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Gina Prince-Bythewood talks "pressure" of being the first Black female director to helm a major comic book film

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With her upcoming Netflix feature The Old Guard, Gina Prince-Bythewood is making her mark in Hollywood as the first Black female director to helm a major comic book film. 

Even with that accomplishment under her belt, Bythewood tells ABC Audio that there’s still something not quite satisfying in becoming the “first.”

“I hate that in 2020 we’re still having firsts,” she says. “And that in Hollywood I know that I’ve been wanting to be in this space for a very long time. I know that there are others that have wanted to be in this space.”

Thanking Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins for “[opening] the door” for other female directors, Bythewood says there’s still more work to be done when it comes to leveling the playing field. And in doing that work, Bythewood says, there’s going to be a “ton of pressure.”

“Because you can’t mess it up,” she explains. “You can’t. Because that hurts others coming after you. I’ve been absolutely intentional and once I get to that door — just put my body in front of it so others can come through.”

“It’s so important for the few of us that have gotten this opportunity to work,” Bythewood continues. “So, it’s not quite something to celebrate. I’m glad I broke the ceiling. And my hope absolutely is more will get the opportunity.”

And just in case anyone asks how Bythewood landed her coveted gig as director, the filmmaker says her talent has always shined through.

“The beautiful thing is that it was my work with Love and Basketball and Beyond the Lights and what I did with those characters,” she says. “They wanted that aesthetic into The Old Guard. So it felt like a perfect storm.”

The Old Guard launches on Netflix July 10.

By Candice Williams
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