Ridley Scott hopes to find in Vanessa Kirby his Joséphine de Beauharnais

Produced by Apple, Kitbag chronicle the rise of the emperor and already enraged historians because of the choice of Joaquin Phoenix and a partner younger than him to embody his first empress.

Ridley Scott should not stay long without his Joséphine de Beauharnais. The filmmaker hoped to start filming at the end of the month. Kitbag, his controversial biographical film on the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte through the prism of his romance with Josephine. Initially, the octogenarian director wanted to work again with Jodie Comer, whom he had brilliantly directed in The Last Duel. But the star of Killing Eve had to give up the project due to scheduling constraints, linked to a commitment to the theater. The rehearsal dates for his piece have been changed. A twist that annoyed the 28-year-old actress.

According to the specialized press, Ridley Scott would have set his sights on replacing her on another young English shoot, also revealed by the series: Vanessa Kirby. The star of the first seasons of The Crown where she played Princess Margaret, the sister of Elizabeth II, is said to be negotiating her contract to appear in Kitbag.

A Joaquin Phoenix too old

To play Napoleon in this drama which will be uploaded to Apple TV +, Ridley Scott has recruited his star from Gladiator Joaquin Phoenix. “He slips into the skin of tormented emperors like no one else. His chest of drawers in Gladiator became a legend, his Napoleon will do the same», Pointed out Ridley Scott

Except that the Oscar winner for Joker is 47 years old. He will not only have to play a Bonaparte of thirty to fifty years old. But above all, Joséphine de Beauharnais was six years older than her husband. By recruiting an actress who is younger than his partner, Ridley Scott gives in, some deplore, to the “anti-aging” diktat of Hollywood which still excludes too many actresses in their forties. Especially for others, the filmmaker risks missing nuances by “embellishing” this relationship and the balance of power between an older woman and her spouse.

Due to a birth fault within the imperial couple and following the early death of the first son of Hortense de Beauharnais, daughter of Joséphine and wife of one of the emperor’s brothers, Bonaparte and Joséphine divorced in 1809. Joséphine died five years later of pneumonia at age 51.


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