Ridley Scott’s Napoleon Movie with Joaquin Phoenix Lands at Apple

Universal Pictures

Ridley Scott‘s planned Napoleon movie, set to reunite the filmmaker with Oscar-winning actor Joaquin Phoenix, has landed at Apple Studios and will be heading to the company’s streaming platform, Apple TV+.

The project had been at 20th Century Studios as part of Scott’s deal with the studio, but that plan cleared towards the end of 2020 and Apple Studios swooped in. Apple now has worldwide distribution rights and will be financing and producing the picture, with Scott and Kevin Walsh also on board to produce under the Scott Free banner.

Titled Kitbag, derived from the saying “There is a general’s staff hidden in every soldier’s kitbag,” the period film will cover Napoleon Bonaparte’s origins and look at his climb to become an emperor and military leader. The story will be told from the prism of his troubled relationship with Josephine, his wife and one true love.

“Napoleon is a man I’ve always been fascinated by,” Scott told Deadline, the outlet that broke the news of Apple’s acquisition. “He came out of nowhere to rule everything — but all the while he was waging a romantic war with his adulterous wife Josephine. 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.”

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Scott said of Phoenix, who he directed over twenty years ago in the Oscar-winning Gladiator: “No actor could ever embody Napoleon like Joaquin. He created one of movie history’s most complex Emperors in Gladiator, and we’ll create another with his Napoleon. It’s a brilliant script written by David Scarpa [who penned Scott’s All the Money in the World], and today there’s no better partner than Apple to bring a story like this to a global audience.”

At age 83, Scott is showing no signs of slowing down, continuously working on and lining up projects. Scott recently wrapped filming on period film The Last Duel, starring Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, and in March will begin shooting Gucci, starring Lady Gaga (playing murderer Patrizia Reggiani), Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Adam Driver, Jared Leto and Jeremy Irons.

Kitbag is poised to begin production in early 2022.

Image via Kerry Brown / Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation


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