The release of Black Panther and the cultural shockwave it created has also spawned new interest in African kingdoms of the past that inspired Wakanda. One of the new films to capitalize on this is Viola Davis’ longtime pet project, The Woman King, which is shaping up to be the next film that sends her into the Oscars race.
Looking at the trailer for The Woman King it’s easy to see why. The film centers on the Dahomey Amazons, real-life inspirations for the Dora Milaje, and the West African kingdom of Dahomey which existed from the 17th century to the 20th. Davis plays Nanisca, general of the all-female military unit, with Thuso Mbedu as new recruit Nawi. Together, they engage in battle against the enslaving French colonialists.
Also in the cast are Lashana Lynch, John Boyega, Jayme Lawson, Sheila Atim, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, and Adrienne Warren, so a real star-studded group.
Behind the camera is Gina Prince-Bythewood in her first film since The Old Guard. She also co-wrote the script with Dana Stevens. But the story itself belongs to actress and producer Maria Bello, who pitched the idea to Davis way back in 2015. Lupita Nyong’o was attached for a time, as well.
The Woman King opens on September 16th.