Women take up the fight in Viola Davis’s new historical epic.

On Wednesday, Sony Pictures released the first trailer for “The Woman King”, about a unit of all-female warriors who defended the West African kingdom of Dahomey for centuries.

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Photo: Sony Pictures
Photo: Sony Pictures

Davis plays Nanisca, general of the military unit known as the Agojie, often referred to as the Dahomey Amazons.

The film, based on real events, follows Nanisca and new recruit Nawi (Thuso Mbedu) as they mount a battle against the European colonizers of Dahomey, in what is present-day Benin.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Davis talked about the physical transformation she underwent in order to play Nanisca.

“We started intensely a few months before shooting—four hours a day, five days a week. Weight training, sprinting, martial arts, and weaponry training for the machete. I like to say that I was the OG warrior,” she said.

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Photo: Sony Pictures
Photo: Sony Pictures

Davis added, “I’ve never had a role like this before. 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 colour. Dark skin with a wide nose and big lips. I’m just gonna continue to say it. Those stories are extraordinarily limited.”

Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, the film also stars John Boyega, Lashana Lynch, Adrienne Warren, and more.

“The Woman King” opens in theatres September 16.