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Charlize Theron Gets to Be Her True Self, an Immortal Badass, in Netflix's The Old Guard Adaptation

The functionally immortal heroes of The Old Guard.
The functionally immortal heroes of The Old Guard.
Image: Aimee Spinks/Netflix (Vanity Fair)

The Old Guard follows a group of extremely long-lived warriors who all have the ability to be reincarnated. They find themselves in the modern-day world still fighting the good fight and doing everything in their power to rid the world of evil. Their cause is a noble one, but after thousands of years living, dying, and being reborn to do it all over again, they’ve grown to become understandably weary.

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Based on Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernández’s Image comic, The Old Guard is being brought to life on Netflix by Gina Prince-Bythewood and Rucka (who wrote the screenplay). The titular Old Guard is led by Andromache of Scythia (Charlize Theron), who’s hardest hit (emotionally speaking) by the war she and her fellow immortals have spent countless lives fighting. Just as Andy begins to sink into the depths of an existential malaise and starts to question the point of it all, she comes to learn of a newly “activated” immortal, something that surprises her and her team because it’s the first time in millennia since another joined their ranks.

In a new interview with Vanity Fair, Theron went into detail about where Andy’s at mentally and how discovering Nile Freeman (Kiki Layne, If Beale Street Could Talk) changes both of the warriors’ lives.

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“The worst part for her is just feeling like she’s not doing anything. So what is the point, you know? She’s lost faith, not just in herself but in humanity. I think a lot of people can relate to that at this moment in time,” Theron said adding, “From the first moment I read Rucka’s graphic novel, I felt like there was great potential to make this thing feel really very relevant and have it ask some real questions about humanity. Is what we’re doing enough? Is what we’re doing actually changing anything? Are we making [things] better, or are we making the world worse?”

When Nile, once a Marine, first reincarnates after being killed during a mission, her confusion at what’s happened to her is only eclipsed by the reality that she has to grieve everything she’s lost in secret , because if anyone were to ever figure out what she and the other immortals could do, they’d—of course—be hunted down and thrown into a lab to be studied. Initially, Nile and Andy’s relationship is a rocky one, but director Prince-Bythewood explained that, in time, the two women come to see one another as sisters who just might be exactly who they need to help work through their respective traumas.

“I love the thought of taking that veteran/rookie conceit and putting it in this,” said Prince-Bythewood. “The moment that Andy wants it all over and done with is when a new immortal shows up. Their relationship is the emotional core throughout the film.”

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Of course, this being an action movie, it’s only a matter of time before the immortals are discovered by a historian working for the CIA (Doctor Strange’s Chiwetel Ejiofor) and a pharmatech bro (Harry Melling of Harry Potter fame) who see the group as a moneymaking opportunity. The pair of villains think they might have a shot at taking the team down and locking them away, but the immortals haven’t made it this far without learning how to wreck anybody foolish enough to get in their way.

Just how close to the original comic The Old Guard’s going to skew is one of the more interesting questions yet to be seen about the movie. But from the sounds of things, when it hits Netflix on July 10, we’re definitely going to find out and have one hell of a ride doing so.

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io9 Culture Critic and Staff Writer. Cyclops was right.

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DISCUSSION

lightninglouie
lightninglouie carries the "Demon Seed"

OT, but I always figured if immortals walked among us, they’d probably be pretty average-looking people, maybe not in the best of shape. Imagine being alive for 2500 years and then Funyuns come along.