Viola Davis is one of our best actors working today, routinely crushing in works like Widows and How to Get Away with Murder. Gina Prince-Bythewood is one of our best directors working today, having just crushed the Netflix Charlize Theron actioner The Old Guard. The idea of the two of them making a film together excites me; that film telling an incredible, amazing true story excites me doubly. Well, that idea is now a reality, and my excitement is now, heck, quadrupled! Per Variety, Prince-Bythewood will direct Davis in the leading role of the upcoming The Woman King.
The Kingdom of Dahomey was a powerful region of Africa in the 18th and 19th century. Nanisca (Davis) is a military general of an all-female unit. And when the colonizers of France invade with a goal of taking over the region, Nanisca, her daughter Nawi, and the rest of her tribe must fight back against the forces of oppression, imperialism, and what’s morally right in order to protect their invaluable way of life. The film is being produced through TriStar Pictures by Davis, Cathy Schulman’s Welle Entertainment (Otherhood), Julius Tennon (Emanuel), and Maria Bello (Giant Little Ones).
Davis and Tennon, who run production company JuVee Productions together, said this:
We at JuVee are beyond excited to introduce this incredible story of the Women Warriors of The Dahomey Ahosi tribe to the world. It’s time that they truly occupy their place in history and in Gina Prince-Bythewood’s hands, it will be a gamechanger. This project could not be a more perfect example of our legacy.
I simply could not agree more, and there are now no more quantifiers of excitement in the English language I can even use to describe it.
For more on Prince-Bythewood’s world, here’s our interview with her.