Napoleon
Directed byRidley Scott
Written byDavid Scarpa
Produced by
Starring
CinematographyDariusz Wolski
Production
companies
Distributed byApple TV+
Countries
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
LanguageEnglish

Napoleon is an upcoming epic historical drama film directed and produced by Ridley Scott and written by David Scarpa. It stars Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon and depicts the French leader's rise to power. The film is scheduled to be released by Apple TV+.

Premise

The film depicts Napoleon's rise to power through the lens of his addictive and volatile relationship with Empress Joséphine.[1][2]

Cast

Joaquin Phoenix at the 2018 Berlin International Film Festival in Berlin, Germany.
Portrait of French Emperor Napoleon I painted by Horace Vernet.
Joaquin Phoenix (left) plays Napoleon (right)

Production

Development

On October 14, 2020, the same day his film The Last Duel wrapped filming, Ridley Scott announced Kitbag as his next project for 20th Century Studios, which he would direct and produce from a screenplay written by Scott's All the Money in the World collaborator David Scarpa. The film's title was derived from the saying, "There is a general's staff hidden in every soldier's kitbag." Joaquin Phoenix was reportedly attached to star as French military and political leader Napoléon Bonaparte, reuniting him with the director after Gladiator in 2000.[3] However, when Scott's deal with 20th Century Studios concluded by the end of the year, the project became available to other major studios. In January 2021, Apple Studios announced its commitment to finance and produce the film, with shooting scheduled to take place in the United Kingdom in 2022. "Napoleon is a man I've always been fascinated by", Scott said in a statement, "He came out of nowhere to rule everything — but all the while he was waging a romantic war with his adulterous wife Joséphine. He conquered the world to try to win her love, and when he couldn't, he conquered it to destroy her, and destroyed himself in the process."[4]

The Last Duel actress Jodie Comer was reportedly Scott's first choice to play Empress Joséphine. She entered negotiations to star in March 2021, confirmed her casting in September, and said, "I just jumped at the chance to work with Ridley and his team again and the idea of working with Joaquin, who's someone who I hugely admire ... I'm so excited to delve into that world."[5][6] In November, she said her role was "going to be another huge challenge, but what I love about period dramas is that kind of transformation. Even now, doing some costume and hair tests for Kitbag, it's just so exciting because it becomes so much easier to step out of yourself and into somebody else."[7] That same month, Youssef Kerkour was confirmed to star.[8] On January 4, 2022, Comer revealed her departure from the film due to scheduling changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.[1] Vanessa Kirby was announced as her replacement later that day.[2] On January 18, 2022, producer Kevin J. Walsh said the film had been retitled Napoleon.[9] In February, Tahar Rahim was added to the cast.[10]

Filming

Initial filming took place at Lincoln Cathedral
Initial filming took place at Lincoln Cathedral

Production began in February 2022.[10] The film will feature six major battle sequences, unlike other films about Napoleon, such as Waterloo (1970), that include only one.[11] Napoleon was shot under the working title Marengo, a reference to the Battle of Marengo (1800).[12] Filming took place in Lincoln, England, in March 2022.[13] The crew reportedly spent a week to prepare Lincoln Cathedral, which stood in for Notre-Dame de Paris. Shooting took place in the cathedral on March 17 and March 18, between 7 am and 7 pm.[14][15][16]

Filming is set to take place at Stowe Avenue and House, Buckinghamshire; Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire;[17][18][19] West Wycombe Park in Buckinghamshire, England;[20] and Boughton House in Kettering, England.[21] It will also shoot in Malta for three weeks, starting in May 2022. Fort Ricasoli in Kalkara, Malta, is set to be transformed into the site of 1793's siege of Toulon, where Napoleon had his first victory.[22][23][24]

