Known for films such as Love & Basketball and Beyond the Lights, Gina Prince-Bythewood isn’t a director who immediately came to mind for big studio action flicks. That all changed this past week with The Old Guard, which is shaping up to be the blockbuster film Netflix had been hoping for. But to hear it from Prince-Bythewood, it was the work she did on shelved Spider-Man spinoff Silver & Black that proved she could thrive doing more than dramas.
Silver & Black was to be a film featuring Marvel’s resident cat burglar Black Cat and mercenary-for-hire Silver Sable. It was among the first spinoff titles announced as part of Sony’s renewed superhero efforts, but could never get off the ground. Prince-Bythewood was to direct, and spent a year and a half rewriting the script to get the movie’s tone, because she planned on going in a different route than other Marvel films at the time…
“I wanted to go edgier than some of the Marvel films,” she said to Indiewire. “It was a question of how far could I push it in that Marvel universe.”
And maybe she pushed it a little too far? The film seems to be on the way to becoming a TV series, with Prince-Bythewood in a producer role. So while that one didn’t quite work out as she planned, she does think it the reason for landing her The Old Guard…
“‘Silver & Black’ put me in the conversation. I was one of those couple of women people go to for these big films. I knew what kind of movies Skydance make. It was exhilarating and nerve-racking. I knew I loved this project, partly because I could do everything I wanted to do from the other film: an edgy superhero film with two women.”
She added, “Everything happens for a reason. I learned so much in that year and half. All the stuff I was learning about doing a film of that scale I could transfer over to ‘The Old Guard.’ So it didn’t feel like a gigantic leap.”
So who needs Spider-Man, anyway? Prince-Bythewood may have a franchise all to herself with The Old Guard, and now studios know they can trust her to do a lot more.