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Discussion Starter #1
This looks pretty good, looking forward to it.


‘The Old Guard’ Trailer: Charlize Theron Leads A Group Of Mercenaries In Netflix Action Thriller
By Amanda N'Duka

Netflix has released the first official trailer for The Old Guard, the Gina Prince-Bythewood-directed film adaption based on the acclaimed graphic novel by Greg Rucka. Charlize Theron stars as Andy, a warrior who leads a covert group of mercenaries with a mysterious inability to die and have committed to protect the mortal world for centuries.

KiKi Layne also stars in the sci-fi actioner alongside Marwan Kenzari, Luca Marinelli, Harry Melling, Van Veronica Ngo, with Matthias Schoenaerts and Chiwetel Ejiofor

When the team is recruited to take on an emergency mission and their extraordinary abilities are suddenly exposed, it’s up to Andy and Nile (Layne), the newest soldier to join their ranks, to help the group eliminate the threat of those who seek to replicate and monetize their power by any means necessary.

Greg Rucka wrote the screenplay which was produced by Theron, David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, Don Granger, AJ Dix, Beth Kono, and Marc Evans.

Netflix will release the pic on July 10.

https://deadline.com/video/the-old-guard-trailer-charlize-theron-netflix-action-thriller/


Official trailer:



Netflix's The Old Guard - Official"Plane Fight" Clip

 

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I feel bad for all these actors nowadays. Before, to prepare for a role, you’d read the script, memorize your lines, and maybe shadow someone in real life that has the job that your character does to get a feel for your role. Now you have to go into boot camp, weapons training and 6 months of diet and fitness training.

*** Note: this is a comment made in jest. I know the stars get paid a lot of money and given a personal trainer and dietician to get in shape. No they are not suffering. I don’t really feel bad that they just can’t just show up on set these days and say their lines and then go back to their trailers and have donuts and cigarettes.
 

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I feel bad for all these actors nowadays. Before, to prepare for a role, you’d read the script, memorize your lines, and maybe shadow someone in real life that has the job that your character does to get a feel for your role. Now you have to go into boot camp, weapons training and 6 months of diet and fitness training.
On the plus side, they no longer have to read scripts or memorize lines. Because there usually isn't a script when the movie goes into production. They're handed pages right before the camera rolls and hope for the best it will somehow make sense later.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
That's the thing... she always transforms herself for the role, plus she can act her ass off! That's why we love Charlize! :D
She was awesome in Mad Max. Doesn't hurt either that she is easy on the eyes. :D
 

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I thought she was great in "Snow White and the Huntsmen".

On second thought, I can't remember anything I didn't like her in.:D
 

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Review is a little spoilery like most reviews.

Possible spoilers below.

'The Old Guard': Film Review

Charlize Theron leads a team of immortal mercenaries whose power is exposed to vulnerability in Gina Prince-Bythewood's action thriller for Netflix based on the graphic novel series.

A persuasive argument, not that one should still be required, for handing women directors the reins more often on big-canvas action movies, The Old Guard represents a boldly assured step for Gina Prince-Bythewood away from the intimate romantic drama of strong previous work like Love & Basketball and Beyond the Lights. That said, what makes this gripping graphic novel adaptation so distinctive is the trust it places in its audience to stay glued through the quiet, character-building interludes threaded among excitingly varied fight scenes that crescendo in an expertly choreographed showdown.

Led with take-charge authority by Charlize Theron, flanked by a breakout turn from KiKi Layne, this is unusually soulful superhero material firmly rooted in real-world situations. Actually, calling the Netflix feature a superhero film seems reductive given the melancholy ambivalence shown by its protagonists toward their powers. But it's definitely superhero-adjacent, and a welcome surprise for those of us craving more emotional layering and dramatic grit and less routine comic-strip wham-kapow.

This is a mainstream movie that benefits enormously from its intelligence and inclusivity: The Old Guard showcases commanding work from a woman of color in the director's chair; a muscular co-lead role for a Black actress with intriguing elements put in place for her prominence in future installments (I'm so there); and most unexpectedly, a jolt of queer-positive representation via gay characters whose love is reaffirmed with stirring defiance in the face of macho scorn.

Adapting his series of graphic novels (illustrated by Leandro Fernandez), screenwriter Greg Rucka also adds texture through his sensitive observation of the lingering trauma of war, the weight of violence and the loss of family while grounding the story's villainy in a portrait of 21st century capitalism that blurs the lines between greed and sadism. Making the heroes' chief antagonist a maniacal misfit nerd who heads a Big Pharma corporation — played by Harry Melling, the Harry Potter franchise's Dudley Dursley, all grown up — only adds to the heightened stakes of superpowers battling against the rampant ills of our contemporary world.

