Rising to cultural prominence through appearances in such films as Attack the Block, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens and Steve McQueen’s Small Axe TV series, John Boyega is now due to join Viola Davis and Lashana Lynch in The Woman King.
Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, the same mind behind The Old Guard and Beyond the Lights, the film is a historical epic inspired by true events that took place in the Kingdom of Dahomey in Africa during the 18th and 19th centuries. The story itself follows Nanisca (Davis), the general of the all-female military and Nawi (Mbedu), an ambitious new recruit who together fought enemies who threatened to destroy their freedom.
John Boyega is due to play King Ghezo, the ruler of Dahomey, a character who “walks as if the earth were honoured by its burden” as the director describes to The Hollywood Reporter. Continuing in her discussion, Prince-Bythewood stated, “I have been enamoured by John’s immense talent for years, but his speech to Black women during the protests cemented my desire to work with him…John possesses that innate depth and swagger, and I’m so excited to put it on screen”.
Also starring Lashana Lynch, who is soon to appear in the long-awaited James Bond film, No Time to Die, the actor recently stated, in an interview that Bond “could be a man or woman” or “white, black, Asian, mixed race…They could be young or old”.
Continuing, she noted, “At the end of the day, even if a two-year-old was playing Bond, everyone would flock to the cinema to see what this two-year-old’s gonna do, no?”.
Meanwhile, franchise producer Barbara Broccoli has committed to keeping the James Bond character male, noting: “He’s a male character. He was written as a male and I think he’ll probably stay as a male,” in a conversation with The Guardian.
Take a look at the speech by John Boyega at the Black Lives Matter protest that director Gina Prince-Bythewood references.