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Ridley Scott reunites with Joaquin Phoenix for ‘Napoleon’ biopic


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Ridley Scott reunites with Joaquin Phoenix for ‘Napoleon’ biopic

Director Ridley Scott and cast member Joaquin Phoenix talk during a photocall for the World Premiere of the film "Napoleon" at the Salle Pleyel in Paris, France, November 14, 2023.

REUTERS/Stephanie Lecocq

The film portrays Napoleon, played by Phoenix, as the revered and criticized historical figure in France with a softer side uncovered by his wife Josephine, played by Vanessa Kirby

LONDON, United Kingdom – Veteran filmmaker Ridley Scott likens working with Oscar-winner Joaquin Phoenix to “a toboggan ride”.

The Gladiator director and star reunited after more than two decades to make the upcoming Napoleon Bonaparte biopic Napoleon, which premiered in London on Thursday, November 16.

“It was exactly the same,” Scott said of working with Phoenix, jokingly adding “I like stress,” when asked what he liked about his leading man.

The film portrays Napoleon, a historical figure both revered and criticized in France, as a ruthless military tactician whose softer, vulnerable side was uncovered by his wife Josephine, played by British actress Vanessa Kirby.

In addition to collaborating with Phoenix, Scott said he also wanted to return to a theme he first explored in his feature film debut in 1977.

“In ‘The Duellists’ I end on Napoleon Bonaparte. That’s the reason why. I enjoy that part of France and the whole ambience of that culture. So, I wanted to go back to it completely with ‘Napoleon’,” he told Reuters on the red carpet.

The director, 85, whose long career includes hit films such as Thelma & Louise, Alien, and The Martian, said his production team was dedicated to making the historical epic look accurate.

“Every aspect of what you see from armory to horses to saddles to hats, to the wardrobe, it’s all researched. I sit there like an octopus glomming all this stuff coming at me because they’ve researched everyone.”

“I’m like a child, I look at picture books. I go ‘I like that’. So, I don’t do anything.”

Filmed during the pandemic, Scott and his frequent collaborator for cinematography, Dariusz Wolski, orchestrated elaborate battle scenes, that recounted Napoleon’s conquests in Austerlitz and Moscow, and his famous defeat in Waterloo.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic I’ve made ‘The Last Duel’, ‘Gucci’, ‘Napoleon Bonaparte’, and I’m halfway through ‘Gladiator (2)’. We don’t stop. We ran that protecting it like an army. I had no COVID problems at all,” Scott said.

Napoleon is out in cinemas on November 22. – Rappler.com

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