Joaquin Phoenix Led Napoleon Movie Lands at Apple TV+

Back in October of 2020 it was revealed that fresh off his Oscar win for Joker, actor Joaquin Phoenix had found his next big role and would play the leading role of Napoleon Bonaparte in Kitbag, the upcoming biopic that is set to be directed by Ridley Scott. News today reveals that the film has found a home with The Hollywood Reporter bringing word that Apple TV+ will distribute the project. Kitbag had previously been set up at Disney's 20th Century Studios, where Scott's company has a first-look deal, it's unclear why they may have passed on the project. The film will tell the story of the 19th century French Emperor, and particularly his origins and his volatile relationship with his wife, Josephine.

Scott is lined up to direct the film and produce through his Scott Free banner alongside Kevin Walsh. The film will be written by The Man in the High Castle's David Scarpa, who previously collaborated with Scott on All the Money in the World. Scarpa is also writing the screenplay for Denis Villeneuve's take on Cleopatra, not to be confused with the recently-announced Gal Gadot/Patty Jenkins adaptation. The film's title is derived from the saying "There is a general's staff hidden in every soldier's kitbag."

According to THR the official logline says the movie will follow Napoleon's "swift, ruthless climb to emperor, viewed through the prism of his addictive and often volatile relationship with his wife and one true love, Josephine."

This will mark the second collaboration between Phoenix and Ridley Scott, having previously worked together on the historical drama Gladiator. Phoenix's role in the 2001 film netted him his first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He would go on to be nominated for the Best Actor Oscar in 2006 for Walk the Line, in 2013 for The Master, and win the award last year for Joker.


“He read the script, he got it. He also got that it wasn’t a straight-up comic book movie, but it’s the same point,” Joker director Todd Phillips said in an interview last year. “It was still called Joker. It still says DC presents at some point in it, you know, so that was I think the biggest hurdle and we talked a lot about that. We had these meetings for months. And before he agreed to do it, I would say three or four months and a lot of questions. I think some of it was him just feeling me out, of course, and talked about the vibe and the tone. ‘What’s it going to look like and how do I work? What’s the approach?’ It was a lot, but it was great and it was really like prepping away. It really helped us down the road and I know.”

Check back here for further updates on Kitbag as we learn them.