Theron plays Andromache of Scythia, who helpfully goes by Andy, head of a tight band of warriors unable to be killed, regenerating every time they die. Her fellow soldiers Joe (Marwan Kenzari) and Nicky (Luca Marinelli) met and fell in love while fighting on opposing sides in the Crusades, and logistics guy Booker (Matthias Schoenaerts) was first slaughtered in the Napoleonic Wars. Andy's weapon of choice is a double-headed medieval ax — or a modern take on one — but she dates back even further, judging by the ancient Greek placement of her name.

The group has no catchy tag, like the Avengers, nor is their moral code initially clear. Asked if they're good guys or bad, one of them replies, "Depends on the century." Basically, they are deadly mercenaries, soldiers for hire brought in to sort out dire situations. But Andy is disillusioned by humanity's failure to redeem itself even after centuries of their interventions. "The world can burn for all I care," she says. "I'm done." She's like a weary vampire for whom eternal life is more of a curse than a blessing.

Andy reluctantly gets on board when they are recruited by former CIA agent Copley (Chiwetel Ejiofor) to rescue 17 schoolchildren abducted in South Sudan, echoing the 2014 Boko Haram kidnappings in Nigeria. But that mission turns out to be a set-up, revealing that an enemy knows of their carefully concealed existence.

At the same time, they share visions of an "awakening," the emergence for the first time in centuries of a new immortal, when U.S. Marine Nile Freeman (Layne) gets her throat slashed in Afghanistan and swiftly recovers. The visions are mutual; Nile's nightmare flashes of Andy's past illuminate a backstory that includes the death of the latter's original comrade — the first indication that their immortality is not absolute — and the cruel fate met by her beloved companion Quynh (Van Veronica Ngo, seen recently as Hanoi Hannah in Spike Lee's Da 5 Bloods).

Prince-Bythewood puts refreshing time and care into establishing the characters in an opening stretch that includes enough gun, fist, sword and mixed martial arts action to whet the appetite for the more extended clashes to come. This is especially true of the spiky interplay between Andy and Nile, as the eternal warrior whisks her newborn sister away from military scrutiny. Freaked out by what's happening to her, Nile resists, notably in a pounding mano a mano fight with Andy in the cargo hold of an airborne plane.

Nile barely has time to accept her kinship before the group is ambushed at a safe house outside Paris and two members taken by a paramilitary squad working for Merrick (Melling), CEO of the pharmaceutical company that bears his name. Having made a fortune on cancer treatments, he is determined to find a drug to reverse cognitive decline, but his motives are not altruistic. His research lab evokes shades of Nazi human experimentation as the scientist on his payroll (Anamaria Marinca) draws blood and tissue samples from the abductees in order to replicate their DNA.

Merrick wants the rest of the group captured to keep them out of his competitors' hands. But Andy, forever guilt-stricken over her failure to protect Quynh, vows to get her comrades back. Rucka's script deftly introduces physical setbacks, internal betrayals, uncertainties about Nile's commitment and a shift in one character's loyalties as the rescuers gear up to take on Merrick's heavily armed crew in an impressively sustained final act full of balletic fight moves.

Theron has accrued bona fide action credentials in films like Atomic Blonde and most memorably in Mad Max: Fury Road; here she plays another kind of Furiosa, burdened by memories of countless tragedies stretching back across history. Dressed in basic black, with dark hair in a no-fuss, side-parted bob, she looks toned and powerful, moving with a loose swagger. But it's the brooding interiority of the character, the psychological baggage she's carrying, that gives her dimension. One of her best scenes is a tender exchange with a French pharmacist dressing her wounds, in which the stranger's kindness cuts through Andy's jaded disgust with humanity's failings.

Layne, so luminous in Barry Jenkins' If Beale Street Could Talk, toughens up convincingly, pushing back against the unasked-for mentorship of Andy with palpable anger while slowly coming to terms with the sorrow of losing her family and being conscripted into a life in the shadows. In a strong scene between Nile and Booker, we observe her mind ticking over the road ahead as he opens up about the pain of watching people he loves grow old and die while he never ages. Schoenaerts, a naturally physical actor with an introspective side, brings quiet depths to this role.v

All the characters are well-drawn, with Kenzari and Marinelli giving an affecting display of a love that has only grown stronger over the millennia. Unlike, say, the polite acknowledgment of Sulu's sexuality in Star Trek Beyond, or the ambiguity in screen portrayals of queer characters from the comics in MCU movies, Prince-Bythewood and her actors treat the union of Joe and Nicky with unabashed candor.

