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Lupita Nyong’o and Viola Davis to Star in Movie About the Real Female Warriors of ‘Black Panther’

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Viola Davis and Lupita
Nyong’o are bringing the story of the Dahomey warriors to theaters. (Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic/Leon Bennett/Getty Images for Essence)

The real-life story of a West African group of all-female warriors is getting the big screen treatment with Viola Davis and Lupita Nyong’o set to star.

Known as the Dahomey Amazons, the expertly trained female fighters of the Fon people of the Dahomey Kingdom were known for decapitating their opponents during battles. Additionally, they defeated the French alongside male warriors during the First Franco-Dahomean War in 1890.

Davis, who will produce “The Woman King” with husband Julius Tennon through their JuVee Productions, will star as Nanisca, the general of the military also known as Mino, Deadline reported Thursday, March 1. The film will follow Nanisca and her daughter Nawi, played by Nyong’o, who have battled the French along with nearby tribes “who violated their honor, enslaved their people and threatened to destroy everything they’ve lived for.”

“I’m looking forward to working with this exquisite gem,” Davis said on Instagram of the news.

Hannah Minghella, president of TriStar Pictures —  which acquired global distribution rights for the film — said in a statement that it’s a “powerful true story of an extraordinary mother-daughter relationship. And there’s no-one more extraordinary than Viola Davis and Lupita Nyong’o to bring them to life.”

Remarked Cathy Schulman, who will co-produce through Welle Entertainment, “‘Black Panther‘ just showed us how the power of imagination and lore could reveal a world without gender and racial stereotypes. ‘The Woman King’ will tell one of history’s greatest forgotten stories from the real world in which we live, where an army of African warrior women staved off slavery, colonialism and inter-tribal warfare to unify a nation.”

Online, users burst with excitement over the news.

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