'The Woman King' Starring Viola Davis Taps Thuso Mbedu Of Barry Jenkins 'The Underground Railroad'
Photo Credit: Noa Grayevsky via Amazon / Tolga Akmen

'The Woman King' Starring Viola Davis Taps Thuso Mbedu Of Barry Jenkins 'The Underground Railroad'

Just as she becomes a stateside breakout star with her starring role in Barry Jenkins‘ upcoming Amazon series, The Underground RailroadThuso Mbedu has booked another starring role. She has been cast opposite Viola Davis in TriStar’s The Woman King, directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood. Lupita Nyong’o was initially primed for the role a few years back. Dana Stevens wrote the script.

As we reported back in 2018, the film is inspired by true events in the Kingdom of Dahomey, a powerful state in the 18th century. It will tell the story of Nanisca (Davis), general of the all-female military unit known as the Amazons, and her daughter Nawi (Mbedu0, who together fought the French and neighboring tribes who violated their honor, enslaved their people, and threatened to destroy everything they’ve lived for.

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

“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.

Prior to her big role for Jenkins at Amazon, Mbedu, a mainstay on South African television, has starred in several projects, including Liberty, a Danish series starring Connie Nielsen. She was nominated in 2018 and 2019 for an International Emmy Award for her role as Winnie in the South African drama series Is’thunzi. She was also a Best Young Actress nominee at the 2019 IARA (International Achievement Recognition Awards).

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