action pic back in August, just as “The Expendables 2″ was opening atop the box office.

This has been a banner year for female-driven actioners like “The Hunger Games,” “Snow White and the Huntsman” and “Resident Evil: Retribution,” which respectively starred Jennifer Lawrence, Kristen Stewart and Milla Jovovich.

“I don’t know how I’m supposed to make a movie that is supposed to be the female version of ‘The Expendables’ without Gina Carano in it. It would be like making Twix without caramel or Jamba Juice without jamba,” said Shankar, whose shingle recently co-produced Joe Carnahan’s “The Grey,” Pete Travis’ “Dredd 3D,” Andrew Dominik’s upcoming Brad Pitt-starrer “Killing Them Softly” and the viral Internet hit “The Punisher: Dirty Laundry,” starring Thomas Jane.

In addition to a key role in “The Fast and the Furious 6,” Carano is also attached to star in John Stockwell’s “Taken”-esque action-thriller “In the Blood.” She’s repped by the Gersh Agency, The Syndicate and Ziffren Brittenham.

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