Joaquin Phoenix has officially found his latest role. According to a recent report, Phoenix has signed on to play the leading role of Napoleon Bonaparte in Kitbag, the upcoming biopic that is set to be directed by Ridley Scott. The film, which is reportedly set at Disney's 20th Century Studios, will tell the story of the 19th century French Emperor, and particularly his origins and his volatile relationship with his wife, Josephine. Scott is expected to direct and produce the project through his Scott Free production company, with Kevin Walsh also serving as producer.
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".
This will serve as one of the latest acting gigs for Phoenix, who most recently won an Academy Award for playing the title role in DC's Joker movie. The film, which went on to earn over $1 billion at the global box office, saw Phoenix defying fans' expectations by finally stepping into a comic book movie role.
“He liked the spirit of what the movie was, a sort of anti-comic book film or whatever,” Joker director Todd Phillips said in an interview earlier this year. “However you wanted to classify it. He only responded to the spirit, but he also wasn’t somebody who ever thought that he would be in a comic book film. I think, I don’t want to say for sure. I’m sure he’s turned down comic book films in the past. So, that was the biggest hurdle.”
“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,” Phillips added. “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.”