Ridley Scott to Direct a Napoleon Film Starring Joaquin Phoenix
Sir Ridley Scott seems poised to do what Stanley Kubrick famously could not: make a movie about Napoleon.
A new report says Scott is set to direct an epic Napoleon film called Kitbag which will reunite him with his Gladiator cast member Joaquin Phoenix, who recently won a Best Actor trophy at the Oscars for his work on last year’s Joker. Cue the “Napoleon dancing down the steps” memes, and learn more about the project below.
Deadline reports that screenwriter David Scarpa, who previously wrote Scott’s All the Money in the World and, as far as I can tell, is still trying to tackle Sony’s long-brewing Cleopatra movie, will reunite with Scott and write the script for Kitbag, which takes its title from the saying, “There is a general’s staff hidden in every soldier’s kitbag.” Here’s how the outlet describes the movie:
The film is an original and personal look at Napoleon’s origins and his swift, ruthless climb to emperor, viewed through the prism of his addictive and often volatile relationship with his wife and one true love, Josephine. The intention of the film is to capture Napoleon’s famous battles, relentless ambition and astounding strategic mind as an extraordinary military leader and war visionary.
If I were a betting man, I’d bet the farm that this film will end up with a different title before an audience ever sees it. Remember, a different film company recently wouldn’t allow Josh Trank’s Al Capone movie to be called Fonzo and instead renamed it Capone to appeal to a wider audience. Kitbag is currently set up at 20th Century Studios, which is owned by Disney, a company that doesn’t strike me as being in the business of leaving audiences confused as to what their properties are. Then again, maybe Scott has earned enough juice through his legendary career that they’ll let him have this one.
As for Phoenix playing Napoleon Bonaparte…sure. Give it a rip. There’s the potential for this film to end up as the definitive cinematic take on the French emperor, but at the end of the day, I’m just excited to see these two guys work together again twenty-plus years after Gladiator. Would I love to see Danny DeVito roll off of the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia set and play the role? Of course. Who wouldn’t? But even though he doesn’t exactly fit the physical requirements of the character, I’m confident Phoenix will deliver a layered, compelling performance.
Scott just wrapped production on The Last Duel. His Gucci movie is next, and the plan is to shoot Kitbag after that.
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