How Charlize Theron and KiKi Layne Spar in ‘The Old Guard’


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Charlize Theron and KiKi Layne know how to throw a punch.

In this sequence from “The Old Guard,” they throw several of them, and launch a few kicks as well. Theron plays Andy and Layne plays Nile in this action movie about a group of immortal warriors out to save the world (again and again). Here, Nile is just coming to learn that she is immortal, and is not taking the news happily. She gets in a fight with Andy that is shot in the confined quarters of a small plane.

The two actors trained extensively to do many of the stunts themselves. And the director said the key was in the details.

“For women, the tell of whether they are athletic or not is a punch,” the director Gina Prince-Bythewood said when discussing the scene’s fight choreography. “If you can throw a punch, we’re going to believe that you’re a fighter.”

The scene involves close-up shots on an intimate plane set that was built for the sequence. That space meant that the actors were confined in their action as well. “They had to be millimeters from each other in throwing these punches,” Prince-Bythewood said. “And of course people got hit every once in a while, but they would go into a quick hug. It really did bond them, which then permeated the rest of the shoot.”

Read the Critic’s Pick “Old Guard” review.

Read a Q&A with Gina Prince-Bythewood on making a summer blockbuster.

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