Joaquin Phoenix, Ridley Scott Team for Epic Napoleon Movie ‘Kitbag’

     October 14, 2020


Fresh off his Oscar win for Joker, Joaquin Phoenix has agreed to star in an epic Napoleon movie titled Kitbag that will be directed by four-time Oscar nominee Ridley Scott, reports Deadline.

David Scarpa, who wrote Scott’s 2017 crime thriller All the Money in the World, is working on the script, and Scott will produce the historical drama alongside Kevin Walsh via his Scott Free banner. The film is in development at 20th Century Studios, where Scott Free has a first-look deal.

The 5’8″ Phoenix is set to play the French military leader, who may have been small in stature at just 5’6″, but loomed large on the battlefield. The film will examine Napoleon’s origins and chronicle his swift, ruthless rise to power as well as explore his often volatile relationship with his wife, Josephine. There will be plenty of famous battles that show off Napoleon’s brilliant strategic mind and his relentless ambition to win at all costs.


Image via Sony Pictures

Kitbag apparently takes its title from the saying “There is a general’s staff hidden in every soldier’s kitbag.” Indeed, every great military officer started as a grunt, but only a select few have what it takes to lead men into battle, where death awaits most.

Scott turns 83 years old next month, and he’s still going strong. The filmmaker finally wraps production on The Last Duel today in Ireland following a COVID-related shutdown earlier this year, and he’s expected to start shooting his next movie Gucci by March. Adam Driver stars in both films, joined by Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Jodie Comer in The Last Duel, and by Oscar winners Lady Gaga, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Jared Leto in Gucci. With those projects in mind, I imagine Scott won’t be able to start filming Kitbag until 2022, at the earliest.

Phoenix next stars in Mike Mills‘ A24 movie C’mon C’mon, while Scott earned his quartet of Oscar nominations for directing Thelma & Louise, Gladiator (which starred Phoenix) and Black Hawk Down, as well as producing The Martian. For more on the director’s revenge-driven period drama The Last Duel, which Damon and Affleck co-wrote with Nicole Holofcener, click here.

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