Actor Charlize Theron scoffs at the idea that women can’t (or don’t want to) direct action films. She should know. It was a woman who directed her to annihilate innumerable villains in the upcoming Netflix film, The Old Guard.
Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, the film is based on a comic book, about a group of immortal mercenaries, written by Greg Rucka and illustrated by Leandro Fernandez. Positioned as a franchise-starter, the film will be released on the streaming service on July 10.
“I think that it is a huge misconception,” Theron told Hindustan Times, reacting to the theory that was floated (by men) about women not being interesting in making action films. “A good storyteller is a good storyteller, and once we start trying to confine that to a certain sex it become incredibly sexist, problematic, and it’s not true. Gina had never done an action film. She obviously had a passion to want to explore this genre. And it just goes to show; if you have a real passion and an urge to want to work in this genre, women are just as capable.”
She said that the industry has come a long way since the days when Oscar-winner Kathryn Bigelow “was one of the few women, if not the only woman at the time, directing this genre.” Theron cited the example of Patty Jenkins, who directed the actor to an Academy Award in 2003’s Monster, and is now hot property in Hollywood after the massive success of her Wonder Woman. “We’re seeing a lot more of that exploration now,” Theron said, “but not nearly enough of it when we look at our male counterparts and the responsibilities and opportunities that are handed to them.”
Charlize Theron and KiKi Layne with director Gina Prince-Bythewood.
The Old Guard is neither Theron’s first action film with a female director — she starred in the ill-fated Aeon Flux, directed by Karyn Kusama, in 2005 — nor is it her first rodeo as a film producer. Theron is the founder of Denver and Delilah Productions, which began operations in 2003, and has produced a varied slate that includes The Old Guard and the Netlix thriller series, Mindhunter.
If there’s one thing that she’d tell the younger, more ‘self-involved’ Charlize Theron about making movies, it would be: “be nicer to producers.” She said that lot of actors don’t understand the work that goes into putting a movie together. “I know,” she added. “I was one of those actors.”
Actors who’re producers are “kinder to schedules and time,” she said, adding, “I tell every actor that I work with: produce. It’s a great way of understanding the full concept of making a film.”