Old Guard, The: Interview with Oscar-Winning Star Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron, who has become the iconic actress of her generation, capably heads a team of immortal mercenaries in Gina Prince-Bythewood’s action thriller based on the graphic novel series, and released by Netflix.

The Old Guard represents a step in the right direction for the gifted Prince-Bythewood after making some more intimate features, such ae Love & Basketball and Beyond the Lights.

The Netflix’s feature is at once an accomplished superhero actioner and a femme-themed feature that pays more greater attention to characterization, realistic context, and emotional involvement  than is the norm for such movies.

As directed by an intelligent woman of color, The Old Guard represents a welcome balanced blend of character-driven drama and visceral action, and as such, it should appeal to mainstream viewers of different ages, races, and genders.

AIMEE SPINKS/NETFLIX
Charlize Theron and KiKi Layne in ‘The Old Guard’

State of Mind

Charlize Theron: I think how often do we all kind of sit down and really kind of contemplate our righteousness or your path in general? I guess I think you just go through periods where you are more driven by your specific things that sort of drive you or veer you into certain directions in your life. But I think it’s always for me anyway, it’s always motivated by the people that I love. And I think also by my love of travel and seeing the world and growing up in a different country and a country with a lot of turmoil that has always played a huge part in where I kind of push myself in the directions that I push myself and the things I want to do, explore. I think it’s a constant evolving journey right? I think I like the fact that I don’t know exactly what that looks like or where it’s going to end up. I think it’s nice that that is kind of reflected in the film too, a character like Andy has really been struggling and it’s been six thousand years and she’s seen a lot. And has been through every single human emotion so many times that I think there’s a real exhaustion there and also maybe a little bit of the fact that she’s given up a bit, not just in the world but maybe herself as well. And I mean I think there’s definitely a reflection of myself in Andy’s journey on that level, not on the six thousand part, (laughs) but just on the constant questioning and reevaluating.

Collective Purpose

CT: I want to hope that we are not just doing it for self-purpose, I want to believe that we do good because that is just the right thing to do and that everybody should have the same as you or better. I think having that be the driving factor is maybe what I pay more attention to than just like the kind of, I feel like there is definitely a part in your journey and what you achieve with it that is self-reflective, right? I do think that when you do good, it feels good to do good. I know that people always want to talk about what you give back to humanity, what you do and all of that stuff, but it is such a gift to get to work with the people that you get to work with when you work in philanthropy, when you go on a journey like that, it is priceless.

Talking to her Children about Race

CT: It’s a complicated issue. First and foremost, just because my children are so young, I think as a parent you are always hoping that you can kind of protect your kids from anything that’s as heartbreaking as this, and what’s happened in the last couple of months. But you realize that it is a necessity. My children need to know. And so it’s difficult, it’s not one conversation, it’s a lot of conversations and the conversation is going to continue for us. It’s definitely a moment as a parent that is a little heartbreaking in the sense that I feel like I took a moment of innocence away from my very, very small children in explaining to them what happened to George Floyd and Brianna Taylor and all the countless black bodies that have just unnecessarily died. And then you look at their history, it’s a complicated thing to try to explain to a four year old and an eight year old what their ancestors have endured. But it is their narrative and it is their story.

Silence Vs. Activism

CT: I do believe being silent right now is really dangerous and I want my children to have an awareness. And so they have really changed in the last couple of months, they have become very proactive, they have signs in the cars that they have made. Every time we go to the grocery store they put their signs out the window.  There is a sense of them feeling like they are a part of something bigger and important. The question is at what capacity they can understand at this age right now.

 

Coping with Pandemic

CT: We’re doing good.  I feel like, you have to put it into perspective, we are so incredibly lucky that, I haven’t had anybody personally affected by the epidemic, and so you are grateful for your health and I am lucky that my family is healthy. I am lucky that I have my two little nuggets with me every single day and God knows I have been wanting a break from them as well. But it’s really nice that I get to spend all this quality time with my kids, which is something that I always am yearning for when I am working. I think that if I was alone it would be more devastating for me, but the fact that I get to be home, be with my kids, outside of my mom quarantining for the first part at her home, we started quarantining together. It’s just been nice to be around immediate family.

Terrible Math Teacher

CT: The first thing I am going to be really excited to do when everything is safe is to send my kids to school, I don’t want to homeschool anymore. I am going to be very excited when it is safe to send my children back to school, I have such a new appreciation for teachers out there. I mean I always did, but this is on a whole new level. And it just turns out that I am a terrible math teacher apparently. So I can’t wait to not have that responsibility anymore. I thought I was doing really well until my eight year old turned said “you’re a terrible math teacher.”

 

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