Gina Prince-Bythewood is the first Black woman to direct a big-budget comic book movie– Netflix’s new original release ‘The Old Guard’. The movie follows the exploits of a covert team of unkillable, immortal soldiers, led by Andy (Andromache of Scythia, played by Charlize Theron). The group welcomes a “new” recruit, KiKi Layne as Nile Freeman, who doesn’t realize just what she is. ‘The Old Guard’ is described as “a gritty, grounded, action-packed story that shows living forever is harder than it looks.”
And Prince-Bythewood says cutting together the fight scenes was a balance between action and emotion. As she told Variety:
“The best action scenes are those that are character-driven and have emotion to it. Nile is completely freaked out. She’s been kidnapped and shot in the head. She’s scared, angry and wants to be free. On the opposite side, you got Andy who has this new immortal at the worst time, but she’s gonna test her. She’s gonna see what she’s got and is coming into the fold.
“You have two women. Let’s showcase the fact that Nile is a Marine. Andy on the flip side knows every single fighting style throughout centuries. She’s the best fighter in the world. Nile can’t even punch Andy and throws out her martial arts training and goes back to the streets. Until she gets that one cheap shot and for a moment, it changes. You see how despite getting her arm broken, she doesn’t give up which says a lot about her character.
“I needed the actors to be doing this. I don’t want to have to be cutting away. I wanted to see them and see the story in their faces. I wanted to showcase their skill and athleticism which is something we don’t always get to see with women. I didn’t want it to be sexualized and look like a catfight. These are warriors and they are going toe to toe with one another. I wanted to keep most of it at eye level. Because we wanted it to have a grounded. I wanted to feel those slams against the wall and I wanted to feel the punches. And I wanted to be able to read what was going on in their faces.
“It took a long time [to cut] because we were trying to find that balance between showcasing the fight and build the emotion in the story.”
The cast also includes Matthias Schoenaerts as Sebastian “Booker” le Livre, Marwan Kenzari as Yusuf “Joe” Al-Kaysani, and Luca Marinelli as Nicolo “Nicky” di Genova, with Chiwetel Ejiofor as their enemy Copley, Harry Melling as Merrick, and Veronica Ngo as Quynh.
Prince-Bythewood was previously attached to helm another big comic movie, ‘Silver & Black’ for Sony, a part of the universe of movies based on Spider-Man characters. That film was put into turnaround, but maybe if ‘The Old Guard’ proves successful, that could encourage Sony to revisit that or to enlist Prince-Bythewood to helm another of its Spidey-verse flicks.
‘The Old Guard’ is now streaming on Netflix.