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Dream Movie Cast: Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Napoleon’, Produced By Steven Spielberg

Posted at March 11, 2013 by 0 Comment

If you’re a fan of either Steven Spielberg or Stanley Kubrick, I’m sure the news this past wouldn’t have passed by your screen at least once. The Steven Spielberg is sticking his hands back into the Kubrickian well to hopefully bring Napoleon to the small screen as a mini-series. The project is likely to be produced and broadcast on HBO, because honestly, who else would green-light the project anyways? And as our mantra goes, we’ve got some casting suggestions for you to entertain.

Todd McCarthy decided to suggest a few directors who’d be most appropriate for the project, but it just comes off as listing Hollywood’s most wanted directors and not something especially dedicated or appropriate material for the project. Spielberg is fond of Kubrick, as he paid tribute to him at the LACMA Art + Film Gala back in October. THR goes on to write about Kubrick:

Kubrick was devoted to the research involved, spending years extensively exploring the French emperor’s life. A LACMA exhibit highlighting Kubrick’s work shared a 1971 draft letter to studio execs, telling them, “It’s impossible to tell you what I’m going to do except to say that I expect to make the best movie ever made,” as well as an offer letter he wrote to Oskar Werner for the title role. He also kept a very polite handwritten inability letter from actress Audrey Hepburn, stating that she had decided not to work for a while, but “will you please think of me again someday?”

Spielberg spoke with French TV network Canal+:

“I’ve been developing a Stanley Kubrick screenplay for a miniseries — not for a motion picture — about the life of Napoleon.”

The question remains: Who would you want to see cast in the project as Napoleon, instead of Oskar Werner or in place of Audrey Hepburn?

Personally, for the title role I’d simply go with Daniel Craig or Jeremy Renner. They have very clear resemblances to Kubrick’s original choice, Oskar Werner, but they both bring a certain stern look for Napoleon. Even if he’s great at it, Renner is in need to shed that action hero vest for a little while and take up a high-end miniseries to really showcase those acting chops. As for Daniel Craig, I think we all miss his pre-007 days in Layer Cake and Munich, the latter being directed by Spielberg. You can only be the action hero for so long before needing to pass the mantle onto someone else. (You can go ahead and forget about Jack Nicholson. That’s not happening.)

I may not be all too familiar in my Napoleon history, but I’m pretty sure he had two wives: Joséphine de Beauharnais was Napoleon’s first wife and when she was unable to bear children after her first marriage, Napoleon divorced her and married his second wife was Marie-Louise, Archduchess of Austria, and later Empress of the French.

And maybe Audrey Hepburn had turned down one of those roles, but who’d be a better fit than today’s most wanted actresses: Jessica Chastain and Audrey Tatou. With every new picture, Chastain is getting more and more recognition for her work and as the soulful mother in Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life, you’d be hard pressed not to cast her. With Tatou, the actress has been rather low key since the disastrous The Davinci Code (honestly not her fault, the series form Dan Brown isn’t well known for its strong female characters) and she’s due to come roaring back after the surprisingly and well executed coldness of Coco Chanel in Coco avant Chanel.

Kubrick had been developing a script in 1961 and due to budget and production complications he was forced to abandoned the project. It was then reworked into one Kubrick’s unappreciated classic, Barry Lyndon. And we all know how Kubrick was an “obsessive perfectionist,” to say the least. Spielberg is working with Kubrick’s estate and it would mark the second time Spielberg will be working from Kubrick’s work, they had previously collaborated on 2001′s A.I. Artificial Intelligence that had been conceived by Kubrick in 1970s. Spielberg would then go on to direct a rewritten script.

If you’re curious, Alison Castle edited together Stanley Kubrick’s Napoleon: The Greatest Movie Never Made, it’s the definitive collection that encapsulates all of Kubrick’s work on Napoleon.

Source: Dream Movie Cast

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Mario Melidona

About Mario Melidona

Mario has produced and written several screenplays and recently directed and edited a Black & White Short filmed on 16mm. His newfound love for postmodernism and the rise of existential cinema has been a great influence on his writings.