‘The Old Guard’ Star Charlize Theron Says ‘Women Are Just As Capable’ at Directing Action Movies as Men

The Old Guard, Netflix’s newest action flick, made history, with the first-ever Black woman to direct a movie of its kind. Gina Prince-Bythewood took on The Old Guard (armed with a $70 million budget), and the movie ended up being Netflix’s No. 1 movie for its opening weekend. As The Old Guard star Charlize Theron believes, female directors should get more chances to direct action movies.

What did ‘The Old Guard’ cast member Charlize Theron think of Prince-Bythewood’s directing?

Charlize Theron in The Old Guard
Charlize Theron as Andy in The Old Guard | AMY SPINKS/NETFLIX

Actress Charlize Theron starred in The Old Guard, and also produced the Netflix movie. In a recent interview with the Hindustan Times, she commented on the Hollywood myth of female directors not being as interested in taking on action movies.

“I think that it is a huge misconception,” Theron said. “A good storyteller is a good storyteller, and once we start trying to confine that to a certain sex, it becomes incredibly sexist, problematic, and it’s not true.”

Not to mention, if Hollywood never takes a chance on a female director, we’ll never get to see movies with women directors at the helm.

“Gina had never done an action film,” Theron continued. When the opportunity is not there, it has to be more about the want and the will to do the genre.

“She obviously had a passion to want to explore this genre,” the actress explained. “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.”

However, Theron acknowledged that “the industry has come a long way.” The Old Guard star remembers when Kathryn Bigelow “was one of the few women, if not the only woman at the time, directing this genre.” And Patty Jenkins directing Wonder Woman set a new tone for big-budget action films.

“We’re seeing a lot more of that exploration now,” Theron continued, “but not nearly enough of it when we look at our male counterparts and the responsibilities and opportunities that are handed to them.”

‘The Old Guard’ director on making the Netflix movie with a diverse cast in mind

The Old Guard on Netflix
KiKi Layne, Luca Marinelli, Charlize Theron, Marwan Kenzari in The Old Guard | AMY SPINKS/NETFLIX

RELATED: How ‘The Old Guard’ Avoided the ‘Sexy Catfight’ Movie Trope

In a recent Wired interview, The Old Guard director Gina Prince-Bythewood commented on how she approaches diversity in film.

“Little boys get to see 100 different versions of themselves as the hero. Women have so few, and black women even fewer,” she told the publication. “… I want more women in films at the center, not as a love interest or sidekick or an afterthought.”

She took that concept and put it to work in The Old Guard. Rather than female action-movie characters being portrayed as objects of the male gaze, Prince-Bythewood said she “wanted to focus on their athleticism and skill, never on their sexuality.”

“Never let it be a sexy catfight,” she told Wired. Directing and writing for action stars who are women might be different, but no less incredible.

“I also wanted to stay true to the fact that they were women, and not just create the same kind of choreography I would for a man,” The Old Guard filmmaker explained. “… Women have a different type of strength. It’s about how she’s throwing punches, and at what part of the body.”