Filmmaker will enter a historically complicated scenario in cinema
It was released, through the British website Daily Mailthe first images of Joaquin Phoenix (‘joker‘) What Napoleon Bonaparte on the movie set. With its premiere scheduled for 2023, the new epic has recently started production in London.
In its place, part of the grandiose scenario in which the production will boast has already been set up, and in the case of a film of the style commanded by Ridley Scottwe already know what to expect in terms of recreating sets and costumes.
The premise of napoleonas the name suggests, promises a vision of the rise of Napoleon Bonapartefrom their common origin until becoming Emperor of France.
In between is expected to recreate some of his most famous military campaigns, as well as his volatile relationship with his wife, and great love, Josephine de Beauharnais. Still, from a film-historical point of view, this is definitely not the first time the legendary French leader has been depicted in the seventh art.
Starting with 1927, when the French filmmaker Abel Gance put into practice an ambitious plan by the standards of the time: a series of six films recounting as faithfully as possible the rise and fall of napoleon. The first film, released in the aforementioned year, presented several technical innovations in the editing area.
Unfortunately, Abel Gance he realized that he would not be able to continue his project, since the production of the first copy was very difficult; in addition, there was still the general difficulty of producing films, largely because of the equipment available, natural at the beginning of the 20th century.
The second attempt came in the second half of the period, when Stanley Kubrick started a pre-production process for an adaptation. In this way he did historical research on clothing, locations of important battles and all kinds of necessary information.
However, the production never saw the light of day; even with the bad weather, the stillborn project gave life to several books and documentaries about what this film would be like, as well as the roots that would lead to the period classic, directed by Kubrick, Barry Lyndon.
This one that, partially at least, rescues the original idea of being set in the 18th century, with a certain attention focused on the European aristocratic structure of the period. As for the idea of the French monarch’s journey, the script, signed by the filmmaker himself, is the only complete vestige that such a production ever existed. Available online, it presents the proper structuring imagined for each scene.
It is in this complex cemetery of ambitions that Ridley Scott plans to enter, having as a negative point a retrospective, in the recent past, of poor performances with its projects, either in terms of acceptance or box office. As an example, three of his latest films (All the Money in the World, O Last Duel e Gucci house) were not unanimous successes.
The first closed the circuit with a worldwide box office of US$ 56 million to compensate for an investment of US$ 50 million and on the rating aggregator, Rotten Tomatoes, it shows a visible difference in the percentages of critics with those of the public. The second was marked by the financial loss, US$ 30 million at the worldwide box office, while for a budget of US$ 100 million.
The third is the best performing financially, with more than $100 million to date in considerable public support. Some factors may indicate the greater ease with which Gucci is performing so well, such as association with the famous Italian brand; the presence of a galactic cast and, more specifically, of Lady Gaga as protagonist.
With napoleon the British director will not be linked to a major brand in the fashion world or, at first, a name in music like Gaga at your disposal. In fact, he has on his side Joaquin Phoenix which is a name known to the general public, however All the Money in the World e Last Duel also had this advantage. They had in their cast names coming from the cinema, specifically, and not from an external niche such as music.
The production may indeed become a success; there is material for that, especially if the director takes inspiration from what was already there in the previous projects of Gance e Kubrick. It’s just the shifting retrospect of the recent career of Ridley Scott that doesn’t inspire the slightest confidence that he can deliver the long-awaited epic of the French emperor.