Has Viola Davis’ next Oscar performance arrived? This September, the actress stars as an African warrior in Sony Pictures’ historical epic The Woman King, which just released its first trailer.
The Woman King in question is Davis’ General Nanisca, who leads the real-life all-woman military unit known as the Agojie — or, more colloquially, the Dahomey Amazons. Set in the 1800s in the West African Kingdom of Dahomey (now Benin), the general and her troops fight off European invaders who threaten the kingdom’s sovereignty. As Nanisca tells her fellow women in the trailer, “I offer you a choice: Fight, or we die.”
Alongside Davis, Thuso Mbedu stars as Nawi, an ambitious recruit, while John Boyega portrays Dahomey’s ruler, King Ghezo. Other cast members include Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim, and Hero Fiennes Tiffin.
Director Gina Prince-Bythewood co-wrote the film with Dana Stevens from a story by Maria Bello, while Bello, Davis, Cathy Schulman, and Julius Tennon serve as producers. Peter McAleese is credited as executive producer. Ahead of its September 16th release date, watch the trailer for The Woman King below.
Davis is no stranger to historical roles: Earlier this year, she portrayed First Lady Michelle Obama in Showtime’s anthology series The First Lady, and in 2020, she played blues icon Ma Rainey in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.