OSCAR and Emmy winner Viola Davis has been transformed into a real-life African Agojie general for the historical epic The Woman King.
The film is directed by Gina Prince-Blythewood (Love & Basketball, The Old Guard) and written by Dana Stevens. The trailer dropped earlier this week, and fans have already dubbed the film a feminine adaptation of Braveheart, the Scottish independence epic.
Davis portrays General Nanisca, who led the all-female warriors in the 18th and 19th-century defence of the West African country of Dahomey, in present-day Benin. Also starring are Lashana Lynch, John Boyega and Thuso Mbedu.
The film is set just as white Europeans begin to invade Africa. In the trailer, Nanisca warns that the colonisers won’t stop “until they own all of Africa”, prompting King Ghezo (Boyega) to question the value of initiating a war.
“I offer you a choice: fight or we die,” Davis as Nanisca states. “We fight for our ancestors, we fight for the future.”
Previously, the all-female Agojie warriors, also known as the Amazons, were described as “beasts” and “manly.” Davis and filmmaker Prince-Blythewood aimed to bring the story’s reality to the big screen, rather than racial clichés.
Prince-Blythewood told Vanity Fair: “I wanted it to be real and visceral and raw. 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.”
The Woman King premieres Sept 16. Watch the trailer below: