Leading cast of The Woman King, Viola Davis is wild in her portrayal of the female warrior Nanisca. But the Oscar-winning actress had to overcome far more than her on-screen enemies during filming.
Shot on location in South Africa, The Woman KingCast and crew had to battle multiple elements of nature, both visible and invisible. Many of them have called it the biggest physical struggle they’ve experienced in the entertainment industry.
“The Woman King” filmed on location in South Africa
The Woman King is loosely based on true events that took place in the African kingdom of Dohemy in the 1820s. In the film, Nanisca von Davis is a general under King Ghezo (John Boyega). She leads a savage band of female warriors known as the Agojie.
When the Oyo Empire captures young, spirited Agojie, Nawi (Thuso Mbedu), Nanisca leads the kingdom in a fearsome struggle for Dohemy’s independence. While Davis’ Nanisca is a fictional character, the Agojie were a very real part of African history.
As such when filming The Woman King, director Gina Prince-Bythewood knew the only place to film was Africa. “I wanted to create a 360-degree world,” Prince-Bythewood tells the LA Times. “… I wanted [the actors] to look around and only see this world, not green screens or cars and airplanes everywhere. I wanted them to be able to have their hands and feet on the ground and so did they.”
This “360-degree world” was found deep in the African jungle, where the cast and crew had no internet or cell phone reception. For weeks they suffered from mosquitoes, spiders and snakes. “It was the most physically challenging thing we’ve ever done,” notes producer Cathy Schulman. “It was quite amazing to watch this troupe of women behind and in front of the camera doing this every day.”
“The Woman King” experienced the Omicron variant of COVID-19
And all this slid, buzzed and crawled on The Woman King discontinued, another serious threat almost completely ended production. Three weeks into filming, someone tested positive for the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Three days later, 21 people, including Davis, had contracted the virus.
Prince-Bythewood recalls the moment she was scared The Woman King would be closed indefinitely. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, the producer recalls thinking, “Are the studio going to say, ‘This movie isn’t worth it?'”
After a wait of over a month, production has resumed, full of new protocols including quarantined actors, strict restrictions on the number of background actors allowed on set and reduced filming days. but The Woman King enforced.
“The Woman King’s theatrical debut shows victory
However, their struggles were not in vain The Woman King made a strong debut in theaters during its September 16 opening weekend. After grossing $19 million in its first weekend, the film grossed just over $11 million in its second week, with cumulative grossing of $36.3 million, according to Forbes. Given its $50 million budget, the film is well positioned to turn a profit.
Those numbers may seem lackluster compared to the solid box office returns of this year’s other top action movies, according to CNBC: Top Gun: Maverick ($692.4 million), Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ($411.3 million), Jurassic World: Dominion ($375 million), The Batman ($369.3 million), Thor: Love and Thunder ($337.1 million), and Spider-Man: No Way Home ($232.8 million). However, The Woman King Checkout performance is important on several levels.
First, The Woman King is not a superhero movie. That fact alone puts it in a different class for box office. Secondly, The Woman King is a female-led cast (let alone a black female-led cast), making it an exception. After all, there are no dinosaurs in it The Woman King.
With that in mind, the box office numbers undoubtedly give it away The Woman King as a commercial success. In conjunction with the other successful female-led films of the summer such as Where the crayfish sing and don’t worry darling, The Woman King further confirms that major studios should invest in stories by women, about women.
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https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/the-woman-king-filming-location-physically-hardest-thing-cast-crew-done-before.html/ The location was “physically the hardest thing” the cast and crew had done before