Napoleon sees director Ridley Scott bringing the story of the infamous French ruler Napoleon Bonaparte to the screen on a major scale.
Scott previously confessed he is "fascinated with" the historical figure who "came out of nowhere to rule everything." Originally called Kitbag, the historical drama was rewritten for Oscar winner Joaquin Phoenix, reuniting the pair for the first time since the historical action drama, Gladiator (2000), over two decades ago. Gladiator received 12 Oscar nominations, including Best Director for Scott and Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Phoenix, and went on to win five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor in a Leading Role for Russell Crowe.
Napoleon is scheduled to be released in theaters this fall. For now, here's everything you need to know about Napoleon.
What is 'Napoleon' about?
The historical drama is the origin story of Napoleon Bonaparte, the legendary French military leader who ultimately became a ruthless dictator. Scott's film will focus on Napoleon's ascent to power during the French Revolution and the turbulent relationship he had with the love of his life, Joséphine de Beauharnais. Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering who is behind the camera, the R-rated film promises "some of the most dynamic practical battle sequences ever filmed."
When does it come out?
Napoleon will be released in theaters on Nov. 22, 2023, before making its streaming debut on Apple TV+.
Is there a trailer?
Yes, and you can watch it here.
Who else is in the movie?
Phoenix, who is also one of the producers on the film, plays the titular lead, and the rest of the cast is an inspired ensemble of international talent.
Oscar nominee Vanessa Kirby plays Empress Joséphine. She was Napoleon's mistress who went on to become his first wife in a union that didn't sit well with his family and proved to be highly tempestuous.
Ben Miles, a British actor renowned for his work on both stage and screen, co-stars as Coulancourt, a close advisor to Napoleon. The military officer and diplomat was one of his most loyal political allies in the First Empire.
Tahar Rahim plays Paul Barras, a previous fling of Empress Joséphine, credited with helping her and Napoleon get married. After meeting Napoleon during the siege of Toulon, the revolutionist became a mentor to the French leader.
The film also stars Ludivine Sagnier as socialite Thérésa Cabarrus, Matthew Needham as Lucien Bonaparte — Napoleon's younger brother, and Youssef Kerkour as Marshal Davout, one of Napoleon's most fiercely loyal commanders.
Who's behind the scenes?
Scott, a four-time Oscar nominee, is the filmmaker rallying the troops and bringing this biopic to the screen. Having helmed numerous revered films over the last half century, the visionary director is no stranger to delivering classics. Scott's credits as director include Alien (1979), Blade Runner (1982), Thelma & Louise (1991), 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992), Gladiator (2000), Black Hawk Down (2001), Kingdom of Heaven (2005), American Gangster (2007), Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014), The Martian (2015), and many others.
The script for Napoleon was written by David Scarpa, making this his second project with Scott, with the first being All the Money in the World (2017). Scott and Scarpa have already reunited to work together for a third time as Scarpa is the writer behind the upcoming sequel to Gladiator. Claire Simpson, who won the Best Film Editing Oscar for her work on Oliver Stone's war drama, Platoon (1986), edited Napoleon.
The film was shot by Oscar-nominated cinematographer Dariusz Wolski, a longtime Scott collaborator who has shot every one of the director's films since Prometheus. Another of Scott's regular collaborators, three-time Oscar-nominated production designer Arthur Max, was tasked with bringing to life France during the late 18th century and the early 19th century. And Oscar-winning costume designer Janty Yates, yet another of the director's regular collaborators, designed the elaborate costumes for Napoleon. Both Max and Yates have now worked with Scott on 15 films.