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Interview: Gina Prince-Bythewood and KiKi Layne Talk ‘The Old Guard’, Epic Fight Scenes, Immortality & More

If you want a dose of badass women-led action, that has important quiet moments, and stellar fight choreography, The Old Guard is most definitely the film for you! Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and starring KiKi Layne, The Old Guard is based on the graphic novel of the same name, written by Greg Rucka (who also wrote the screenplay) and illustrated by Leandro Fernandez.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Prince-Bythewood and Layne about the film where they shared what it was that drew them to the project, what it was like filming such epic fight scenes and what they might do if they had some of the immortality that is portrayed throughout the film (and the graphic novel).

Check out the full interview below:

The Old Guard Synopsis:

The Old Guard follows the lives of a group of immortals who fight for what they believe is right. The mercenaries–who are centuries of years old–have their secret discovered while on a new mission. On the run from those who wish to exploit their secret for monetary gain, the quartet feels the “awakening” of another immortal. They have to find her quickly before the people who are after them become privy to the information that another immortal exists. 

The Old Guard
( Photo Credit: AIMEE SPINKS/NETFLIX ©2020)

Directed by Prince-Bythewood, The Old Guard stars Layne alongside Charlize Theron, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Marwan Kenzari, Luca Marinelli, Matthias Schoenaerts and Veronica Ngô.

The Old Guard is now available on Netflix! You can check out our review of the film here.

About KiKi & Gina:

KiKi Layne (Nile in The Old Guard)

The Old Guard
KiKi Layne in If Beale Street Could Talk (Courtesy of Annapurna)

Breakout star KiKi Layne made her debut on the big screen as the female lead in Barry Jenkins’ film If Beale Street Could Talk for Annapurna and Plan B Entertainment. The film premiered to rave reviews at both the Toronto International Film Festival and the New York Film Festival and went on to win Best Feature at the Independent Spirit Awards in 2019. The film was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture, and a Critics’ Choice Award for Best Picture.

Layne was seen in HBO’s Native Son, starring opposite Ashton Sanders, Margaret Qualley and Nick Robinson. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2019 as the Opening Night Feature. Layne and Sanders co-starred again in 2019 for Rupert Wyatt’s Captive State. Layne can also be seen starring opposite Julianne Moore in Luca Guadagnino’s short film The Staggering Girl that premiered in Cannes in May 2019. Following completion of her work on The Old Guard, Layne went straight on to shoot Coming to America 2 beside Eddie Murphy and James Earl Jones. The film is slated for a 2020 release.

Layne’s stage credits include the US premiere of Octagon (2016) at the Jackalope Theatre in Chicago which garnered her a Black Theater Alliance Award (BTAA) nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Play. Other stage credits include Genesis (2014), Good People (2015), and Definition Theatre and The New Colony’s co-production of Byhalia, Mississippi (2016) which earned her another BTAA nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Play and Most
Promising Actress. She graduated with a BFA in acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University in 2014.

Gina Prince-Bythewood (Director of The Old Guard)

Love & Basketball – Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood on set with Sanaa Lathan (Courtesy of 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks)

Award-winning director/writer/producer Gina Prince-Bythewood is one of the most versatile storytellers working in film and television. Known for her authentic character-driven work, Prince-Bythewood has directed and written such influential feature films as Love & Basketball, The Secret Life of Bees, and Beyond the Lights.

Other recent credits for Prince-Bythewood include the special event series, Shots Fired, which she and her husband Reggie Rock Bythewood served as series creators and executive producers. The 10-hour series for Fox, examined the dangerous aftermath of two racially charged shootings in a small Southern town. In addition, Prince-Bythewood directed the pilot for Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger, which launched to strong reviews and viewers, starring breakout
actors Olivia Holt and Aubrey Joseph as two teenagers with newly acquired superpowers who are mysteriously linked to one another.

An advocate for equal representation in film, Prince-Bythewood funds a scholarship for African American students in the film program at UCLA, her alma mater.

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