References

  1. ^ a b Kit, Borys (January 4, 2022). "Jodie Comer Exits Ridley Scott's Napoleon Drama Kitbag (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on January 4, 2022. Retrieved January 4, 2022.
  2. ^ a b Grobar, Matt (January 4, 2022). "Ridley Scott Chooses Vanessa Kirby To Play Josephine Opposite Joaquin Phoenix's Napoleon In Apple Epic Kitbag". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 4, 2022.
  3. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (October 14, 2020). "Ridley Scott Eyes Another Epic: Joaquin Phoenix As Napoleon In Kitbag As Director Today Wraps The Last Duel". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 22, 2021.
  4. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (January 14, 2021). "Apple Studios Commits To Kitbag, Ridley Scott-Directed Epic With Joaquin Phoenix As French Conqueror Napoléon Bonaparte". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 22, 2021.
  5. ^ Kroll, Justin (March 2, 2021). "Jodie Comer Is Ridley Scott's Choice To Play Josephine Opposite Joaquin Phoenix In Napoléon Bonaparte Pic Kitbag For Apple Studios". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 22, 2021.
  6. ^ Yossman, K.J. (September 3, 2021). "Killing Eve Star Jodie Comer Confirmed for Ridley Scott's Kitbag Opposite Joaquin Phoenix". Variety. Retrieved November 22, 2021.
  7. ^ Ravindran, Manori (November 8, 2021). "Jodie Comer on Closing the Chapter on Villanelle, Owning Her Place on Last Duel and Making Her West End Debut". Variety. Retrieved November 22, 2021.
  8. ^ Boghosian, Raffi (November 23, 2021). "Youssef Kerkour on House of Gucci and Challenging Typecasting". Golden Globes. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  9. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (January 18, 2022). "Kevin Walsh Moves From Scott Free Prexy To Multi-Year Apple TV+ Producing Deal". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 18, 2022.
  10. ^ a b Kroll, Justin (February 16, 2022). "The Serpent Star Tahar Rahim Joins Joaquin Phoenix In Apple And Ridley Scott's Napoleon". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 16, 2022.
  11. ^ Hammond, Pete (December 31, 2021). "Ridley Scott On House Of Gucci, The Last Duel, Upcoming Napoleon And Gladiator Epics, And Why He Just Keeps Going – Behind The Lens". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  12. ^ Karran, Ellis (March 14, 2022). "Movie set at Lincoln Cathedral continues to expand ahead of Napoleon filming this week". The Lincolnite. Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  13. ^ Verney, Joseph (November 26, 2021). "Hollywood filmmaker Ridley Scott casting for new movie in Lincoln starring Joaquin Phoenix". The Lincolnite. Retrieved November 26, 2021.
  14. ^ "Napoleon filming set to start soon". Lincolnshire County Council. March 2, 2022. Retrieved March 6, 2022.
  15. ^ Karran, Ellis (March 11, 2022). "Lincoln Cathedral plays role of Notre Dame on Napoleon film set". The Lincolnite. Retrieved March 17, 2022.
  16. ^ Karran, Ellis (March 18, 2022). "Watch: Joaquin Phoenix and Ridley Scott spotted at Lincoln Cathedral during Napoleon filming". The Lincolnite. Retrieved April 1, 2022.
  17. ^ Perry, Sophie (November 9, 2021). "Film directed by Ridley Scott starring Jodie Comer and Joaquin Phoenix to shoot in Oxfordshire". Oxford Mail. Retrieved November 26, 2021.
  18. ^ Ryder, Liam (March 1, 2022). "Is Napoleon filming in West Wycombe? Apple-produced biopic starring Joaquin Phoenix reportedly shooting in Bucks". Buckinghamshire Live. Retrieved March 6, 2022.
  19. ^ Morl, Lily (March 15, 2022). "Napoleon biopic film starring Joaquin Phoenix to close Buckingham road next month". Buckinghamshire Live. Retrieved March 23, 2022.
  20. ^ Butler, Rory; Mykkanen, Noora (March 2, 2022). "Ridley Scott Napoleon 2023: film crew spotted at West Wycombe Park". Bucks Free Press. Retrieved March 6, 2022.
  21. ^ Bagley, Alison (March 15, 2022). "Hollywood Napoleon movie comes to Kettering stately home". Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph. Retrieved March 17, 2022.
  22. ^ Green, Jennifer (January 31, 2022). "Malta Is Ready for Its Close-Up as a Prime International Shooting Destination". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 3, 2022.
  23. ^ Macnab, Geoffrey (January 31, 2022). "Russell Crowe, Ridley Scott, Colin Trevorrow honoured at inaugural Malta Film Awards". Screen Daily. Retrieved February 2, 2022.
  24. ^ Vella, Luke (August 26, 2021). "Malta set for Ridley Scott's Napoleon epic Kitbag with Joaquin Phoenix". Malta Today. Retrieved November 22, 2021.