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Joaquin Phoenix to play Napoleon Bonaparte in Ridley Scott historical epic 'Kitbag'

Tom Beasley
·Contributor
·2-min read
Joaquin Phoenix will play Napoleon Bonaparte in Ridley Scott movie 'Kitbag'. (Credit: Steve Granitz/Print Collector/Getty/Karwai Tang/WireImage)
Joaquin Phoenix will play Napoleon Bonaparte in Ridley Scott movie 'Kitbag'. (Credit: Steve Granitz/Print Collector/Getty/Karwai Tang/WireImage)

Fresh from his Oscar win for Joker, Joaquin Phoenix is set to take on Napoleon Bonaparte in a historical epic helmed by Ridley Scott, according to Deadline.

The movie takes its title, Kitbag, from a famous saying about how there is “a general’s staff hidden in every soldier’s kitbag” and will follow Napoleon’s origins as well as his rise as a military strategist.

Phoenix previously played Roman emperor Commodus for Scott in his 2000 movie Gladiator.

Read more: Connie Nielsen says Gladiator sequel is still alive

The 82-year-old British filmmaker has a packed schedule ahead of him, having just finished shooting another historical drama in The Last Duel with Ben Affleck, Jodie Comer and Matt Damon.

Connie Nielsen and Joaquin Phoenix in Ridley Scott historical epic 'Gladiator'. (Photo by Getty Images)
Connie Nielsen and Joaquin Phoenix in Ridley Scott historical epic 'Gladiator'. (Photo by Getty Images)

Scott will now move on to the star-studded crime drama Gucci, starring Lady Gaga and Robert De Niro, with Kitbag set to follow in an incredible run of productivity.

David Scarpa, who penned All the Money in the World for Scott, has been tapped to write the screenplay for this gargantuan Napoleon project.

Read more: Scott updates on Alien sequel

Famously, the notion of an epic Napoleon biopic was a passion project for Stanley Kubrick prior to the filmmaker’s death in 1999.

He had planned to make the movie in the wake of 2001’s success in the late 1960s, but found his plans for large-scale battle filming on location to be prohibitively expensive.

No Time to Die director Cary Fukunaga is currently working on adapting Kubrick’s script into an HBO miniseries.

Joaquin Phoenix, winner of the award for best performance by an actor in a leading role for "Joker", on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Joaquin Phoenix, winner of the award for best performance by an actor in a leading role for "Joker", on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

The role of Napoleon will be another huge one for Phoenix, who has previously played historical figures as varied as Johnny Cash in Walk the Line and Jesus Christ in Mary Magdalene, as well as Commodus.

He finally won an Oscar for his role as the title character in Joker, which went on to become the most profitable superhero movie of all time.

Read more: BBFC reveals Joker rating complaints

Talk of a sequel to Joker has inevitably been a big topic given the first film’s box office success — to the tune of $1.07bn (£828m) — and wide critical approval.

Director Todd Phillips said earlier this year that he is “open” to making another movie with Phoenix, as long as they can find “equal thematic resonance” in the story.

Watch: Joaquin Phoenix and Rooney Mara name baby after Phoenix’s late brother