From my movie review of Napoleon:
Little Boney Goes Hollywood
November 29, 2023
The Last Duel, a 2021 film by Sir Ridley Scott with Matt Damon as a mulleted French aristocrat chud battling honorably (if stupidly) a suave Adam Driver in 1386, turned out to be better than expected: not a classic, but quite decent, especially for a director in his mid-80s. (Sir Ridley turns 86 this week.) So hopes grew high when Scott announced he was making Napoleon with 2019 Best Actor Oscar winner Joaquin Phoenix (for Joker).
Granted, lots of ambitious directors have contemplated making a Bonaparte biopic, just as Scott’s revival of the sword & sandal genre in 2000 with Gladiator set off a race to make an Alexander the Great movie among Martin Scorsese, Mel Gibson, Baz Luhrmann, and Oliver Stone, with Stone winning (to his detriment when his Alexander proved a dud).
Most famously, Stanley Kubrick contemplated making a Napoleon movie to follow up 2001. But the project proved too daunting for even Kubrick, so he eventually applied his research into the 18th century to Barry Lyndon instead.
By the way, Steven Spielberg has been promising for a decade to turn Kubrick’s unmade Napoleon screenplay into a TV series. Famous movie directors just seem to identify with conquering emperors, whether Alexander or Napoleon.
But Scott is in some ways the anti-Kubrick.
Read the whole thing there.