'The Woman King' Is Set in West Africa, but Was It Filmed There? Here's What We Know

Katherine Stinson - Author

Feb. 20 2023, Published 10:38 p.m. ET

Nanisca (Viola Davis)
Source: Sony Pictures

Warning: The following article contains spoilers for The Woman King.

General Nanisca (Viola Davis) has only one goal in The Woman King — to protect King Ghezo (John Boyega) at all costs. Ghezo reigns over the kingdom of Dahomey, a region in West Africa, in the 1800s. Nanisca's task is to lead the Agojie, a group of female warriors, to ensure Ghezo's safety against any and all intruders.

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Now that The Woman King is finally available to stream on Netflix, we wanted to know if the film was actually shot on location in Africa.

So, where was the actual filming location for The Woman King? Here's what we know.

King Ghezo (John Boyega)
Source: Sony Pictures
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What was the filming location for 'The Woman King'?

According to the official IMDb page for The Woman King, the film had three primary filming locations — South Africa, Benin, and Ghana.

Benin and Ghana are both located in West Africa, lending more authenticity to setting for The Woman King.

Maria Bello was inspired by a visit to Benin years ago, and came up with the pitch for The Woman King, according to the IMDb trivia section for the movie.

However, Maria's pitch lingered in development hell for years, until Black Panther debuted in theaters in 2018 to massive financial and critical acclaim. After that, The Woman King finally got the go ahead in 2020, with a $50 million budget to boot! (Fun fact — the Dora Milaje were actually inspired by the Agojie.)

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How long did it take to film 'The Woman King'?

According to The Hollywood Reporter, it took five months to film The Woman King. The entire cast physically prepped for the demanding shoot four months in advance with 90 minutes of weight lifting, followed by 3.5 hours of fight training, which included training work with swords and spears.

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Gina Prince-Bythewood, the director of The Woman King, made it a top priority to hire department heads for the shoot who were women of color.

She explained to The Hollywood Reporter that, "The thing is for women and people of color, often the resumes are not long because it’s about lack of opportunity, not lack of talent... So when you’re in my position, it’s important to look past that resume.

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Gina added, "There were a couple of people who’ve never done a film of this size before, but what they brought into that meeting, I knew that they were going to bring something extra." She also made one thing clear to The Woman King's director of photography — "I want our women to look more beautiful than they’ve ever been shot before."

In addition to Viola Davis and John Boyega, the cast of The Woman King includes Lashana Lynch, Thuso Mbedu, Sheila Atim, Jimmy Odukoya, and more. The Woman King is now available to stream on Netflix.

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