Historical epic The Woman King set to film in South Africa

John Boyega and Viola Davis will star in the drama set during the 18th and 19th centuries in the Kingdom of Dahomey

By Melissa Kasule 23 Sep 2021

Historical epic The Woman King set to film in South Africa
Viola Davis. Credit: John Russo

TriStar Pictures' historical drama The Woman King, starring Viola Davis and John Boyega, will double South Africa for the Kingdom of Dahomey, a powerful African state in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Old Guard) directs the feature and teams up with Dana Stevens to write the screenplay. The Underground Railroad’s Thuso Mbedu joins Boyega and Davis in the cast. Welle Entertainment’s Cathy Schulman, JuVee Productions’ Davis and Julius Tennon with Jack Blue’s Maria Bello will produce the film.

Inspired by true events, the story follows Nanisca (Davis), a general of an all-female military unit, and Nawi (Mbedu), an ambitious recruit played by Mbedu. The duo together will fight enemies who violated their honor, enslaved their people and threatened to destroy everything they’ve lived for. Boyega will star as Dahomey’s ruler, King Ghezo.

South Africa has hosted a raft of major projects recently, including Netflix series Venus Fly Trap, Mad Max: Fury Road, Warrior, Tomb Raider, BBC series The Watch, Monster Hunter and HBO's Raised By Wolves, produced by Ridley Scott.

The country offers a base 25% filming incentive for international film and TV productions, with a cap of $3.7m, rising to 30% for productions that also undertake post-production work. Producers must spend at least $882,000 locally and shoot for a minimum of 21 days. They must also schedule half - if not more - of principal photography in South Africa, and utilise at least 20% of their local goods and services from 51% black-owned companies.

The Woman King has been in development since 2018 with filming locations and times to be revealed soon. 


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