A nice scoop from our Kemosabe’s over at Deadline recently with the announcement that Oscar winning director Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner) will be reteaming with his Gladiator collaborator Joaquin Phoenix – fresh off of his own Best Actor Oscar win for Joker– for the historical epic film Kitbag.
Kitbag is a biopic about Napoleon Bonaparte, the controversial French emperor and military strategist. Phoenix has been tapped to play the leader, adding the height challenged statesman to his ever-evolving repertoire of challenging character portrayals which include among others a tortured rockabilly-country crooner (Walk the Line), an on the make Army private (Buffalo Soldiers) and a traumatized and searching World War 2 veteran (The Master). Kitbag actually marks Phoenix’s third dalliance with Ridley Scott; prior to directing Phoenix in Gladiator, Scott also served as a producer on the 1998 Phoenix and Vince Vaughn dark crime comedy Clay Pigeons.
The term “kitbag” from which the new film derives its quirky title originates from the old bromide that states “There is a general’s staff hidden in every soldier’s kitbag.” This iteration of Bonaparte’s story is told through the prism of his stormy love affair with his wife, Josephine.
The new film is hanging its hat over at the 20th Century Studios (which will always be 20th Century Fox to this long in the tooth pop culture nut) which is where Scott’s own production house Scott Free has a movie deal. This marks a crowded spate of work for the legendary director who just wrapped production in Ireland on the Matt Damon, Ben Affleck film The Last Duel last week. Kitbag will actually follow the director’s next film Gucci which is set to start shooting in March of 2021. Joining Ridley Scott on Kitbag and assuming writing duties for the Kitbag script will be David Scarpa, himself a former Scott collaborator (Scarpa wrote the screenplay for the critically lauded Ridley Scott flick All the Money in the World). Producer Kevin Walsh will, along with Scott, serve as a producer for the new film.
Actor Joaquin Phoenix himself has a busy dance card: Along with the announcement of Kitbag, the actor has one finished feature in the can awaiting release, director Mike Mills’ C’mon C’mon. The actor has also reportedly been considering offers to reprise his Arthur Fleck role in an upcoming sequel to 2019’s Joker.