Apple Studios has committed to finance and produce “Kitbag,” the Napoleon Bonaparte epic that Ridley Scott will direct, with Joaquin Phoenix playing the French emperor and military leader.
Production will begin in early 2022 in the UK.
“Napoleon is a man I’ve always been fascinated by,” Scott told 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.”
“No actor could ever embody Napoleon like Joaquin,” Scott said. “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’s title is derived from the saying “There is a general’s staff hidden in every soldier’s kitbag.”
The Kitbag deal is at least on the financial scale of the one Apple Studios made last fall to acquire world rights to Emancipation. That film package with Antoine Fuqua directing Will Smith in a Willam N. Collage-scripted action thriller about the harrowing escape of Peter, a runaway slave forced to outwit cold-blooded hunters and the unforgiving swamps of Louisiana on a tortuous journey North where he joined the Union Army. Apple also stepped up for Greyhound, the WWII drama that Tom Hanks wrote and starred in for director Aaron Schneider, which premiered last July. And Killers of the Flower Moon, the $180 million + adaptation of the David Grann book that Eric Roth scripted and which has Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio set to star.
MacDailyNews Take: Ridley Scott. Bill Murray. Tom Hanks. Robert De Niro. Leonardo DiCaprio. Will Smith. Joaquin Phoenix. And on and on and on!
Apple TV+ is becoming an awards-magnet thanks to its laser-like focus on high-quality, big-name productions.