The Old Guard has become a success story for Netflix, lead actor Charlize Theron, and director Gina Prince-Bythewood. The movie adds some welcome diversity to the action film genre both in front of and behind the camera. In an interview with Hollywood Reporter, Prince-Bythewood revealed how the movie scored a first in a significant way, by having a postproduction team that consisted of 85 percent women.
"[This] doesn't happen, or very rarely happens on any movie, but on an action film, I guarantee you that's never happened before."
Aside from Prince-Bythewood, some of the other notable female talent behind the scenes was Terilyn A. Shropshire, who has been collaborating with Prince-Bythewood for two decades, VFX supervisor Sara Bennett, who won an Oscar for Ex Machina, cinematographer Tami Reiker, SFX supervisor Hayley Williams (Annihilation) and costume designer Mary Vogt (Crazy Rich Asians).
For Prince-Bythewood, the fact that the women she chose to hire for this Netflix project did not have as much experience in the genre as many men in the industry was a result of them not getting the same opportunity as their male counterparts, an issue that the filmmaker sought to correct by bringing them onboard The Old Guard.
"When you look at the résumés 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."
While Prince-Bythewood is enjoying her status as the first Black woman to direct a Hollywood comic-book-themed movie, and for the movie to experience such popularity, she is also thankful to the female talent that came before her that helped put her in this position, specifically the work of Patty Jenkins.
"I absolutely give out props to Patty Jenkins: Her work on Wonder Woman and just killing it absolutely opened the door a crack, and through that crack Skydance, who has this property of The Old Guard, were very intent on wanting a female director for it."
The Old Guard tells the tale of a group of immortal assassins who grapple with the ethical dilemmas of living very long, very violent lives. Their troubles are compounded by a corporation that discovers their secret existence and attempts to capture them to learn the secrets to their immortality.
Even after the release of The Old Guard, there is plenty of fresh material to mine from in the graphic novel series by Greg Rucka of the same name that the movie was adapted from. With the star power of Charlize Theron in the lead role of Andy, chief of the assassins, the success of The Old Guard has virtually guaranteed a string of sequels and spin-offs. The Hollywood Reporter was the first to announce this news.