Charlize Theron photographs herself for EW's The Old Guard digital cover
As the star of Netflix's upcoming action-drama The Old Guard (out July 10), Charlize Theron had to rely on her set of very particular skills, including hand-to-hand combat, horseback riding, and... photography?
As part of EW's digital cover story on the film, we asked Theron to photograph herself in her backyard in Los Angeles earlier this summer. Here, you can see all of Theron's self-portraits, as well as a few exclusive stills from The Old Guard.
Theron stars in Gina Prince-Bythewood's The Old Guard as Andy, a.k.a. Andromache of Scythia, a 6,000-year-old warrior leading a team of immortal mercenaries. “When it was first pitched to me, it felt a little bit like fantasy, but when I read it, it felt modern and of this time,” Theron tells EW. “That intrigued me: How can you tell this story that deals with the supernatural, but isn’t really about the supernatural? It’s just about people.”
Theron's self-executed photo shoot didn't just include still photography: She also had to take some moving portraits, which required a little trial and error.
"It was fine, until you guys said you wanted a moving image!" she says with a laugh. "[It's] really hard to selfie yourself on video while you're trying to look cool in a movement. So that was the game-changer, right there. It was not easy."
In addition to Theron's Andy, the Old Guard's members include Napoleonic soldier Booker (Matthias Schoenaerts) and former Crusaders Joe (Marwan Kenzari) and Nicky (Luca Marinelli). New to the team is a 21st-century U.S. Marine named Nile (KiKi Layne), who discovers her own immortality after she's killed in action in Afghanistan.
Theron's Andy is the leader of the team, and she's grown weary spending the last few millennia saving the world again and again.
“I knew she was the crankiest old lady in the history of the universe,” says writer Greg Rucka, who created the original Old Guard graphic novel with Leandro Fernandez and wrote the film's screenplay. “Like, the whole damn world needed to get off her lawn.”
Immortality may sound nice in theory, but after the first few centuries, it can start to feel more like a curse than a blessing — as it does with Schoenaerts' Booker.
"He's definitely dealing with demons," the actor teases.
The five Old Guard members underwent weeks of training to play elite mercenaries. The team has fought and died together countless times throughout the centuries, so they know exactly how to be as deadly as possible — and piggyback off each other's fight styles, when necessary. "It's amazing how we each kind of finish each other's moves, or set each other up for specific movements," Theron adds.
Layne may be best known for her role in If Beale Street Could Talk, but she threw herself into stunt training to play Nile.
“This being a new experience for me, [I was] able to lean on Charlize, who has the experience and knows her way around these larger sets and around action sequences,” Layne says. “It kind of mirrored the relationship that we were playing and helped it to be even that much more genuine.”
Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Copley, a mortal ex-CIA agent who tracks down the team and sets them onto their most dangerous mission yet. "The story has that balance of things that are fantastical and extreme, and then things that are grounded and relevant and real," Ejiofor says. "And I think Copley really sits there."
Also central to the story is the romance between Kenzari's Joe and Marinelli's Nicky, who've been together for the last 1,000 years. “It had almost a Greek mythology, Achilles-Patroclus type of relationship quality to it, and I fell in love with that,” Kenzari says.
The Old Guard have managed to keep a low-profile throughout the centuries, but they've recently attracted the attention of a pharmaceutical magnate named Merrick (played by Harry Melling, best known as Harry Potter's Dudley Dursley).