Netflix’s The Old Guard Director Reveals How The Movie Made History

Charlize Theron and Kiki Layne in the Old Guard
(Image credit: (Netflix))

The Old Guard has become one of the biggest streaming hits of the summer. The Netflix movie already broke records this month, becoming one of the platform’s most viewed original films, and director Gina Prince-Bythewood made history as the first Black woman to helm a major comic book film. And behind the scenes, The Old Guard can also check off a post-production team made up of 85% women. That’s unheard of. Prince-Bythewood spoke to the achievement with these words:

[That] doesn't happen, or very rarely happens on any movie. But on an action film, I guarantee you that's never happened before.

The Old Guard director made an active effort to hire as many diverse voices for her film, which extended to the technical side of things. The film’s editor, Terilyn A. Shropshire, (who worked with Gina Prince-Bythewood on Love & Basketball) also shares another first – she’s the first Black female editor to edit a comic book movie as well. The movie also enlisted Ex Machina’s Oscar-winning VFX supervisor Sara Bennett, too.

To place the importance of The Old Guard’s hiring decisions in context, among 2019’s 250 top-grossing films, only 6% of VFX supervisors were women. There were 13% on the director side of things and 23% when it came to editors. When speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Gina Prince-Bythewood spoke to hiring more female voices behind the scenes:

When you look at the resumés of a lot of really talented women, they are not as long or as extensive as a lot of men in the same position. But I know for a fact that it doesn't have to do with talent, it has to do with opportunity. … There are so many women out there who are so good at what they do, but they just haven't gotten the chance. Their being on my crew, being a part of the film, makes the film better.

This is awesome. It’s a well-needed step in Hollywood’s imbalanced industry, which has been slowly stepping up its game. Prince-Bythewood credits Wonder Woman’s Patty Jenkins for opening the door “a crack” for more female filmmakers. Following The Old Guard’s success, Marvel has hired its first Black female director. in Candyman helmer Nia DaCosta, who will helm Captain Marvel 2 for the studio.

The Old Guard, made on a reported $70 million budget, featured Charlize Theron’s Andy and a group of badass eternal mercenaries, who have to fight to protect their identities. Theron trained hard with axes to embody a woman who has had combat skills for hundreds of years.

Talks of an Old Guard sequel have already been high on the minds of fans. The writer of the comic book it is based on said “there have been discussions” but could not confirm The Old Guard 2’s green light. The second installment of a planned Old Guard trilogy is set to hit bookshelves and sites this fall. Prince-Bythewood told CinemaBlend she’s aware of what happens next for the band of immortals and it's “pretty dope.”

Stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for updates on what’s next for The Old Guard.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.