Melling puts a suitably nasty spin on corporate villainy, playing Merrick with a rodent-like intensity and twisted sense of power in inverse proportion to his physical presence; and Ejiofor reveals gnawing conflicts in Copley, setting up an ongoing role if this film should generate a sequel. Pay attention to a brief coda six months after the main action for an explicit indication of how another character is likely to figure in an eventual follow-up.

There's a pleasing sweep to the storytelling, which jumps across settings in Africa, Southern Asia, rural France and London. Prince-Blythewood has used TV experience on Cloak & Dagger and Shots Fired as a stepping stone to a more action-driven movie than her previous work. She has assets in the dynamic camerawork of Tami Reiker and Barry Ackroyd (the latter having shown his dexterity with the high-tension visuals of his collaborations with Paul Greengrass), and the punchy cutting of regular editor Terilyn A. Shropshire.

As always with Prince-Blythewood, the use of music provides sharp enhancement, with a subtle score by Volker Bertelmann and Dustin O'Halloran that incorporates driving techno and percussion elements. There's also an eclectic mix of vocals, encompassing ambient, electropop, rap, hip-hop and R&B, primarily in soft, slow cuts that combine to give the movie a spiritual, trance-like feel that deepens its thematic emphasis on the psychological toll of violence.

The Old Guard feels like just the new crew we need.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/old-guard-1301273
 

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I feel bad for all these actors nowadays. Before, to prepare for a role, you’d read the script, memorize your lines, and maybe shadow someone in real life that has the job that your character does to get a feel for your role. Now you have to go into boot camp, weapons training and 6 months of diet and fitness training.
With the amount they get paid (at least some of them), I wouldn't feel too sorry! Also, looking forward to checking this out this coming weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
As a comic book fan, I'm looking forward to this!
Me too. It looks great, love Charlize, and the theme sounds cool. Never read the comic but don't care, still looks amazing. Can't wait for it to drop this weekend, watching it right away.
 

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Ancient history: Charlize Theron and The Old Guard cast talk battle-axes and immortality
The Oscar winner and action icon photographs herself at home for EW's latest digital cover.
By Devan Coggan

If you’re looking to cast an ageless warrior who’s spent the last 6,000 years perfecting every human skill possible, you’d have a hard time finding a better candidate than Charlize Theron.

Need someone who can single-handedly take down an entire room full of bad guys? No problem. What about fighting on horseback? Sure thing. Someone who’s as comfortable wielding a handgun as she is slicing through foes with an ancient, two-handed battle ax? Please, what else you got?

And what if you work at a magazine and you need a celebrity who can photograph herself in isolation because there’s a global pandemic raging and you can’t exactly gather a regular crew? Easy — just drop off a camera at Theron’s home in Los Angeles, and she’ll execute an entire photo shoot in her backyard.

The 44-year-old Oscar winner’s up-for-anything attitude and diverse resume are part of what make her so appropriately cast in The Old Guard, Netflix’s new action-drama about a crew of unkillable mercenaries who’ve lived (and lived and lived) through the centuries. Theron’s Andy, a.k.a. Andromache of Scythia, is their leader, and together, she and her squad (Matthias Schoenaerts, Marwan Kenzari, and Luca Marinelli) have flitted around the fringes of history, bearing witness to humanity’s highest highs and lowest lows, from the Renaissance through the American Civil War.

“When it was first pitched to me, it felt a little bit like fantasy, but when I read it, it felt modern and of this time,” Theron says a few days after her photo shoot, via Zoom with her castmates. “That intrigued me: How can you tell this story that deals with the supernatural, but isn’t really about the supernatural? It’s just about people.”

In some ways, The Old Guard (out July 10) feels like your typical summer blockbuster. Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball) and adapted by Greg Rucka from his and Leandro Fernandez’s graphic novel, the Netflix film boasts the sort of action-packed sci-fi flourishes that, under normal circumstances, play out at multiplexes every July. (“Death-defying stunts” takes on a new meaning when your main characters are literally incapable of death.) But this also isn’t your standard summer: With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic keeping theaters largely closed, The Old Guard stands as one of the season’s few new big-budget releases (and joins Netflix's growing roster of action-dramas like Extraction and Project Power).

