Ridley Scott taps Joaquin Phoenix to play Napoleon in Apple TV + biopic


Ridley Scott is producing ‘Kitbag’ for Apple TV+.
Like this, except with Joaquin Phoenix.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Ridley Scott will reportedly direct an epic starring Joaquin Phoenix as French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. Kitbag will be produced by Apple and shown on Apple TV+.

Deadline got an inside look at the upcoming film, and describes it as “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 curious name comes from a French saying at the time: “There is a general’s staff hidden in every soldier’s kitbag.”

Ridley Scott handpicked the leading man for Kitbag

Scott believes Joaquin Phoenix is ideal for the role. “No actor could ever embody Napoleon like Joaquin,” the director told Deadline. “He created one of movie history’s most complex Emperors in Gladiator, and we’ll create another with his Napoleon.”

Kitbag will be produced by Scott Free. Ridley Scott’s production company created the series The Good Fight, The Man in the High Castle, Numb3rs and many more. Just a few of the films the production company is responsible for include Thelma & Louise, The Martian and Murder on the Orient Express.

Filming of Kitbag is scheduled to begin in early 2022.

Apple TV+ believes in star power

Apple appears to understand that big names fill theater seats, and has made deals with many stars to bring movies and shows to its streaming service, not just Phoenix and Scott.

Last summer, Greyhound, a feature film about World War II starring Tom Hanks, brought in the largest opening-weekend audience Apple has netted so far. And The Banker, starring Anthony Mackie and Samuel L. Jackson, debuted on Apple TV+ this spring. The fall brought On the Rocks, starring Bill Murray and directed by Sofia Coppola.

Many more are in production.


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