The Woman King Filming Locations – In 2022, American filmmakers will produce The Woman King, a film about the Agojie, a female-only combat army that served the West African kingdom of Dahomey from the 17th through the 19th centuries. Viola Davis portrays a general who prepares a new generation of warriors for warfare. The film is set in the 1820s. The film was written by Dana Stevens and Maria Bello, and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood. The film also features Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, and John Boyega.
In 2015, Bello travelled to Benin, the ancient kingdom’s location, where she learned about the Agojie, which inspired her to write The Woman King. She solicited Cathy Schulman’s assistance in converting the book into a film, and the two of them submitted the concept to numerous studios, all of which ultimately rejected it due to economic constraints.
In 2017, they met with TriStar Pictures to discuss the concept, and by 2020, the green light had been given. Starting in November 2021, South African production was halted due to the COVID-19 Omicron variant, only to resume at the start of 2022. Polly Morgan was the director of photography for the film. During post-production, Terence Blanchard composed the film’s score, while Terilyn A. Shropshire edited it.
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‘The Woman King’ Filming Locations
Although the events in The Woman King, a historical epic starring Viola Davis and John Boyega, could have occurred in the current Republic of Benin in West Africa, the film was not shot there. Gina Prince-Blythewood and cinematographer Polly Morgan had to pick locations that provided a suitable backdrop for the story of King Ghezo and his Agojie in order to recreate the beautiful setting described in 19th-century accounts of the Kingdom of Dahomey. This band of female warriors protected him. General Nanisca, portrayed by Viola Davis, led her tremendous force across crimson soil, past fields resembling the ocean, and through palaces that were exact recreations of the regal architecture of the period.
The filming of The Woman King lasted five months, with the team working six days per week, until 65% of the cast and crew tested positive for the Omicron strain, at which time production was suspended for two months (via The Hollywood Reporter). It would have been ideal to film in West Africa, where the events represented in “The Woman King” actually occurred, but the region’s logistical difficulties prevented that. Yet, the subject matter of the film was well communicated due in large part to the use of majestic and gorgeous landscapes.
KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa)
During the initial fight scene in the Mahi hamlet, the Agojie had to emerge from a dense forest; fortunately, KwaZulu-Natal is home to many tropical palm trees. In addition to establishing the movie’s location in Africa, filming there gave stunning possibilities to capture sunrises and sunsets over the region’s vast, varied landscape for use in dramatic or emotional scenes. The Bonamazi Game Reserve offered The Woman King’s characters with a safe and legal environment in which to encounter some of Africa’s most renowned wildlife.
The KwaZulu-Natal resort town of Port Edward not only offered a spectacular view but also the ideal lighting conditions to make the most of it for specific scenes, such as the clifftop view utilised to close The Woman King. Because it faced east, teams had to routinely rise at 3 a.m. to gear up for a genuine sunrise shoot, as opposed to depending on CGI or post-production techniques. This attention to detail helps to The Woman King’s realism and trustworthiness.
Cape Town (South Africa)
For the film, an abandoned South African munitions factory was turned into the palace of King Ghezo. The palace was planned around the sun’s path, and it offered a wide variety of surfaces for the team to utilise, creating a versatile shooting location that was utilised until the end of The Woman King. Because of the building’s capacity to appear different depending on your view point, we were able to capture scenes that would have ordinarily occurred in different rooms while remaining in the same space.
The decisive battle between the Agojie and the Oyo took place at the Wiesenhof Nature Reserve on the city’s outskirts. Nanisca and Nawi’s escape from the Port of Quidah, which is represented by the Castle of Good Hope, was made possible by Palmiet Beach in Cape Town. This beach not only had wide beaches where European traders could dock their ships, but it also had an estuary that could be used as a river with a few changes. It is easy to see why The Woman King would have greatly benefited from filming in a multipurpose location, given the amount of time required, the logistical problems, and the possibility of an Omicron pandemic.
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