And the film isn’t your standard comic book movie, either: With Prince-Bythewood in the director’s chair, it’s the first major comic book movie helmed by a Black woman. It’s also led by not one but two women, a rarity in the action genre; in addition to Theron, KiKi Layne (If Beale Street Could Talk) plays a U.S. Marine and newbie immortal named Nile, whom Andy reluctantly takes under her wing. Plus, the central romance is a warm, unambiguously queer relationship between two men: Joe (Aladdin’s Kenzari) and Nicky (Every Blessed Day’s Marinelli), two immortal adversaries-turned-lovers who had their meet-cute fighting on opposite sides in the Crusades.

At a time when Hollywood seems to be constantly discussing diversity but not necessarily representing it on screen, The Old Guard feels like a hopeful glimpse of what the future could hold for big-budget movies. The result is a thrilling action flick that’s also disarmingly intimate, marrying explosions and gunfights with melancholy meditations on death.

“When I had my very first meeting with Gina, she made it very clear that that’s what she wanted to lean into,” Layne, 28, explains. “That this wasn’t just going to be about the big action stuff and those really big, grand moments in this genre, but the true depth of these characters and really getting to the heart of why they do the things that they do.”

And for Theron, The Old Guard presented a chance to try something new, sharing the screen with more female cast members after spending so much of her career as a solo leading lady.

“For all women in our industry, there's this real excitement when you get to do something that has two very interesting female leads,” she says. “Unfortunately, we're still living and working in a place where that's sometimes very hard to find. So that was a really nice thing for me, and it's embarrassing that in my almost 30 years of doing this, I haven't had that many opportunities to do that.”

When Rucka first conceived his graphic novel about unkillable soldiers, he started with the very eldest: Andy. “I knew she was the crankiest old lady in the history of the universe,” the writer says now. “Like, the whole damn world needed to get off her lawn.” To play that old lady, Prince-Bythewood looked to Theron, who’d already demonstrated her action know-how in films like Atomic Blonde and Mad Max: Fury Road.

The ageless Andy is an expert at what she does, but years of fighting and the solitude of immortality have left her cynical and exhausted. She and her fellow Old Guard members get a jolt of energy when they discover Nile, an ace Marine who realizes she’s immortal after she’s killed in action in Afghanistan. Prince-Bythewood took inspiration for Andy and Nile’s dynamic from classic veteran-rookie cop movies, and that dynamic played out off screen, too: While Theron has been making action blockbusters for decades, Layne was new to the world of stunts and big-budget productions.

“This being a new experience for me, [I was] able to lean on Charlize, who has the experience and knows her way around these larger sets and around action sequences,” Layne says. “It kind of mirrored the relationship that we were playing and helped it to be even that much more genuine.”

Adds Theron, “Having KiKi on set just really helped me break those walls down through this character, because I think when we meet Andy she is somewhat cynical, and she's kind of given up on humanity and on herself. She's somewhat cold and distant, and this new spirit reminds her [of] many things in life, right? Sometimes, it's that breath of fresh air in front of you that makes you realize the things that you've just completely taken for granted.”

The original graphic novel barely touches on Nile’s life before discovering her immortality, so Prince-Bythewood vowed to dig a little deeper, as Nile grapples with the emotional inevitability of watching her family age and die. The 51-year-old director has built her career by exploring the inner lives of Black women, through films like Love & Basketball and Beyond the Lights, and she’s long wanted to bring that same introspection to the action genre. (She signed on to The Old Guard after Sony’s planned Silver & Black movie fell through, which would’ve centered on two characters from Marvel’s Spider-Man comics.)

“Growing up, I never got to look up on screen and see myself [as] heroic,” Prince-Bythewood says. “I rarely got to look up on screen and see myself at all. So for me, my fight in my 20-year career now and five movies, it's to put Black women up on screen in a way that we can be inspired by and aspire to be. This character, Nile, is exactly that.”

Another key relationship in The Old Guard is that of Joe and Nicky, whose ageless love affair gives new meaning to the phrase 'Til death do us part. The pair met during the Crusades, after they executed each other as enemy soldiers, and after a while, they realized that not only could neither of them die, but they had actually found a soulmate in each other. “It had almost a Greek mythology, Achilles-Patroclus type of relationship quality to it, and I fell in love with that,” Kenzari says.

“It’s a story of the power of love,” adds Marinelli.

