Ridley Scott and Oscar-winner Joaquin Phoenix are set to reunite for an epic period film at Apple Studios that will focus on Napoleon Bonaparte with Phoenix playing the lead role. Shooting is expected to begin next year in the United Kingdom with Scott reportedly adding The Last Duel’s Jodie Comer to play Josephine. The script was penned by All The Money In The World’s David Scarpa
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.
The Ronin can now confirm that the period epic has added Oscar-winning costume designer Janty Yates, who previously worked with both Ridley Scott and Joaquin Phoenix on Gladiator. Yates’ extensive credits include Kingdom of Heaven, Robin Hood, Exodus, Raised By Wolves, Prometheus, The Last Duel and the Lady Gaga-led crime film House of Gucci.
Famously, Stanley Kubrick (A Clockwork Orange, 2001 A Space Odyssey, The Shining) attempted to make a Napoleon project spending years developing and researching it. HBO/MGM recently tried to resurrect as a miniseries with Steven Spielberg producing and Cary Fukunaga (No Time To Die, True Detective, Masters of The Air) directing.
Phoenix is currently shooting Ari Aster’s Disappointment Blvd. in Montreal and is attached to co-star with Rooney Mara in director Lynne Ramsey’s Polaris.
There is an assumption that Scott’s longtime cinematographer Dariusz Wolski will be part of the film’s crew as well.
Speaking of Gladiator, the British filmmaker has been developing a direct sequel with The Town screenwriter Peter Craig and takes place 25-30 years after the events of the original movie that earned Russell Crowe a Best Actor Oscar statue. There is an expectation that Spencer Treat Clark’s (Animal Kingdom, Glass, Unbreakable) Lucius will be the focus of that project.