Viola Davis’ coach on The female king explains the actress’ workout routine and weapons training. Set in 1823, Davis stars as General Nanisca, the strong and capable leader of the Agojie, a true all-female legion of the West African kingdom of Dahomey. Under the young King Ghezo (John Boyega), Nanisca leads her army against rival empires and invading European forces. Originally based on a story developed by A history of violence Maria Bello, the film will also star Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim and Adrienne Warren.
As The female king is a sword and sandal historical epic, there will be a high level of action and hand-to-hand combat scenes. The film’s director, Gina Prince-Bythewood, recently teased a huge Brave hearthefty battle that used thousands of extras. Such a scale would require significant training on the part of the actors to realistically recreate the West African war of the early 19th century.
By PeopleDavis and her co-stars’ workout routine and weapons training for The female king has been revealed. The film’s main stars were subjected to nine months of intense physical training for their roles as Dahomey warriors. This included high-intensity workouts with strength training and weightlifting that were personally tailored to each actor after DNA testing. The film’s trainer and nutritionist, Gabriela Mclain, explained that “There is no single plan. Everyone should train differently“The stars also incorporated three hours of martial arts training and two hours of weapons training into their routine. In an accompanying video, Davis explained that she engaged in “everything from swordplay, spears, machetes. Lots of punches.“After going through all of her training, Davis admits that she”feels like a badass.”
To look like the fierce women whose stories inspired the film, the actors had to sculpt their bodies and develop their stamina. “My goal was to make it look pretty natural just like the woman would look if she were to go into a fight because it’s based on true stories“said Mclain. The trainer wanted to keep it as authentic as possible and turn the actors into warriors. Based on a recent trailer for The female king, the meticulous and arduous training definitely paid off. Davis is much more muscular than she has been in any of her previous roles, as she can now wield a variety of weapons with ease, as true warriors would have done hundreds of years ago. Her extensive training highlights how dedicated Davis is to this role and to making The female king as precise as possible.
It is not uncommon for films to require actors to undergo extensive training for the roles in order to faithfully portray their characters on screen. To recreate the soldier’s experience, the stars of Saving Private Ryan had to go through a World War II boot camp to accurately represent a small platoon of US Army riflemen. More recently, Top Gun: Maverick actors had to undergo physical and flight training to realistically interact with real fighter jets. The female king turned out to be the same in this respect. For his stars to correctly represent and tell the true story of the warriors of Dahomey, they had to look as tough and fight as fiercely as the Agojie. Hopefully the cast of The female king will earn rave reviews after putting in all that hard work.