Ridley Scott’s “Napoleon” may already boast an over 2.5-hour runtime, but the director says he has an even longer, “fantastic” 4.5-hour cut up his sleeve.
As reported in the latest issue of Empire Magazine, Scott said that the nearly 270-minute version of “Napoleon” focuses more on Joséphine (Vanessa Kirby) before she met Napoleon (Joaquin Phoenix). He hopes that Apple will “eventually” screen this longer version.
“It’s an astonishing story,” Phoenix told Empire about the theatrical version. “Hopefully we captured some of the most interesting moments.”
“Napoleon” will mark the second time Scott has directed Phoenix. In 2000, the star played a fictionalized version of Roman Emperor Commodus in “Gladiator.” Phoenix has since called his time on the high-grossing movie an “incredible experience” and the project his “first big production.”
“I really yearned for that experience again, or something similar,” Phoenix told Empire. “He’s approached me about other things in the past… but nothing that felt like it would be as demanding for both of us. And so I really liked the idea of jumping into something with Ridley that was going to be that.”
The film from the BAFTA, Emmy and Golden Globe-winning director follows the rise and fall of French leader Napoleon Bonaparte through his volatile relationship with Empress of France and Queen of Italy, Joséphine de Beauharnais. As the first wife of Napoleon I, she held onto those titles until their marriage was annulled in 1810. During their relationship, Joséphine de Beauharnais did not produce any heirs for the dictator.
In addition to Phoenix and Kirby, “Napoleon” stars Tahar Rahim (“A Prophet”), Ben Miles (“Coupling”), Ludivine Sagnier (“Swimming Pool”) and Matthew Needham (“Sandition”), among others. The film is set to debut in the U.S. and the U.K. on Nov. 23 by Sony Pictures Releasing. It will then be made available to stream on Apple TV+ at a later date.