Ridley Scott’s Napoleon Bonaparte biopic with Joaquin Phoenix has been given the green light by Apple Studios.
The epic “Kitbag” will see the Oscar-winning “Joker” star play French emperor and military leader Napoleon Bonaparte. Reuniting the “Gladiator” director and star for the first time in over 20 years, the film is set to begin production in the U.K. in 2022.
“No actor could ever embody Napoleon like Joaquin,” Scott tells Deadline. “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, and today there’s no better partner than Apple to bring a story like this to a global audience.”
The film is said to be a look at Napoleon’s origin and swift rise to power through the lens of his relationship with his wife Josephine and will cover his legendary battles and ruthless ambition. The film’s title comes from the saying “There is a general’s staff hidden in every soldier’s kitbag.”
“Napoleon is a man I’ve always been fascinated by — He came out of nowhere to rule everything but all the while he was waging a romantic war with his adulterous wife Josephine,” Scott says. “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.”
Before production begins on “Kitbag”, Scott will head to Italy in March to film “Gucci” starring Lady Gaga as murderer Patrizia Reggiani alongside an impressive cast that includes Robert De Niro, Adam Driver, Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, and Jared Leto.