Thuso Mbedu to Star Opposite Viola Davis in The Woman King — Gina Prince-Bythewood is Directing

Thuso Mbedu will star opposite Viola Davis in The Woman King for TriStar Pictures. Gina Prince Bythewood, who most recently directed Netflix’s The Old Guard will direct this project. Dana Stevens penned the script.

The film is a historical epic inspired by actual events that took place in The Kingdom of Dahomey. It is one of the most powerful states of Africa in the 18th and 19th centuries. The story follows Nanisca (Davis), the general of the all-female military unit, and her daughter Nawi . They fought the French and neighboring tribes who violated their honor, enslaved their people, and threatened to destroy everything they’ve lived for.

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Mbedu is cast as Nawi, taking over for the role Lupita Nyongo was once cast in.

“Thuso is a generational talent. Her craft, her work ethic, her depth, her passion inspired us all and I cannot wait to play. She is a warrior,” said Prince-Bythewood.

Davis and Julius Tennon will produce The Woman King via their JuVee Productions

“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,” said Davis and Tennon.

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When speaking on casting Mbedu, Davis and Tennon said:

“The depth and complexity of emotional life, her authentic beauty, and regalness is potent. We were mesmerized by Thuso Mbedu. We wanted Woman King / Nawi to be the vehicle to introduce her on the big screen” said

Cathy Schulman will also produce via her Welle Entertainment, along with Maria Bello of Jack Blue Productions. Nicole Brown and Shary Shirazi are overseeing the project for TriStar Pictures.

Ahead of this project, Mbedu will star in the highly-anticipated series The Underground Railroad for Amazon and from Barry Jenkins’ The Underground Railroad. The project will premiere on May 14.

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