The Old Guardâs Kiki Layne: âGod really out here making dreams come trueâ
US actress Kiki Layne, known for her breakthrough performance in the critically-acclaimed 2018 film If Beale Street Could Talk, takes on another challenging role in Netflix’s streaming hit The Old Guard.
Photos from Layne's Instagram
The Old Guard’s Kiki Layne: ‘God really out here making dreams come true’
Nathalie Tomada (The Philippine Star) - August 5, 2020 - 12:00am

Just before the action-packed The Old Guard premiered on Netflix, its young star Kiki Layne took a moment to take everything in, including the fact of having worked with two power women in the film — Oscar-winning Charlize Theron as lead star and Gina Prince-Bythewood as director.

“Wow. God really out here making dreams come true, y’all,” the 28-year-old Layne reflected on Instagram.

Layne and lead star Charlize Theron have a 'teacher-student' relationship on and off screen.

It’s not hard to imagine more dreams coming true for the Hollywood newcomer with The Old Guard breaking records. According to Netflix, the Charlize Theron blockbuster is already “among the Top 10 most popular Netflix films ever and Gina Prince-Bythewood is the first Black female director on the list.” It’s also on track to hit 72 million households in its first four weeks since the July 10 global premiere.

off screen. The co-stars figure in an epic plane fight scene in the movie.

In the film adaptation of the graphic novel series with the same title by Greg Rucka (who also wrote the screenplay) and illustrated by Leandro Fernández, Theron is Andy a.k.a. Andromache the Scythian, the millennia-old leader of a tight-knit team of immortal warriors, covertly protecting mortals since time immemorial. In the present-day, their ranks are joined by the US soldier Nile (Layne), the reluctant and youngest recruit who eventually steps up and saves the group from those who want to monetize their power and skills.

While the film has been praised for its explosive action, personally, it has struck a chord with themes like growing old, finding one’s purpose and more importantly, women empowering women. This is one of the topics we also explored when we got to interview Layne recently for the film. (Earlier, we had written about Theron top-billing yet another female-centric actioner and what she felt was the main message of The Old Guard. “Young girls, don’t be afraid of aging,” she said.)

In between takes, they share a light moment with director Gina Prince- Bythewood.

Paired in a virtual roundtable with Theron, Layne shared that Andy and Nile’s teacher-student relationship in the story also translated on set.

“What was really wonderful is that there was a lot in the relationship between Andy and Nile that mirrored the relationship between myself and Charlize, you know,” Layne said in response to a question from The STAR.

“I’m coming into this very different genre and experience, and thankfully, my introduction to it (is) I got to work alongside Charlize who has been so instrumental in really opening up doors for women in this genre and showing just how much we can lead and kick ass in this genre as well.

“It was such a wealth of knowledge, even down to the simple stuff like how do I take care of this bruise on my arm.

“So I’m very grateful, you know, for all of that because it just made the relationship we had to build together for these characters (Andy and Nile) much richer, because there was something real that we could draw from.”

She also dished out some inside info on what really went down during the epic airplane fight sequence. The scene that saw them sparring via hand-to-hand combat set the tone of Andy and Nile’s relationship in the story.

When asked how they pulled off the jaw-dropping choreography, Layne said: “My stunt double Bethany, she was wonderful. I mean, the whole stunt team is about taking care of us and making sure that we are all able to tell the stories to the best of our ability.

“For all the cast, a lot of training went into it. Myself and Charlize, we started training months in advance of working on our individual preparation for the fight for a while and then, you know, they brought us together to really start getting comfortable with doing that choreography and kind of dancing together in telling this story together. Because the choreography, as you said, is a very essential part of the development of the relationship between Andy and Nile.”

It also happened to be the first-ever scene she filmed with Theron. “I’m grateful though, because actually, it was the first thing we shot for the film so it kind of just threw us both in there and threw us into digging deeper into that relationship. And, you know, laying the foundation for where these two women would grow together as the film progressed.”

Reacting to Layne’s answer, Theron said, “Kiki’s being modest. We used her stunt double twice — only twice for two very very short moments. The rest of that fight is all Kiki.”

“Thank you,” a visibly humbled Layne responded to Theron during the interview.

Lastly, just like Theron, Layne shared what she hoped young female viewers could learn from the film.

“I hope that they see themselves as being the hero, being the leader, taking a big role and not being afraid to be at the forefront. I think that’s one of the dopest things about Andy’s character,” she said.

“And even when you see her leading this group of men in combat when we first meet her in Afghanistan… and leading this small group of mercenaries, I think it’s something really wonderful for young women to see these strong female leaders who have the trust of the people they’re leading. But there’s also a lot of trust that you have to have for yourself in order to be in that position so I hope more young women are able to absorb some of that.”

Meanwhile, no sequel has been confirmed (yet!). But, if and when there’s a Part 2, you can expect Layne’s character Nile to further evolve, become more skilled and assume a more important role in the team. It’s clear that The Old Guard has set the stage for the passing of the baton to the “new guard”.

Nevertheless, when asked about the possibility of a sequel, director Gina Prince-Bythewood told “Well, it’s interesting. Greg Rucka, his graphic novel, it’s a trilogy. The second one came out a couple of weeks ago, so I know where the story is going, which is pretty great. It’s up to the audience if they’re interested, if they want to see more. There’s certainly more story to tell.”

(The Old Guard is streaming on Netflix.)

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