Dynamic duo

Viola Davis and Lupita Nyong’o teaming up to tell forgotten story of all-women army from African kingdom

Lupita Nyong’o and Viola Davis. (Getty Images)

The Woman King, a new movie starring Oscar-winners Viola Davis and Lupita Nyong’o, is set to bring to life one of history’s most remarkable stories: How one all-women military unit helped save a West African kingdom from enslavement by fighting off the colonial French. The writer of the film, Maria Bello, based the story on true events that occured within The Kingdom of Dahomey, one of West Africa’s most powerful states during the 18th and 19th centuries. The film will star Davis as General Nanisca and Nyong’o as her daughter Nawi, as the two women lead a military force known as the Amazons against the French and neighboring tribes in a desperate bid for survival.

The Woman King is the powerful true story of an extraordinary mother-daughter relationship,” said Hannah Minghella, the president of TriStar Pictures, which bought the worldwide rights to the film. “And there’s no one more extraordinary than Viola Davis and Lupita Nyong’o to bring them to life.”

Black Panther just showed us how the power of imagination and lore could reveal a world without gender and racial stereotypes,” added Cathy Schulman, one of the producers of the film. “The Woman King will tell one of history’s greatest forgotten stories from the real world in which we live, where an army of African warrior women staved off slavery, colonialism and inter-tribal warfare to unify a nation.”

Both Davis and Nyong’o have been leading activist voices in recent months, with Nyong’o opening up about her experiences with Harvey Weinstein and Davis unleashing a powerhouse speech at the 2018 Women’s March in L.A. Last month, Davis appeared onstage at the Women in the World Los Angeles Salon. In a powerful conversation with Tina Brown, Davis talked about her experience as a black woman in Hollywood and how she’s been called ‘a black Meryl Streep,” but still isn’t paid a Streep-type salary. Watch highlights from that interview below.

Read the full story at Deadline.


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