Former MMA fighter and actress Gina Carano posted a moving tribute to legendary actor Carl Weathers shortly following his death on Friday, expressing gratitude that her “The Mandalorian” co-star showed her support following her firing from the Disney+ series.
In a lengthy Instagram post, Carano shared a slideshow with pictures of the late actor, who died at the age of 76, and noted the affection she had for him that she developed while working with him on the popular show.
“Hearing the news of Carl Weathers passing today is shocking, I’m going to struggle through these words… I was so looking forward to giving Carl the biggest hug at one of these fan expos I heard we were both going to be at this year. I looked forward to that reunion.”
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Carano starred in “The Mandalorian” during its first two seasons, playing the fan-favorite mercenary character, Cara Dune. However, in 2021, Disney axed her from the series and canceled her upcoming Star Wars spin-off show after she posted several controversial tweets about the COVID-19 pandemic, voter fraud in the 2020 election, and the transgender movement.
In her tribute to the “Rocky” franchise star, the actress focused on how Weathers reached out to her when she felt abandoned by the industry following the firing.
“Carl called me directly after I was fired. I wasn’t in an emotional state where I could pick up the phone because of how upset I was, but we did end up speaking later on,” she said, adding, “He was gentle and encouraging and didn’t want me to give up, he was letting me know that he wasn’t throwing me away, he was trying to keep my hope alive in what seemed like quite hopeless scenario.”
“He showed me he cared. That is who he was,” Carano recalled.
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The actress detailed how Weathers became a mentor of hers on the Star Wars show, with series director Jon Favreau believing they’d be a good pair considering “we shared the athlete turned actor bond.” A former NFL athlete, Weathers had played for the Oakland Raiders in the early 1970s.
Carano added, “Jon F was right, we were a great fit.”
She continued: “Carl was a mentor to me on set, he would put both his arms on my shoulders and look me directly in the eyes to calm my spirit. He had a wonderful perspective of telling a story that can only come through his experience and wisdom that he shared with me to help make me shine.”
The actress also mentioned how she “adored making him laugh” and always sought ways to make him smile on set.
“He was one of the greats and quite a ground breaker. I am flooded by all the precious memories we had together,” Carano said, before concluding, “My condolences to his family and loved ones. He was a great man. Rest in peace my dear friend. As he would say #Bepeace my friend, Be peace.”
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