Napoleon, Ridley Scott praised Joaquin Phoenix’s vital contribution to the film

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Stanley Kubrick worked for years on a film about Napoleon. The director, returning from 2001: A Space Odyssey he read more than 500 books and questioned a disproportionate number of historians to put together a three-hour blockbuster on the life of Bonaparte. It was useless: the ambitious project was postponed several times, before becoming one of the biggest regrets in the history of cinema. The Napoleon by Ridley Scott shares the title and a history of delays with Kubrick’s aborted dream, which however should not lead this film to relive the same fate as its “ancestor”. Also because, this time, it was not insurmountable economic or logistical difficulties that lengthened production times. What slowed down the making of the film was mostly the sensitivity of a visionary star, who helped the director in sketching out a portrait that promises to be exciting.

Captain Joaquin Phoenix

Ridley Scott he knew very well who he was going to cast as the protagonist of his film. Joaquin Phoenix on the other hand, he had brought home the first Oscar nomination of his bright career thanks to their first collaboration ne Gladiator. In a magazine interview EmpireScott explained what makes the actor who won the statuette unique for Joker and what makes working with him so special: “Joaquin is as far from the conventional as possible. Not deliberately, but as a matter of intuition. This is what makes it work. If something bothers him, he lets you know ”. In the specific case of Napoleonthere were many things that had initially left him at least doubtful, starting with the title of the film itself which was originally supposed to be Kitbags. Far from feeling overtaken by the proposals of his leading actor, the author of Aliens he decided to listen to him and today he says he is very satisfied with the final result. With Phoenix’s advice, Ridley Scott is even convinced that he has managed to create a better epic than the one he had in mind at the start: “With Joaquin you can rewrite the whole damned movie because he feels uncomfortable. And somehow that’s what happened with Napoleon. We stitched up the film to help it focus on who Napoleon was. And I had to respect that, because what was said was incredibly constructive. It made everything bigger and better.”

This film will not be a Waterloo

It should also be said that this type of close collaboration was also made possible by the fact that the actor has always proactively expressed his point of view, constantly putting the film first. It is no coincidence that Ridley Scott calls his partner in crime “the most special and thoughtful actor he has ever worked with”. The legendary filmmaker, already the author of great journeys through history such as the aforementioned Gladiator or The crusades, does not hide his optimism about the success of this work which should arrive in theaters at this point next year. In Hollywood, the lucky few who have already got to see Napoleon in test screenings, they justify the author’s enthusiasm by speaking of the film in flattering terms, even going so far as to define it in no uncertain terms “a masterpiece”. The film will be a true blockbuster, capable of rivaling its unborn Kubrickian homonym in terms of ambition and duration: it will be a 150-minute epic, which will follow the life of the legendary Corsican leader from his rise during the years of French Revolution at the fall, on that May 5th that inspired famous poems. Particular will be the point of view through which we will follow the events, told starting from the relationship between Napoleon Bonaparte and his first wife (played by Vanessa Kirby after the abandonment of Jodie Comden for production times). In short, there are all the conditions to think that we will be faced with a great film, far from representing a Waterloo for the noble characters involved. Not even the general winter will be able to stop the conquest of the halls of Napoleon.