Lupita Nyong’o is talking about why she decided to not star in The Woman King.
The actress was set to star alongside Davis in the upcoming historical film The Woman King. But back in 2020, the actress walked away from the film in which she was to play an Agojie warrior.
In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Nyong’o opened up about why she decided against starring in Gina Prince-Bythewood’s film.
Nyong'o didn't feel like the role was right for her.
According to IndieWire, Nyong’o was set to play an Agojie warrior in The Woman King starring Viola Davis, who also produces. The Agojie tribe inspired the fictional Dora Milaje female army in Black Panther.
After she was cast in the film, the actress made a short documentary about the Agojie tribe called “Warrior Women With Lupita Nyong’o.”
Per The Hollywood Reporter, the Academy Award winner “grapples uncomfortably with the tribe’s legacy of violence.” After the documentary, Nyong’o decision to exit The Woman King though she hasn’t specifically revealed why.
“It was very amicable, the departure from it,” Nyong’o said. “But I felt it wasn’t the role for me to play.”
Thuso Mbedu took over the role Nyong’o was slated to play.
After her departure, Lupita Nyong’o’s role was given to Thuso Mbedu.
In addition to The Woman King, Nyong’o also exited the upcoming Apple TV+ series Lady in the Lake, which stars Natalie Portman. Moses Ingram replaced her in that series.
“I’m desperate for small projects,” Nyong’o told THR. “They’re harder to get off the ground, they’re harder to stay on track. Bigger movies elbow them out of the way. The pandemic and the fiscal stress on the industry has made it even harder for those movies to get made.”
Nyong'o is currently balancing large projects with smaller independent roles.
“I think to be culturally prosperous, to be artistically prosperous as a people, is to have options. I personally love a good Marvel movie, but it doesn’t take me away from really wanting the little character-driven film,” the Us actress shared. “I believe in the fight for those things to be kept alive because the one thing we always want, the ultimate privilege, is choice.”
She concluded, “It becomes a philosophical question about what is art and what is its purpose. I believe that art plays a role in moving the people that experience it, and a lot of people are moved by Marvel. Is you being moved by this thing less important than me being moved by Picasso?”