We have now entered the remarkable era of the ‘The Woman King,’ and we can’t get enough. In the September issue of ‘Essence‘ magazine, the brilliant women of the film graced the digital cover in all-black ensembles. The still shot portrays Viola Davis, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim, Adrienne Warren, and Thuso Mbedu.

Viola Davis Discusses ‘The Woman King’

As the film’s Sept. 16 debut approaches, more details have been coming to the forefront of the work that went into creating the body of work. While talking to ‘Essence,’ Viola Davis opened up about the doubts, struggles and trials and tribulations that went into making the film.

“The important part of this story is –I’m saying this now because it’s been almost eight years — I would say at the time it didn’t hit me. Not the story. The story hit me. The possibility of the story seeing light did not hit me,” said Davis. “I think that’s important to say, because we are sort of thrust into this business. We’re sort of thrust in the world too, but that’s a whole different conversation. But we’re thrust in the business automatically assuming that something is not going to happen if it’s never been done before. There’s not going to be any support, no one’s going to want to do it, no studio’s going to give it the green light vote, and who would want to see me like that? And so I personally dropped it in my mind until Kathy Schulman came with the script by Dana Stevens and I was like, ‘Oh, okay.’”


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In an earlier conversation with ‘The Hollywood Reporter,’ both Gina Prince-Bythewood, who directed the project and Davis shared the collective apprehension that they experienced knowing that ‘The Woman King’ was not a script that fit the stereotypical mold of a Hollywood production. Prince-Bythewood also discussed the fact that she had to take a chance on some of the cast members, even though they did not have a long resume, not for lack of talent, but lack of opportunity. This was a sentiment that Thuso Mbedu echoed when she shared that both Davis and Prince-Bythewood believed in her.

“My biggest takeaway is that I really am stronger than I think or believe or allow myself to be. And that there is a greatness that you saw that I have not been allowed to see in myself that I need to take in. I thank you for seeing me. Because even now I don’t think I see myself,” said Mbedu.


The powerful movie seems to have created bonds both on and off screen. In her conversation with ‘Essence‘ Adrienne Warren who plays Ode said that she felt a lot of camaraderie with her fellow cast members.

“Our togetherness is resistance. We are so much stronger together. I didn’t know I had sisters in places. That’s how it felt being on this set. My sisters have multiplied. And the beauty in that, and the beauty in what we have learned from each other because of our individual lived experiences, and the beauty that we present when we come together, we present what the world has never seen before,” said Warren.


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