Ridley Scott’s upcoming Napoleon Bonaparte epic, Kitbag, has been picked up by Apple Studios, and is set to premiere on its streaming service, Apple TV+. Joaquin Phoenixwas previously announced as the (frankly, perfectly-cast) French emperor and military leader back in October last year.
It isn’t Phoenix’s first time teaming up to portray an emperor in a Ridley Scott film, either. Twenty years prior, he played the Roman emperor Commodus in the director’s Gladiator. “No actor could ever embody Napoleon like Joaquin,” Scott says in a recent interview with Deadline. “He created one of movie history’s most complex Emperors in Gladiator, and we’ll create another with his Napoleon.”
“Napoleon is a man I’ve always been fascinated by,” he adds. “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.”
Kitbag – which takes its name from the saying “there is a general’s staff hidden in every soldier’s kitbag” – will focus on this volatile relationship between Napoleon and Josephine, amid his swift and ruthless rise to power as one of history’s most famous leaders.
Produced by the director’s Scott Free Films, with a screenplay by David Scarpa, the film is set to begin production in the UK in early 2022.