Joe and Nicky’s relationship is plucked straight from the comic. Indeed, when Rucka signed on to adapt his own story, he made it a condition that any movie made had to include that romance.

“I wanted a happy queer couple,” he explains. “I felt the audience needed to see, here are two people who, if not for this, probably wouldn’t have found each other. They have what they have because they have this gift. They meet killing each other, and only within that discovery that they can’t do it are they able to put down all this bulls--- about religious hatred, about these cultural mandates, and look at each other and be like, ‘You know what? You are magical to me. My blessing isn’t that I get an eternal life. My blessing is I found you.’”

Also lifted directly from the graphic novel is perhaps the most moving scene in the entire film, when Joe and Nicky are — light spoilers — captured by enemy soldiers. One of their jailers mocks how much they seem to care about each other, and Joe turns to him and delivers a tender, romantic speech about his partner. “I love this man beyond measure and reason,” Joe declares, before leaning over and kissing Nicky deeply. It’s a heartfelt and distinctly queer moment, made all the more striking by the fact that it’s a genre rarity. Other comic book movies barely hint at gay relationships, if include them at all (see: the entirety of Marvel Cinematic Universe). The Old Guard makes Joe and Nicky’s relationship a cornerstone of the story, while also briefly hinting at a past relationship between Theron’s Andy and another female immortal, played by Veronica Ngo.

Prince-Bythewood says Joe’s passionate speech was one of the reasons she wanted to make The Old Guard in the first place, and when she cast Kenzari and Marinelli, she knew she had found her Joe and Nicky.

“We had Luca fly in to do a chemistry read with Marwan, and it was instantaneous,” she remembers. “They just clicked. I remember when Luca left, Marwan said, ‘That felt so easy,’ and it really was. It was an instant connection. Those two just dove into those characters [and] protected each other.”

That closeness extended off screen, too. At one point, Prince-Bythewood says she planned to shave Kenzari’s head for the role, but Marinelli begged her not to, citing Joe’s long curls in the graphic novel. “He convinced me, and he convinced Marwan,” she says. “That’s how invested they were in the relationship, so it was really beautiful to see. Their friendship that you see on screen is absolutely real.”

To prepare to play elite mercenaries, Theron, Layne, Schoenaerts, Kenzari, and Marinelli underwent months of stunt training, working with fight coordinator Daniel Hernandez (best known for his work in John Wick and the Marvel universe). Because the Old Guard has been around for centuries, the group's members have picked up different fight styles and techniques from around the globe, so the actors had to learn everything from how to hold a sniper rifle to sword fighting and boxing.

One of Prince-Bythewood’s goals was to shoot as many fights as possible with the actual actors — like one early scene, where Andy and Nile show off their skills in the belly of a cargo plane, testing their limits by going hand to hand. “I loved that they are warriors,” Prince-Bythewood says. “There's no speech or explanation of why these women are warriors and soldiers and fighters, they just are.”

“I still think there is an assumption that we can't be our own heroes and we can't kick ass and blow things up,” Layne adds. “That, for whatever reason, oh, if a woman does it, it's not as interesting or exciting, marketable, whatever the hell Hollywood has tried to tell us for all these years. And so, it's nice to be a part of something that kind of speaks to the fact that that's bulls---.”

Even for an old action pro like Theron, The Old Guard presented a few new challenges. The film frequently flashes back to earlier moments in Andy's long life, and one scene required her to battle ancient foes on horseback. Theron grew up around horses but developed a fear when she fell off one and was knocked unconscious at age 12. Since then, she's occasionally ridden for roles but never fully confronted her anxieties.

"For some reason on this film, I decided to finally address that fear," she explains. "It was the thing I definitely gave the most time to, even though there was very little of it in the movie. I'm really grateful that I got to have that experience because it was a good one for me to get over. I love horses. I want my children to be around horses. But I always had this fear when I was on them that something could go terribly wrong at any instant. So it was like a metaphor for my life in a weird way, this movie. It was therapeutic for me."

After all, even experts can learn new things, whether they’re Oscar winners or 6,000-year-old warriors.

https://ew.com/movies/charlize-theron-the-old-guard-digital-cover/
 

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With the amount they get paid (at least some of them), I wouldn't feel too sorry! Also, looking forward to checking this out this coming weekend.
I just read an article that Theron really injured herself doing the fight scenes. She had to have surgery on her left thumb and elbow after filing was complete. That’s definitely more extreme than shooting a period piece where the only hardship is getting cinched up into a corset and riding a horse side saddle.
 
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