South African actress Thuso Mbedu, who leads Barry Jenkins' highly-anticipated Underground Railroad series, has just set her next big project. Deadline has learned she'll star opposite Viola Davis in The Woman King.
Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, the film is inspired by real events that took place in the powerful African state of Dahomey in the 18th and 19th centuries. It tells the story of Nanisca, the general of an all-female military unit called the Amazons, and her daughter, Nawi. Together, the two fight against the French and neighboring tribes who enslave their people and threaten to destroy their culture.
As previously reported, Davis will play Nanisca, while Mbed will now play her daughter, Nawi. The film is said to tell "the powerful true story of an extraordinary mother-daughter relationship."
In other news, Samuel L. Jackson's The Protege has landed an August 20 release date, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The film follows Jackson as Moody, an assassin who rescues and trains a woman named Anna to become "the world’s most skilled contract killer." However, after Moody is brutally killed, Anna seeks revenge.
Jackson is currently working on his Apple TV+ limited series The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey and stars in the action-comedy sequel Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard, opening June 16.
And finally, Warner Bros is teaming Charles D. King’s Macro for a contemporary re-imaging of the 1973 action feature Cleopatra Jones. According to Deadline, the feature will be penned by Lovecraft Country and Snowfall writer Ihuoma Ofordire. The original film starred the late Tamara Dobson as an undercover government agent who used her day job as a supermodel to go undercover and help local cops in the war on drugs.
Casting for Cleopatra Jones has yet to be announced.