- “The Woman King” stars Viola Davis and Julius Tennon have responded to the boycott of the film.
- The film is based on an actual West African kingdom that was a major player in the European slave trade.
- Fans have complained that the film downplays the role of the state in slavery.
“The Woman King” star Viola Davis has defended the film some fans Organized boycotts over historical errors.
The new film, which premiered last week, is based on Agozi, a female army from the West African kingdom of Dahomey in the 18th and 19th centuries.
According to Smithsonian magazine, the state obtained its wealth through slavery by trading other Africans to Europe and was a major player in the slave trade in the 18th century.
Since the film’s release, some on social media have complained that the film downplays the role of the state in the slave trade.
In a new interview with Variety, Davis and costar and husband Julius Tenon reiterate that the film is fiction, not a documentary.
“First of all, I agree with Gina Prince-Bythewood [the director] Saying you’re not going to win an argument on Twitter,” Davis told Variety. “We entered the story where the state was in flux, at a crossroads. They were looking for a way to keep their civilization and state alive. It was not until the late 1800s that they were dismantled. Most of the story is fictional. It’s done.”
Tenon said: “Now we are what we call ‘edu-tenement.’ If we could, it would be a documentary. Unfortunately, people wouldn’t do that in theatres. We saw it this weekend.”
The 68-year-old actor continued: “We didn’t want to shy away from the truth. History is huge and there is truth to that. If people want to know more, they can investigate further.”
Davis also said that the film still has the potential to empower women as it primarily focuses on female warriors.
“People are being moved really emotionally,” Davis said. “I saw a TikTok video of women in the bathroom of an AMC theater today, and I don’t think they knew each other. They were all chanting and rummaging. Can’t describe it with words “
Many fans, after watching the movie, The film has also been defendedNot saying that other stories about slavery like “Hamilton” with historical inaccuracies have not been criticized as widely.
Director Prince-Bythewood told Vox that the film contains factual elements. John Boyega’s character, King Ghezo, was emperor at a time when the kingdom ended its slave trade, and the Dahomey Empire considered moving into palm oil production to continue its wealth.
Speaking about how the film deals with the role of the state in slavery, Prince-Bythewood said: “And being able to deal with it, yes, they did, but there was a fight and a young king, Ghezo, Was in the middle of it, trying to decide which way to go and ultimately deciding to go against it, knowing it might affect his regime, which you know, for me Personally, I find heroism in that he potentially gave up his power to do the right thing.”
“The Woman King” is in theaters now.