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Viola Davis says new film ‘The Woman King’ is her “magnum opus”

Sony Pictures

Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis says her new movie, The Woman King, brings Black women to the forefront and is one of the most important works of her career.

The film has a 100% critics rating on the aggregator Rotten Tomatoes ahead of its wide release Friday.

“First of all, it is a movie that’s led by women, and it’s a movie that’s led by Black women and it’s a movie that’s led by dark-skinned Black women,” Davis said on Good Morning America Tuesday. “There is no white savior and it’s women who are warriors, tapping into not only their physical strength, but also…they’re humanized — and so, when have you seen that ever?”

Davis plays the character of Nanisca in the dramatic epic about the Agojie, an all-women warrior army in the historical African kingdom of Dahomey.

“They were women who were recruited from the age of 8 and 14 in Dahomey, West Africa, which is now Benin, and they were women who were not considered beautiful so they weren’t marriage material. They were unruly. No one can control them. And so they were sort of sold into the kingdom as Agojie,” Davis explained. “They could not have children. They could not get married and they could not have sex. They have to train all day into the night…”

“But what’s interesting is as restrictive as that is, they took great pride in what they did. Because…[i]t made them matter because it gave them a purpose,” Davis continued.

Davis said, “…this is my magnum opus, this is my gift to the 6-year-old Viola — who was always called ‘Black and ugly’ — that 6-year-old girl that was always running from the bullies.”

“This has me sort of reaching back to her and saying, ‘Look, you matter and you surviving and you being tough, you keep being tough,'” Davis said.

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