New “Napoleon” Video Reveals Joaquin Phoenix’s Approach to Taking on Historic Emperor
“Joaquin was just so incredible,” is how Vanessa Kirby succinctly sums up working alongside Joaquin Phoenix in a new video for Ridley Scott’s eagerly anticipated epic Napoleon. Phoenix plays the titular conquerer and eventual emperor of France —his second time playing an emperor, mind you—he first ruled the world as Roman Emperor Commodus in Scott’s 2000 epic Gladiator—as Scott takes us into the dangerous world of late 18th century France. “Scenes with him just felt really authentic,” Kirby continues, “he was unbelievable about capturing the idiosyncratic, psychological portrait of this unpredictable personality.”
“I cast Joaquin because he was passionate,” Scott says. “When you’re doing a film with Joaquin, he comes alive; he’s evolving into Napoleon Bonaparte.”
“It’s really amazing to watch him touch the really dark places,” Kirby adds. “I could really see him tucking into that kind of psyche.”
Napoleon will take viewers back to France in 1793 in the midst of intense, bloody turmoil as the Jacobins have seized control of the National Convention and are instituting a series of radical measures. An example must be made, and a relatively unknown Napoleon Bonaparte is given a fresh assignment to defend the nation at all costs, and in turn, his ruthlessness serves him well. We see the makings of the French general who will go on to wage some of history’s most infamous battles, using his almost supernatural strategic gifts to build what seems to be an unbeatable army. As his victories mount and his acclaim rise, the General will eventually seize the throne for himself.
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 aims to deliver a film up to the challenge of depicting a man who really did believe himself flawless until, of course, his flaws undid him.
Check out the new vignette below. Napoleon hits theaters on November 22
Here’s the official synopsis:
Napoleon is a spectacle-filled action epic that details the checkered rise and fall of the iconic French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte, played by Oscar®-winner Joaquin Phoenix. Against a stunning backdrop of large-scale filmmaking orchestrated by legendary director Ridley Scott, the film captures Bonaparte’s relentless journey to power through the prism of his addictive, volatile relationship with his one true love, Josephine, showcasing his visionary military and political tactics against some of the most dynamic practical battle sequences ever filmed.
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Featured image: Napoleon (JOAQUIN PHOENIX, center) looks onto the battlefield in Apple Original Films and Columbia Pictures theatrical release of NAPOLEON. Photo by: Aidan Monaghan