Lupita Nyong’o On Why She Walked Away From ‘The Woman King’

The Gina Prince-Bythewood film stars Viola Davis

Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o turned down a role in Gina Prince-Bythewood’s The Woman King, which has been a critical and box office success. Nyong’o is now explaining why she walked away from playing an Agojie warrior.

Nyong’o, who starred in a short documentary about the Agojie tribe called Warrior Women With Lupita Nyong’o, told The Hollywood Reporter, “It was very amicable, the departure from it, but I felt it wasn’t the role for me to play.” The 39-year-old declined to give any other specifics.

The Woman King stars Viola Davis as Nanisca, a general who trains the next generation of warriors to fight their enemies in an effort to protect the West African kingdom of Dahomey during the 17th to 19th centuries. Some on social media called for a boycott of the film because the Agojie tribe participated in the slave trade.

RELATED: The Woman King: Viola Davis Says Film Will Move The Conversation Forward About Colorism In Hollywood

Davis, who is also producer on the film, reacted to the backlash last month by saying, “I agree with Gina Prince-Bythewood’s saying you’re not going to win an argument on Twitter. We entered the story where the kingdom was in flux, at a crossroads. They were looking to find some way to keep their civilization and kingdom alive. It wasn’t until the late 1800s that they were decimated. Most of the story is fictionalized. It has to be.”

The Woman King has grossed over $76 million worldwide.

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