Gina Prince-Bythewood, the director of Woman King, discusses backlash: You Can't Win an Argument on Twitter

Gina Prince-Bythewood, the director of Woman King, discusses backlash: You Can't Win an Argument on  ...

The following article contains spoilers for The Woman King, according to editors.

On Twitter, Gina Prince-Bythewoods' historical epic The Woman King was set to release on Friday, after a successful premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival last week and an impressive Thursday night opening of over $2 million in early screenings.

A number of users expressed their displeasure in seeing a film that they believed would obscure the history of the Kingdom of Dahomey, in which the Viola Davis-starring play is set, and the fact that the film, set in 1823, does not accurately depict the relationship between the West African country and slavery.

The interest in the perceived errors in the films appeared to be fueled by the film marketing, which emphasizes the Agojie's all-female warrior army, as well as recent articles that purport to reveal the kingdom's real history (including this National Review piece, which investigates how several African nations, including Dahomey, were guilty of engaging in slavery trade with European invaders in exchange for material goods).

These historical notes are correct, but they also do not reflect the whole Prince-Bythewoods film, which does not shy away from making a connection between the Kingdom of Dahomey and the rogue slave trade.

The majority of the film, directed by Dana Stevens and Maria Bello, follows this exact plotline, with Davis revered general Nanisca attempting to sway her king (John Boyega) to abandon the slave trade because of its devastating impact on their fellow countrymen. But when people boycott a film, presumably without seeing it first, that message is lost.

Prince-Bythewood told IndieWire during a recent interview that she did not expect them to give up an argument on Twitter. All of this is going to go away once they see the film. Theres an assumption were not dealing with it and we are dealing with it. So I have to live in that confidence. Theyre going to see the film and theyre going to see it.

Nanisca is a brave warrior and an impressive leader, but she has grown weary of violence, or at least of the things that make it feel necessary, like slavery. (Davis is, obviously, the perfect casting for a role that requires both gravitas and deep empathy). More than anything, she wants King Ghezo to see the possibility of a Dahomey that does not have to engage in the slave trade yes, they sell to the white men, but no, The Woman King does not need to sell

I wish that conversations would take place around the film rather than around the time it was anticipated, because I believe that we did not hesitate to investigate those areas, according to producer Cathy Schulman in a recent interview. It has created all sorts of internal conflict, and we do not hesitate to include it in the film.

Im a huge believer that information is power, and I think that understanding slavery from the African perspective is important. We look at it most of the time from what happened once these people were enslaved and were actually arriving here in America versus what was happening on the other side.

Deadline claims that the film would earn $18 million this weekend, partly due to positive word of mouth: the film received an A+ CinemaScore in early previews, indicating that those who saw it thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Woman King, a Sony release, is now in theaters.