Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis said the future of big-budget black female cinema in Hollywood hangs in the balance with the epic film’s release this weekend The Woman Kingin which she plays an African warrior.
Davis said she feels intense pressure and mixed emotions, knowing her performance in this film will be judged in a way that films with white directors and casts are not.
“First of all, the film must make money. And I feel conflicted about it, because we only have one or two opportunities.”
“If it doesn’t make money, then that mostly means a black woman, a dark-skinned woman can’t top the global box office? And it is over. Spot. And now, they use data for that, because the king woman did a, b or c. And that’s what makes me conflict.”
“Because it’s just not true. We don’t do that with white film. Just not. If a movie fails, you make another movie and you make another movie the same“.
king woman, from Sony Pictures, which narrates the history of the warrior women of Dahomey -today Benin- in the 19th centuryis in many ways a leap into the unknown for a major Hollywood studio.
with the director Gina Prince-Bythewood and a mostly black and female cast, will open in more than 3,000 theaters on a budget of about $100 million, including merchandising.
Davis, the only African-American woman to win an Oscar, an Emmy and a Tonyspent six years making this film a reality, with studios and producers reluctant to take the risk.
Davis plays the veteran warrior Nanisca who trains a new generation who must defend themselves against a stronger rival kingdom and European slavers.
The female army of the kingdom of Dahomey served as an inspiration for the elite female fighters in the film Black Pantherwhich grossed $1.3 billion worldwide.
Davis also urged movie-loving audiences to show that movies like the king woman they can be successful without being part of a superhero franchise.
“We’re all in this together, right? We know we need each other. We know that we are all committed to inclusion and diversity”said the actress.
“So if you can spend your money to see Avatarif you can spend your money to see titanica‘, then you can also spend it to see the king woman“, he added.
“Because that’s the thing. It’s not even about being run by a black woman, the cultural significance of that; but that it is a very entertaining movie“.
“And if we are indeed the same, I dare you to prove it,” Davis added.
“They won’t see us”
The film has already received positive reviews following its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Variety called it a “compelling display of black power” with Davis in his “fiercest role yet”.
But, Davis clarifies, the scenes of strong battles aroused criticism and misogyny among the black community.
“Even in the black community you have people saying, ‘Oh, these dark-skinned women, why do they have to be so masculine? Why can’t they be prettier? Why can’t this be a romantic comedy?'” he pointed.
“Well, guess what, if this movie doesn’t make money on September 16th, and by the way I’m 150 percent sure it will, but if it doesn’t, then guess what: they won’t see us at all“, he added.
“That’s the truth. I wish it were different.”
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Reference from www.milenio.com