Viola Davis is starring in the upcoming warrior film The Woman King — and this role is unlike any she’s played in the past.
In the Gina Prince Bythewood-directed film, the actress plays Nanisca, the general of the real all-female military unit known as the Agojie in the West African Kingdom of Dahomey in the 1800s.
The story is inspired by true events as it "follows the emotionally epic journey of General Nanisca as she trains the next generation of recruits and readies them for battle against an enemy determined to destroy their way of life."
Alongside Davis, The Woman King stars Thuso Mbedu, Adrienne Warren, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim, Hero Fiennes Tiffin and John Boyega.
Davis underwent immense trailer to prepare for this role.
While speaking with Vanity Fair, Viola Davis revealed that she underwent serious training to play the role of Nanisca.
“We started intensely a few months before shooting — four hours a day, five days a week,” she said. “Weight training, sprinting, martial arts and weaponry training for the machete.”
Despite the intense physical training she had to endure, Davis considers this role to be the most "transformative."
“I’ve never had a role like this before,” the actress told Vanity Fair. “It’s transformative. And to be a producer on it, and to know that I had a hand in bringing it to fruition…. There’s always a vision you have for your career, but there are very few roles as an actress of color. Dark skin with a wide nose and big lips. I’m just gonna continue to say it. Those stories are extraordinarily limited.”