Charlize Theron pushed through the pain to continue filming The Old Guard after tearing a tendon in her thumb three weeks before the end of the shoot.
In the upcoming comic book adaptation, the Oscar winner plays ancient warrior Andy, or Andromache the Scythian, the leader of a team of elite immortal mercenaries who are targeted by mysterious enemies eager to unlock the secrets of their immortality.
Theron underwent months of training with fight coordinator Daniel Hernandez to prepare for the action drama, in which her character wields a heavy two-handed battle-axe, and the project became even more challenging when she tore a tendon in her left thumb in the final weeks of filming.
“I definitely cried quite a bit,” she admitted to Entertainment Weekly. “Everybody kept saying, ‘This is probably serious,’ and I was like, ‘We can’t talk about that right now. We just have to keep going because what are we going to do? We have three more weeks to shoot. We’ve got to get through it.”
The 44-year-old, who needed three surgeries on her left arm after she finished filming, is no stranger to stunts thanks to her work on films such as Atomic Blonde and Mad Max: Fury Road. But she considers The Old Guard to be one of her most difficult projects yet.
“I’ve never had to do anything like that,” Theron said of wielding the weapon. “You have to learn to fight with that ginormous thing in a way where you don’t kill the person that you’re fighting with.”
Director Gina Prince-Bythewood made matters worse because she wanted Andy’s stunts to look “effortless… like it’s almost a bore” because she has been fighting for centuries, and Theron found that hard to pull off.
“A lot of my feedback from my trainers was always like, ‘You’re making it look too hard,'” she commented. “I was like, ‘Because this is really f**king hard!'”
The Old Guard is set to debut on Netflix on 10 July.
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