Why The Woman King Is The 'New Blueprint' For Film, According To Lashana Lynch

It is no secret that Hollywood has historically not taken the importance of showcasing Black talent very seriously. That's why "The Woman King," which premieres tonight at the Toronto International Film Festival, is considered to be a game-changer. Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, the film has a cast compromised almost entirely of Black actors from several corners of the African diaspora. 

/Film attended the recent #TakeUpSpace event held by Twitter to promote the upcoming film, which saw star Lashana Lynch discuss the important impact she hopes it will have on Hollywood. "I really hope that in watching this film, in just knowing that this project exists, that people will feel emboldened to take risks," she said. "Now we can move back on. We used to know the blueprint that has always been, [but] we now have a new blueprint."

More than a moment

Also speaking at the #TakeUpSpace panel star and producer Viola Davis recounted the typical but arduous process of being a Black female producer in Hollywood. During the discussion, she talked about how she has to fight for even the smallest stories and changes, from hiring Black hair stylists and makeup artists to preserving certain plot elements. Thankfully, the production of "The Woman King" had the right people, both in front of and behind the camera, that could bring its unfiltered vision to life

According to Lynch, this won't be the last time this happens, either. "It's not a moment," she said. "Actually, maybe it's not even a movement. This is just the industry. This is what the industry could look like. So I would like the industry [and] the world to just get used to it. Get used to seeing this."

And what is "this," exactly? In the case of "The Woman King," it is a movie directed and led by Black women in a story about defying colonialism and societal expectations. Nestled in the African Kingdom of Dahomey, the all-female regiment known as the Agojie is led by General Nanisca (Davis) as an attempt to ward off colonizers and slave traders from their kingdom. Lynch plays Izogie, a fighter in the Agojie.

Joining Davis and Lynch are Thuso Mbedu, John Boyega, Sheila Atim, Jayme Lawson, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, and Angélique Kidjo. After premiering at TIFF on September 9, "The Woman King" will arrive in theaters on September 16.