New “Napoleon” Trailer Unleashes Ridley Scott’s Historical Epic
Warrior. Emperor. General. Genius. Tyrant. This is how a new Napoleon trailer describes the titular conqueror in Ridley Scott’s upcoming historical epic. Napoleon is played by Joaquin Phoenix—his second time playing an emperor for Scott—he first ruled the world as Roman Emperor Commodus in Scott’s 2000 epic Gladiator. “Scenes with him just felt really authentic,” co-star Vanessa Kirby has said about working with Phoenix, “he was unbelievable about capturing the idiosyncratic, psychological portrait of this unpredictable personality.”
Napoleon will transport viewers back to France in 1793 in the midst of a period of cataclysmic turmoil as the Jacobins have seized control of the National Convention and are instituting a series of radical measures. A relatively unknown Napoleon Bonaparte is given the assignment to defend the nation at all costs, and as he steps onto the national stage, his brilliance and ruthlessness will put him on the map. Scott’s film will track the rise of the French general as he deploys his nearly supernatural strategic gifts to build what seems to be an unbeatable army. Napoleon’s many victories propelled him from military mastermind to the throne, altering the history of France and the rest of the world.
Along with Phoenix and Kirby, who plays Josephine, Napoleon’s lover and future Empress, the cast includes Tahar Rahim as Paul Barras, Ben Miles as Caulaincourt, Ludivine Sagnier as Theresa Cabarrus, Matthew Needham as Lucien Bonaparte, Youssef Kerkour as Marshal Davout, Phil Cornwell as Sanson ‘The Bourreau,’ Edouard Philipponnat as Tsar Alexander, Paul Rhys as Talleyrand, John Hollingworth as Marshall Ney, Gavin Spokes as Moulins and Mark Bonnar as Jean-Andoche Junot.
“I’m the first to admit when I made a mistake,” Napoleon says at the end of the first trailer, “I simply never do.” History proved the conqueror wrong, but Scott’s sweeping film takes up the challenge of depicting a man who seemed larger than life but who was, in the end, just a man—brutal, brilliant, and, in the end, tragically flawed.
Check out the new trailer. Napoleon hits theaters on November 22.
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Featured image: Joaquin Phoenix in “Napoleon,” premiering in theaters around the world on November 22, 2023.