Viola Davis Says She Now Has 'Huge Swagger' Going to Grocery Store Because of 'Woman King' Training

The cast of The Woman King sit down at PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly's studio at the Toronto International Film Festival to discuss the intense training they underwent for the action movie

Viola Davis has a newfound swagger since hitting the gym for her new action movie.

The Oscar winner stars in The Woman King, for which she underwent rigorous training to portray warriors alongside costars Lashana Lynch, Thuso Mbedu, Sheila Atim and more cast members.

At PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly's photo and video studio at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival Friday, Davis, 57, explained how her physical transformation changed how she goes about everyday errands like grocery shopping.

"There is something to be said about breaking that barrier of what you feel like you can't do that then gives you a swagger," she says. "You begin to sort of feel yourself, and you begin to really appreciate when your body is working for you as a woman, the strength of it."

"There are times when I'm now walking in the grocery store," continues Davis with a laugh, "I walk the parking lot of Vons and I walk in the grocery store like, 'Yeah, I'm here!' It gives you, yeah, a huge swagger."

75th Cannes Film Festival 2022
Mike Marsland/WireImage

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Costar John Boyega, director Gina Prince-Bythewood, producer Cathy Schulman and Davis' husband and producer Julius Tennon also joined the PEOPLE and EW conversation. Tennon, 68, shared that Davis was competitive about the workouts — and the actress admitted to it.

"I'm always competitive with my husband," she says.

Adds Tennon, "I had a friend call and he said, 'Hey, man, Viola's lifting a lot of weights — you alright?' I said, 'I'm good. I'm hangin' in there.' It worked out."

THE WOMAN KING - Viola Davis
Sony Pictures

Lynch, 34, says she couldn't compare The Woman King training to the prep work she did for her spy role in the recent James Bond film No Time to Die. As she puts it, "There's nothing that would be able to prepare you for this level of training."

"It was incredible to be able to just dive in and treat your body to a true experience," she says.

The Woman King is in theaters Sept. 16.

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