Charlize Theron is the latest A-list movie star to make a movie with Netflix.
The Mad Max: Fury Road actress will co-star with KiKi Layne (If Beale Street Could Talk) in The Old Guard, a movie adaptation of the recent comic series about “a covert group of immortal mercenaries who must fight to keep their team together when their extraordinary abilities are exposed.” That may sound like a somewhat generic description, but this film sounds like it could be something very special. Learn more about it below.
The Old Guard Cast
— Strong Black Lead (@strongblacklead) February 21, 2019
Gina Prince-Bythewood is directing, making this her first movie since 2014’s excellent romance Beyond the Lights. She was attached to direct a Silver & Black film for Sony before that was split into two separate superhero movies, but I’m glad she was able to fit this into her schedule since the future of those projects seems more unstable.
The Old Guard, written by Greg Rucka and based on the comic by Rucka and illustrator Leandro Fernández, is full of great action, deep character relationships, and a thoughtful exploration about what it means to live for centuries on end without dying. These aren’t traditional superheroes: they’re just characters who have honed their military skills through decades of trial and mastery – they can still be ripped apart by bullets, bleed, and feel pain, but they just can’t die. Think Logan, but without the adamantium.
In the comics, the leader of the mercenary group (presumably Theron’s character) is from Ancient Greece, and there are three other members of the main team, including a soldier from the Crusades and a Muslim soldier who fought against each other centuries ago and are now in a relationship that’s lasted hundreds of years. They encounter a young black woman (presumably Layne’s character) in Afghanistan who also has their immortal abilities, and she becomes their recruit and the audience’s window into this unfamiliar world.
Theron as an immortal commander? Count me in. (Note: she’s played an immortal character before, in – spoiler alert for a movie that’s over a decade old at this point – the Will Smith superhero movie Hancock.) And Layne is a textbook example of a rising star, breaking onto the scene with an incredible performance in If Beale Street Could Talk and keeping her streak alive with solid work in the upcoming Native Son, which we saw at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Prince-Bythewood is a talented director who loves exploring emotional, flawed characters, and on paper, all of these pieces seem to add up to more than just another typical Netflix movie.
As we continue marching through the era of the streaming wars, it’s going to be important for Netflix to keep creating shows and movies that keep people’s attention from Disney+, the WarnerMedia service, and all of the other competition out there. So far, they’ve proven to be effective at locking down movie stars and big names to fortify their position, and it looks like they’ll be able to count The Old Guard as another win as that battle rages on with no end in sight.
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