Viola Davis and Lupita Nyong’o are gearing up for battle.
TriStar Pictures announced Thursday that it has acquired worldwide rights to The Woman King, a film that will star the Oscar-winning actresses as warriors of the all-female West African military unit known as the Dahomey Amazons.
Based on an original story by Maria Bello, the film is inspired by true events that took place in the 18th and 19th centuries in the Kingdom of Dahomey, in the present-day country of Benin. The story centers on Nanisca (Davis), general of the Amazons, and her daughter Nawi (Nyong’o); together they fight the French and neighboring tribes who would violate their honor, enslave their people, and threaten to destroy everything they live for.
The Woman King is being produced by Cathy Schulman’s Welle Entertainment, Davis and Julius Tennon’s JuVee Productions, and Bello’s Jack Blue Productions.
Tennon said in a statement that The Woman King “has the potential to be a game-changer for women of color everywhere,” while Schulman compared the project to Black Panther, Disney’s recent Afrofuturistic superhero blockbuster. “Black Panther just showed us how the power of imagination and lore could reveal a world without gender and racial stereotypes,” she said. “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.”
No director or release date has been announced for the film.