The Charlize Theron-led feature The Old Guard that debuted on Netflix recently is garnering great acclaim for its fresh take on superhero fare. The director of the movie, Gina Prince-Bythewood, recently revealed how choosing the right music for the project helped her stand out from the competition in front of the producers when she was trying to land the project.
"I wanted to have that one extra thing that no one else is going to have. That gives me my swagger going in. For me, I knew what I wanted to do with the music."
Gina Prince-Bythewood goes on to describe how she had a music producer friend help create a soundtrack that mixed old-world instruments like the lyre and hip hop from Big Sean and Kanye West to give the project's producers an idea of where she wanted to take the movie tonally.
"That was it. I could see them looking at each other. That was the extra thing to set you apart that no one else is going to bring."
The Old Guard is an adaptation of a Greg Rucka graphic novel, with the acclaimed comics artist also having written the screenplay for the film. The plot focusses on Andy, played by Theron, who leads a group of immortal assassins who carry out executions the world over in an effort to keep the scales of power from tipping too much in any one direction.
The team is compromised when a corporation learns of their existence and sets out to capture the members to learn the secrets to immortality. The Old Guard topped the most-watched list of features on Netflix upon debut, and has critics praising the gritty action and well-developed characters. Prince-Bythewood knew early on that the project was the right fit for her sensibilities and what she wanted to offer to the superhero genre.
"I was one of those couple of women people go to for these big films. I knew what kind of movies Skydance make. It was exhilarating and nerve-racking. I knew I loved this project, partly because I could do everything I wanted to do from the other film: an edgy superhero film with two women."
While the music helps impart that edgy feeling to the story, what really makes the action feel in-your-face is the close-up shots of all the fighting sequences, which were achieved with the help of handheld cameras.
"I wanted grounded realism. That meant going handheld. Handheld gives it a more personal intimate feel, not only in the quiet character moments but in the action. You make the audience feel they're right in there, and you have more freedom to move in the action scenes as well. We shot most of the action handheld, at eye level, to have things coming at you. I wanted it to feel real and in your face."
The Old Guard was meant to be the first part of a trilogy of films. Hopefully, the positive reception to the first movie in the series will prompt Netflix to greenlight the sequels sooner rather than later. This news originated at IndieWire.