All the talk is about Michael Fassbender’s full-frontal nude scene in the NC-17 sex-addict drama Shame, but in the Steven Soderbergh-directed action-thriller Haywire, a mistake during a savage fight led to a different kind of full-frontal action.

“I remember it clearly,” Fassbender says of the error that led to prop weapon colliding squarely with his face. It happened while in the midst of a knock-down drag-out fight with mixed martial arts fighter Gina Carano, who stars in the film as the special-ops agent everyone in the film wants dead.

“She is supposed to pick up a vase and it breaks away, and the stunt guy said, ‘She’s going to grab it and hit you on the side of the head. But the one thing that’s important as she swings toward your head is you don’t look at her. You turn your head away and take the hit.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, I got it.’”

He underestimated the instinct to turn toward a projectile.

See below to watch the movie’s exclusive new trailer, and find out what happened.

“Of course, Gina picked up the vase and I looked right at it,” Fassbender said. There was no serious injury, just a little blinding pain. “It was like a camera bulb had gone off,” he said.

In the movie, out Jan. 20, Fassbender plays an associate agent sent to masquerade with Carano as a wealthy couple touring Dublin, but he’s actually there to double-cross her for their superiors. As the pair enter their hotel room together at the end of a cover mission, a savage, shattering brawl ensues. “He makes his first maneuver on her at the door, and it should be a quick kill but it all goes wrong. And then it’s a matter of finding anything, something hard or that has a sharp edge. It’s an anything goes type thing,” Fassbender says. “These fights are messy.”

Those can be the best kind, though. “Yeah, it was fun,” he recalls with a wincing hiss. “A few bruises though.” Fassbender was facing off with someone who knew how to throw a punch in real life, but was a novice about movie fighting. “I was just focused on keeping it together, and not getting clocked and not hitting Gina, though she would be able to take it a lot better than I would,” Fassbender jokes.

When you watch the attack in the trailer, it’s hard not to see something sexual in these two beautiful, glamorous people grappling with each other. “I suppose the life [these spies] are leading seems to be an exciting one, so there are elements of sex and death,” Fassbender says. He supposes? At one point, she puts his face in a leg-lock and tries to smother him with her thighs. Fassbender chuckles: “I mean, I just put my head where they tell me to… ”

Except, of course, when he doesn’t.

On Twitter: @breznican

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