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Joaquin Phoenix Movie About Napoleon Is Coming To Apple Studios

Ridley Scott's new period drama will stream on Apple TV+, becoming just the latest big movie that the iPhone company has acquired.


Apple Studios is looking to compete with Netflix, Amazon, and other streaming services, and the iPhone company just made a big move. According to Deadline, Apple Studios has reached a deal with famed director Ridley Scott for his new Napoleon Bonaparte movie, Kitbag, that will star Joaquin Phoenix in the title role.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the investment might have been significant given the talent attached to the project. Production on the film is expected to begin in early 2022 in the UK.

This is the first time that Scott and Phoenix are working together since Scott directed the actor in Gladiator. Phoenix played Commodus in a memorable performance that earned him an Oscar nomination.

The screenplay for Kitbag was written by David Scarpa, who previously worked with Scott on the drama All the Money in the World.

Scott has a first-look deal for movies with 20th Century Studios, but that company apparently passed on Kitbag, paving the way for Scott to sign it with Apple Studios. Scott was already in business with Apple, as he has a first-look deal for TV projects at the company.

"Napoleon is a man I've always been fascinated by," Scott told Deadline. "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."

"No actor could ever embody Napoleon like Joaquin," Scott added. "He created one of movie history's most complex Emperors in Gladiator, and we'll create another with his Napoleon."

Kitbag--which is a reference to the line, "There is a general's staff hidden in every soldier's kitbag"--is just the latest big get for Apple Studios. In 2020, Apple signed the new movie Emancipation from Antoine Fuqua and starring Will Smith, as well as Killers of the Flower Moon from Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro.

Apple also stepped in to buy Tom Hanks' WWII drama Greyhound amid the COVID-19 pandemic, while Apple will stream the new Tom Holland movie Cherry from the directors of Avengers: Endgame.

As for Scott, his next movie is The Last Duel, a period drama that recently finished filming. The King Charles VI movie stars Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Jodie Comer, and Adam Driver.

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