Gina Prince-Bythewood sets Netflix record with ‘The Old Guard,’ to direct ‘The Woman King’

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From left, KiKi Layne, director Gina Prince-Bythewood and Charlize Theron appear behind the scenes of the film “The Old Guard.” [Netflix photo]

Director Gina Prince-Bythewood new Netflix film “The Old Guard” is breaking records on the streaming giant, leading to a high-profile new gig for the helmer.

Netflix announced this week on Twitter that “The Old Guard,” which stars Oscar winner Charlize Theron, KiKi Layne, Matthias Schoenaerts and Chiwetel Ejiofor, is already among the top 10 most popular Netflix films ever – making Prince-Bythewood the first Black female director on the list.

“The Old Guard,” adapted from the comic book series by author Greg Rucka and illustrator Leandro Fernández, centers on a covert team of immortal mercenaries who are suddenly exposed and must fight to keep their identity a secret just as an unexpected new member is discovered. The film is currently on track to reach 72 million households in its first four weeks, according to Netflix.

Prince-Bythewood – who has also written and directed the renowned films “Love & Basketball,” “The Secret Life of Bees” and “Beyond the Lights” – has now been tapped to helm “The Woman King,” starring Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis, according to Variety.

The TriStar Pictures project is inspired by true events that took place in one of the most powerful states of Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries, the Kingdom of Dahomey. The story follows Nanisca (Davis), general of an all-female military unit, and her daughter Nawi, who worked together to fight the French as well as neighboring tribes who violated their honor, enslaved their people and threatened to destroy them.

“The Woman King” is being produced by Cathy Schulman’s Welle Entertainment, Davis and Julius Tennon of JuVee Productions, and Maria Bello of Jack Blue Productions.

“We at JuVee are beyond excited to introduce this incredible story of the Women Warriors of The Dahomey Ahosi tribe to the world. It’s time that they truly occupy their place in history and in Gina Prince-Bythewood’s hands, it will be a gamechanger. This project could not be a more perfect example of our legacy,” said Davis and Tennon in a statement, per Variety.

As Deadline reports, a sequel to “The Old Guard” may also be coming.

Theron, who also produced “The Old Guard,” recently chatted about the possibility of a follow-up on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” that would explore the connection between her character, Andy, and Van Veronica Ngo’s Quynh.

“There’s obviously a relationship there that we didn’t really explore in this film … so I’m excited if we get the chance to make another one, to explore that, because then we’re just adding another female into the mix, which I think will make it really interesting,” Theron said on the late-night show.


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