Viola Davis leads an army of fierce women in the first action-packed trailer for The Woman King. The historical epic is based on true events and follows the Agojie warriors — a female army who protected the African Kingdom of Dahomey in the 18th and 19th centuries and inspired the elite Dora Milaje warriors in Marvel’s Black Panther.
The upcoming film tracks a brutal war between the Agojie and European colonizers. In the movie's first trailer, an ominous voice warns, “An evil is coming that threatens our kingdom, our freedom. But we have a weapon they are not prepared for,” as Beyoncé’s battle anthem, “My Power” thumps in the background. The aforementioned weapon is Davis’s character, Nanisca, and her league of highly skilled fighters who are prepared to defend their land by any means necessary. When a man questions Nanisca’s willingness to go to war, she responds, “Some things are worth fighting for.” Then she delivers a stark piece of advice to the Agojie: “I offer you a choice,” she says, “Fight or we die.”
Davis told Vanity Fair, “I’ve never had a role like this before,” in an interview about the movie. “It’s transformative,” she continued. “And to be a producer on it, and to know that I had a hand in bringing it to fruition...There’s always a vision you have for your career, but there are very few roles as an actress of color. Dark skin with a wide nose and big lips. I’m just gonna continue to say it. Those stories are extraordinarily limited.”
The Woman King was directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood. Prince-Bythewood co-wrote the screenplay as well with Dana Stevens for TriStar Pictures and Entertainment One Film. Davis co-produced the film with Catchy Schulman, Julie Tennon, and Maria Bello. Actors John Boyega, Jayme Lawson, Alaskans Lynch, Sheila Atim, Thuso Mbedu, Adrienne Warren, Masali Baduza, Kimmy Odukoya, Makgosto M, and Jordan Bolger, round out the star-studded ensemble.
Davis is widely known for her pivotal roles in How To Get Away With Murder, The First Lady, and The Help which earned her an Oscar in 2012. This is the 56-year-old actress’ first time starring in a historic action film.
The Woman King premiers on September 16th via Sony Pictures. Check out the trailer below.