We get all sorts of press releases from distributors, and exactly one month ago we got one about a movie called The Old Guard. Now we generally keep our ears to the ground to know of any major upcoming film releases, but none of us knew anything about this. And we really should have!
Led by Charlize Theron and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball), The Old Guard is an adaptation of Eisner-winning writer Greg Rucka’s comic book which he adapted to screen himself. And it tells the story of a group of immortal warriors who have lived for thousands of years. These immortals have kept their existence a secret, helping humanity from the shadows, but they get their unending lives upended when they are exposed to the world and have to finally confront the source of their immortality.
How had we not heard of something that sounds this awesome before?! Well, clearly Netflix realized that it needed to get the word out quickly as well because here we are just a month later and with the official reveal of the production. Vanity Fair posted a bunch of pics from the supernatural action thriller, giving us first looks at the cast which also includes Chiwetel Ejiofor, Matthias Schoenaerts, Luca Marinelli, Marwan Kenzari, and Harry Melling. That’s some big names there but this is undoubtedly Theron’s show as she stars as Andromache of Scythia, a character who has popped up in history and mythology throughout the ages, from inspiring the hero in a play by Euripides in 425 B.C. to fighting in the US Civil War in the 1860s. As the article explains “Her name literally means ‘man-fighter’ or ‘battler of men.’ But she goes by ‘Andy’ now.”
As Theron told Vanity Fair, when we meet Andy in the modern day, she’s disillusioned and tired as her centuries-long efforts to help humanity hasn’t stopped the very worst from still rising to the top.
It was important to feel the weight of thousands and thousands of years on her. The worst part for her is just feeling like she’s not doing anything. So what is the point, you know? She’s lost faith, not just in herself but in humanity. I think a lot of people can relate to that at this moment in time. We go through periods in life where we just look at the world and go, Oh, my God… You just feel like you’re pushing a rock up a mountain.
From the first moment I read Rucka’s graphic novel, I felt like there was great potential to make this thing feel really very relevant and have it ask some real questions about humanity. Is what we’re doing enough? Is what we’re doing actually changing anything? Are we making [things] better, or are we making the world worse?
Andy has assembled her team of fellow immortals throughout the ages, like a French soldier who fought with Napoleon (Matthias Schoenaerts), a Muslim (Marwan Kenzari) and Italian Christian (Luca Marinelli) who were enemies in the Crusades but are now lovers. It’s an eclectic bunch but what they all have in common is they have died and been resurrected hundred of times lives, but they don’t know how or why. That mystery is shoved to the forefront when, for the first time in centuries, a new person with the ability to resurrect is discovered.
Played by Kiki Layne (If Beale Street Could Talk), US Marine Nile Freeman discovers she’s immortal and is taken in by Andy, helping to pull the old warrior out of her cynicism. Only after they get to punch each other in the face, of course. A daunting task to Layne who had never done any serious action on screen before.
We kicked off filming with shooting the fight. Day one, I did have to get through the nerves of, like, Don’t accidentally hit her! Oh, my God, if you hit her, you’ll never work in Hollywood again.… But then once we got on set, it was really dope working with Charlize. She’s done this. She is a pro at this. Also, it was dope for me to be kicking ass for the first time.
While Andy and Nile become close and the “emotional core” of the film (Charlize tells her that “‘You came into my life to make me remember what it was like to feel invincible”), the latter’s immortal birth comes with problems. Specifically, mysterious new enemies who are hunting them down and may have some knowledge of their origins. Leading this charge for the bad guys are Chiwetel Ejiofor and Harry Melling, respectively playing a CIA operative/historian and unscrupulous pharmaceutical exec. They’re going to have their hands full though with Andy’s “elite, small army of people with a great set of abilities” who “don’t die easily”.
We’ll get to see how that battle for the ages plays out when The Old Guard debuts on Netflix in late 2020.
Last Updated: May 8, 2020