Viola Davis Stars As An African General In The Film 'The Woman King'

And the trailer already has audiences quaking with the emotions, fierceness and celebration shown in the trailer.

Cover Image Source: YouTube/Sony Pictures Entertainment

How to Get Away With Murder made us love Viola Davis but her next project may have us bow down in respect. As she stars and produces the film The Woman King, she sat down with Vanity Fair to talk about the movie whose trailer came out on July 6, 2022. 

When asked about telling the story of the Agojie, Gina Prince-Bythewood, the director of the film talks about their bravery and the fact that there is no embellishment to their violence. “My approach was that you don’t need to add anything to the story. These women were fascinating and didn’t need to be embellished or glossy”, she said. “I wanted it to be real and visceral and raw.”


The film is set to release on September 16, 2022, and it has been in development for a long time. In 2015, when Viola Davis received an award from producer and actor Maria Bello,  pitched this film then and there. Bello described the warriors led by their general, an African warrior named Nanisca in an epic historical drama. She added, “Wouldn’t you want to see Viola Davis in a role like that?” This became the catalyst for which the result is this film. 


Viola Davis can be seen as a mentor, a toughened general and a strategic advisor guiding the King Ghezo of Dahomey, played by John Boyega to war. “They will not stop until the whole of Africa is theirs. We must fight back, for our people,” she tells King Ghezo. Davis decided to bring her all to this role, “We started intensely a few months before shooting—four hours a day, five days a week. Weight training, sprinting, martial arts, and weaponry training for the machete. I like to say that I was the OG warrior.” 


Apart from the setting and the cinematography, the writing is hard-hitting and inspiring. In a sequence, Nanisca tells one of the recruits, “To be a warrior, you must kill your tears.” Director Prince-Bythewood wanted to show that these warriors could be vulnerable and tough at the same time. She says, “We didn’t want to show them as just one thing—badass women who killed. They also laughed and loved and cried. We wanted to show their full humanity, not just the cool part that that would look good in a trailer.”


If your memory serves, it was mentioned that the Dora Milaje in Black Panther were based on a real group of female warriors. Well, this is that group, the Agojie or the Amazons. And just in case you thought that the Black Panther nostalgia ended here, the trailer would have people quaking as Beyoncé’s My Power from the Black Is King album plays in the background


When the interviewer brings the conversation to a close, she asks if average American movie-goers will be able to digest the images in the film. To which Prince-Bythewood had a cutting response, “If you can digest Avatar, then you can digest this.”