Joaquin Phoenix is wasting no time getting back in the ring after winning the Oscar last year for his work as Arthur Fleck in Joker. His next film, Mike Mills’ C’mon C’mon, is in post-production now and will presumably be ready for a 2021 awards season release (100 Movies to Look Forward to in 2021), and now he’s got another project lined up with the man who led him to his very first Oscar nod 20 years ago. And it’s a big one.
Phoenix will be playing the one and only Napoleon Bonaparte for Gladiator director Ridley Scott. This should be another major historical epic from the team who essentially put historical epics back on the map 20 years ago with that Best Picture winning release. This is surely going to be one of the big prestige players of whatever year it comes out, and Apple knows it, getting in on the ground floor by purchasing the rights to the film, for now going by the title of Kitbag.
According to Deadline, Apple and Scott hope to begin production on the film in early 2022. Scott has two projects in the works to finish before then. First, there’s another historical epic, The Last Duel, starring Matt Damon, Adam Driver, and Ben Affleck, which is in post-production now (co-written, interestingly by Damon, Affleck, and Nicole Holofcener). Once that is done he’ll finish up Gucci, starring Lady Gaga, and then move on to this. It’s a lot to take on for the 83 year old filmmaker, but if his quick turnaround on the notorious swapping of Kevin Spacey for Christopher Plummer in All the Money in the World is any indication, Scott seems to be capable of working quicker than ever these days.
Scott says that he’s always been fascinated by Napoleon, telling Deadline, “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.”
He also had plenty of strong words to say about his reunion with his Gladiator star, the first time the two have worked together since that 2000 epic. Scott stated, “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, and today there’s no better partner than Apple to bring a story like this to a global audience.”
We’ll see if these two can create magic once again whenever Kitbag gets its release. Keep an eye out here for developments on what’s sure to be quite the picture.