Oscar-winner Viola Davis is leading the cast of The Woman King, an upcoming historical epic that explores an often overlooked – but incredibly impressive – true story of the Agojie, an all-female tribe of warriors.
With a powerhouse cast of A-listers and rising stars, and a gifted director behind the camera, it’s shaping up to be one of the must-see releases in the second half of this year. Here’s everything we know so far about it.
What is The Woman King about?
The Woman King tells the remarkable true story of a fierce, all-female unit known as the Agojie, who protected the west African kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s. Set in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the film will chart how this military force protected the interests of this powerful African state, fighting the French and neighbouring tribes who enslaved their people and violated their honour.
Is there a trailer for The Woman King?
There is and you can feast your eyes on it below.
Who is in the cast of The Woman King?
Viola Davis leads the pack, quite literally, as General Nanisca, who must train the next generation of female warriors and prepare them for battle against a formidable foe. The Suicide Squad star underwent a gruelling physical training regime to prep for the role. ‘We started intensely a few months before shooting – four hours a day, five days a week,’ she told Vanity Fair. ‘Weight training, sprinting, martial arts, and weaponry training for the machete.’ Yikes.
Alongside her, John Boyega will play King Ghezo, the real-life ruler of Dahomey between 1818 and 1859. South African actress Thuso Mbedu, the breakout in Barry Jenkins’ The Underground Railroad, is ambitious new recruit Nawi, while No Time To Die’s Lashana Lynch brings her presence and charisma as another, so-far unnamed Agojie warrior.
Also on the cast list are Sheila Atim (Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness), Masali Baduza and Jayme Lawson, who recently starred as Bella Réal, the mayoral candidate in The Batman.
Ralph Fiennes’ nephew, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, will also appear in The Woman King. He previously portrayed the 11-year-old Voldemort in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Tiffin is playing another villain – this time a colonial overlord called Santo Ferreira.
Who is the director for The Woman King?
The Woman King is written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, who past credits include 2000’s masterful indie Love & Basketball and Netflix action flick The Old Guard. Dana Stevens, who co-wrote Sam Raimi baseball weeper For Love of the Game, has a co-writer credit on this one too.
When will The Woman King be released?
It’ll be out in the US on September 16, and in UK and Irish cinemas on October 4.
Where was The Woman King filmed?
The shoot kicked off in November 2021 in South Africa. ‘We’ve got beautiful locations in South Africa [and] we’ve got the resources in terms of storytelling,’ cast member Thuso Mbedu told the Mail & Guardian. ‘To shoot a Hollywood story locally was an amazing experience for me.’
When filming wrapped in March 2022, co-star Masali Baduza shared an on-set image of the cast on Instagram. ‘I’m gonna miss these wonderful souls I’ve had the pleasure of crossing paths with – a dream come true. It’s been an honour to tell the story of the Agojie,’ read the caption.