One of Netflix's first releases of the new year is Close, an action movie about a bodyguard, Sam (Noomi Rapace), who is assigned to protect a teenage heiress name Zoe (Sophie Nélisse). Of course, being an action movie, things take a turn when kidnappers come after them, the heiress shoots a cop, and they have to go on the run together. The story is pretty out there at times, but Sam from Close is actually based on a real person: a bodyguard named Jacquie Davis, who has spent some time in the spotlight herself.
Davis has been involved in personal security for over 30 years and owns her own company employing other bodyguards. While she's protected celebrities, according to a recent interview she did with the BBC, she's specialized in the area of surveillance and rescue, which can be very dangerous. In fact, the beginning of Close mirrors a situation Davis experienced in the Middle East.
"We were being chased by the Pakistan army and wandered into Kashmir. The Kashmiri rebels were firing at the Pakistan army and we got caught in the crossfire," she told the BBC's Business Daily of was a mission she was on to save a 23-year-old British hostage. She also recounted that she once disguised herself as a beggar in Iraq as part of a plan to rescue oil workers.
Davis was a consultant for Close and in particular helped with the action scenes, according to Variety. Director Vicky Jewson told the publication, "Working closely with Jacquie allowed us to bring an authenticity to the action scenes, which was very important to me."
While Davis' life as a female bodyguard inspired the movie — according to the BBC, only one in 10 bodyguards is a woman — the character isn't meant to really be her, the plot is fictional, and there are some dramatic plot points added that don't seem to be from Davis' own life. Most notably, in the movie, Sam had a daughter at 16 who she gave up for adoption, but who she is considering reconnecting with. Davis said in her BBC interview that she didn't have any kids. "When I came into the industry it was a very he-man attitude," she said. "They just always wanted me to look after the female principal or the children which was ironic — as most of them were fathers and I wasn't even a mother!"
But, as far as how the jobs are done, those aspects are more true to life. For instance, in a 2016 interview with Bustle, Davis said that bodyguards have to get as much information on their client, or "principal", as possible. "You have to know their blood group, their allergies, their medications," she said. "We have to find out are they on a hit list, is it a political hit list, are they being blackmailed, are they being stalked?" In the movie, Zoe's medical information and life history is shown when Sam first looks through her file.
Also in the movie, Sam has a line about not being Zoe's "friend", which is accurate. Davis told the BBC, "You just have to maintain that slight apartness so you can be there when they need it and pull back when they don't."
And, most importantly, Davis can kick ass just like Sam. "Our upper-body strength is not that of the guys, there's no denying that," she told Bustle. "But with training, we can put a six-foot, 350-pound bloke on the floor, easy as anything."
Close premieres on Netflix on Friday, Jan. 18, but if you're looking to see the real Davis in action, she was featured in the 2016 documentary Bodyguards: Secret Lives From The Watchtower, which is available on both Netflix and Amazon.