Kiki Layne on The Old Guard: ‘The weapons training was dope. The gym, not so much’

A few days ago I wrote about my new Netflix obsession, The Old Guard. I have already put the graphic novels in my Amazon cart. I was equally obsessed with Kiki Layne who played Nile, a badass Marine who ultimately becomes the new immortal and part of the team of mercenaries led by Charlize Theron.

Of course, in Oya style, I cyber stalked/researched Kiki to see if I can find some other movies she has starred in. She made her major debut in If Beale Street Could Talk. Don’t judge me, but I haven’t seen the movie yet even though it has been on my list for over a year. Now, I have even more reason to watch it besides Regina King.

Kiki was interviewed in the Guardian where she talked about why she chose the role of Nile, what she found exciting about training and what motivates her choices of roles and projects.

The Old Guard is a very different film from If Beale Street Could Talk. Was that part of the appeal?
Oh, absolutely. I’ve always wanted to do a big, kick-ass action film, and I was excited for the opportunity to do something obviously so different from Beale Street. A sense of: “Whoa, I didn’t know Tish could do all that!” And I definitely never trained like this before. We seriously would spend hours a day training, learning all types of new stuff. Getting my ass whupped! But I’m like: “I’ll come back for more!”

Did you enjoy the training or was it a slog?
OK, so the weapons training and stunts and choreography, that all was dope. The gym training, not so much. I’m like: “Uhhhh, my goodness…”

On social media, you’ve used the hashtag strongblacklead to describe your character, Nile. She’s been developed from the original comics, built up for the film version – was that important for you?
Definitely. For me, when trying to pick projects, my biggest goal is to be a part of stories and roles where historically Hollywood has left actresses that look like me out of the conversation, whether it’s just black actresses, period, or dark-skinned black actresses. Finding roles that satisfy the little black girl in me, things that I just didn’t see myself being represented as, growing up. So my aim is just to break that wide open.

The Old Guard has a female director, two female stars and a lot of female department heads, behind the scenes. Do you think this has an impact on the finished product?
If you’re good at your job, you’re good at your job regardless of being male, female, whatever. Either you’re a good director or you’re not, and there are plenty of bad male directors. But it was really beautiful that on both sides of the film, we’re showing we can do things. It’s marketable when we do it. It’s successful when we do it. So what is your excuse for not giving us the job?

You’ve talked about holding the door open for others to follow you. How can you do that?
I definitely want to get into producing. I want to be on the side of the table where I can give people jobs. Because the thing with being an actor [laughs] is there’s really not that much power. You’re just waiting around, staring at your phone, like, “Er, will somebody think I’m good at my job today?” And I can’t live the rest of my life like that.

[From The Guardian]

I can definitely tell that Kiki worked hard getting in shape for Nile. It’s hilarious that she hated the gym, but loved the weapons and martial arts training. And she’s not alone. It would take an army of hunks just to get me into the parking lot. I am very excited that she wants to produce in the future. Having more women, especially women of color, in the room where the decisions are made gives me hope that Hollywood will change enough to reflect the actual world we live in.

I am impatiently waiting for the Netflix announcement that there will be a sequel to the Old Guard. In the meantime, I’ll go watch Beale Street and wait for the release of the Coming to America sequel.

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15 Responses to “Kiki Layne on The Old Guard: ‘The weapons training was dope. The gym, not so much’”

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  1. Sarah says:

    She really impressed me in The Old Guard, I’ll be looking out to watch her in other thing plus she is BEAUTIFUL. More roles for Kiki please.

  2. BlueSky says:

    I watched this movie on Sunday and I’m still thinking about it! I will probably watch it again. Kiki was great and I loved that it was 2 female leads. I wish I could find a man to speak so romantically to me as Joe did to Nicky!!!

    • Happinessishome says:

      I came here to say the same thing, I really like the love between Nicky and Joe. Charlize was amazing and Kiki made me believe anything is possible. Kiki was beautiful in her portrayal of Nile and her kickbuttt moves. I love this movie I was rooting and invested in every character in this movie, I am definitely going to watch it again and hoping for the sequel.

    • Mia4s says:

      Some articles seem to be saying the key cast members were signed for sequels. A planned trilogy basically. Fingers crossed! Very interested to see where they take it; as long as we are all in agreement that If anything happens to Joe and Nicky (or worse, just ONE of them) we riot!

    • lucy2 says:

      I loved the Joe and Ncky stuff too!

      Kiki was so great in the film, and I hope she gets a lot more opportunities to do good, creative work. I love that so many young actresses want to produce and create roles for themselves and others.

  3. Mia4s says:

    “ I am impatiently waiting for the Netflix announcement that there will be a sequel to the Old Guard.”

    You and me both! I was really charmed by this movie, but even I acknowledge some of the exposition was clunky. But now that the intros are out of the way and given the end credit scene (!!!??); what a great sequel set up.

  4. Michael says:

    I watched the movie twice and really enjoyed it. I understand why Kiki is a fan favorite for the Storm role in the new Black Panther movie. She has the beauty, the chops, the height and she was really good at her fight scenes in the movie

  5. Slh says:

    Wow. She needs to play Storm.

  6. Cg2495 says:

    I love this movie..watched it 2X ….she was impressive

  7. Carobell says:

    She was mesmerizing!. It was a great performance that really humanized a not so human concept. Loved the movie, hoping for a sequel!

  8. Elizabeth says:

    I watched The Old Guard yesterday and really enjoyed it. Will be re-watching. I hope she gets more and more roles. She was fantastic!

  9. Lola_Lola says:

    I am obsessed with this movie. I was excited about it and it did not disappoint. I am so happy for Gina and her directing such a bad ass action movie with really good coordinated fight sequences. John Wick is by far the pinnacle, but this definitely lived up to a high standard. Kiki was great. Charlize was good as always. Ive watched Atomic Blonde more times than I can count. I know Booker was shady…but he is sexy as hell.

  10. Dee Kay says:

    I loved Kiki Layne in Beale Street and the cast of the film was great, and it was beautiful, but I thought it presented a very old-school depiction of gender roles, with the women doing *a lot* of work on the men’s behalf (“muling,” as Kim Love calls it). Baldwin wrote that novel in 1974 so it’s no wonder it feels outdated in terms of gender. (That’s just me, though — a lot of people I talk to just love the love story in it).

    I also loved Layne in The Old Guard and Theron is one of my forever faves, and then I became a fan of the actors playing the other immortals too. I liked that all of the actors who played immortals used small gestures and word choices and movements that made me think they were out-of-place, from a whole other era. Like how they all can use guns but also still have their ancient weapons on them. I will look forward to the second film!!

  11. Jess says:

    Love this movie – am obsessed with it. And she was amazing. I’ve also had Beale Street on my list forever and now I really have to move it to the top of my must watch! Kiki is incredible!

  12. Veronica says:

    My mother thinks they’ll pivot to a series rather than a sequel, which would actually be pretty cool. It’s the kind of sci-fi/fantasy concept piece that work really well if you created a strong story arc to carry it across a few seasons. She liked it, though. Nice mix of cast choices.