As his blockbuster James Bond movie No Time to Die is set to hit theaters tomorrow, director Cary Joji Fukunaga has news about what’s next on his docket. In an interview with Collider, Fukunaga spoke about a long-awaited project about Napoleon Bonaparte, which was originally set to be made by filmmaker Stanley Kubrick back in 1969 with Jack Nicholson in the lead role. While the film was swiftly cancelled by MGM, it remains alive, with Steven Spielberg coming on board to turn the concept into a television series for HBO.
Fukunaga shared that Napoleon that he has “been working on [Napoleon] now for, I wanna say, four or five years, maybe longer. So yeah, I’m definitely involved in that. We’ve got all the scripts of the episodes now and we’re getting ready to see where the next stage is on it. So it’s happening.” Part of Fukunaga’s preparation has included meeting with Kubrick’s living family members and visiting his estate in Hertfordshire, England. “I’ve spent a lot of time in his library and at the house at St Albans with Christiane, his wife, and Jan [Harlan], his brother-in-law. It’s pretty awesome to just even be in the presence of Kubrick’s library,” he said.
Bonaparte is a military leader best remembered as a strategist and as the Emperor of France in the early 1800s. He was defeated at Waterloo in 1815 and died at the age of 51 in 1821. There have been numerous cinematic depictions of Bonaparte in the past, including with Rod Steiger in Waterloo in 1970 and with Ian Holm in The Emperor’s New Clothes in 2001. Joaquin Phoenix will be portraying Bonaparte in a film helmed by his Gladiator director Ridley Scott announced last year.
In addition to No Time to Die, Fukunaga has a good deal of experience with successful television and streaming projects. He directed Beasts of No Nation, which was one of Netflix’s first major film endeavors, as well as the Netflix limited series Maniac and the TNT drama The Alienist. He won an Emmy for his directing work on season one of HBO’s True Detective.