Spielberg will shoot a series about Napoleon, based on Kubrick’s “the best film ever made” | The USA Print

Spielberg will shoot a series about Napoleon, based on Kubrick's "the best film ever made"



“It’s impossible to tell you what I’m going to do except say that I hope to make the best movie ever. ever made,” Stanley Kubrick wrote in a letter to his studios on October 20, 1971. The project that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer ended up discarding was none other than showing the life of Napoleon Bonaparte. Now, Steven Spielberg will fulfill the dream of what he considered “his greatest teacher” in a seven-episode miniseries that will air on HBO, as recently confirmed by the director himself. “With the cooperation of Christiane Kubrick and Jan Harlan, we are putting together a major production for HBO based on Stanley’s original screenplay, Napoleon. We’re working on it as a seven-part limited series.”

The director’s announcement has already made long teeth to lovers of history, cinema, series, or the figure of Napoleon. The new forms of consumption with the preponderance of series will facilitate the task of telling the story of a man who lived a thousand lives. Young and cunning soldier, revolutionary and emperor of Europe. Napoleon is the most important figure of the 19th century and one of the most influential men in history. His conquests forever altered the future of Europe, from the very configuration of the continent’s maps to the American revolutions that bled the Spanish empire dry, have their origin in the privateering campaigns.

Kubrick’s failed project

The film director Rodrigo Cortés has insisted on more than one occasion that “The natural state of a film is that it does not exist”, about the difficulty involved in getting any film to theaters. Not even Kubrick himself, who has just succeeded with 2001: A Space Odyssey He was able to dodge this maxim and his mega-project on the history of the French emperor was cut short for various reasons.

During the sixties, Kubrick began preparing the biopic project of the Corsican general and he did it in his own way, in a completely obsessive way. He saw each of the films that had been shot about the soldier, one of the most represented characters in the history of celluloid, none convinced him. He read hundreds of history books, had meetings for hours and hours with university professors. He sent his production team to photograph possible locations and places in France, Italy, Romania, Yugoslavia were noted. The project archive included up to 17,000 photographs and thousands of other notes that, in part, were collected a few years ago by the Taschen publishing house in Stanley Kubrick’s Napoleon: The Greatest Movie Never Madea book of more than 800 pages.

Of course I had also thought of actors. Can you imagine Jack Nicholson as Napoleon? He was one of the candidates that Kubrick considered to play the Corsican general along with Ian Holm or David Hemmings. For the role of Josephine, Kubrick was turned down by Audrey Hepburn, and instead considered Julie Andrews and Vanessa Redgrave.

Another maxim of any project is that as it grows it is easier for it not to occur. The filming of Napoleon planned to employ more than 40,000 extras to represent battles such as Austerlitz or Waterloo, and it posed other difficulties in production such as filming in Soviet bloc countries. But in the lineup of stars necessary for a film to be carried out, the box office failure of waterloo (1970) by Sergei Bondarchuk. The film failed to recoup production costs and caused Metro to end up deferring and rejecting Kubrick’s project.

Let us hope that history does not repeat itself since this year it will be released another production about Napoleon directed by Ridley Scott and starring Joaquin Phoenix.

two infinite directors

If one thinks of a list of his five best films by genre, it is difficult not to see works by Spielberg and Kubrick. The terror of the shot of the sisters standing in the middle of one of the corridors of the Overlook Hotel in The glow or Nicholson’s ax blows on one of the doors marked as much as the soundtrack announcing the arrival of the shark approaching the bathers. The symbolism-laden space fantasy of 2001: A Space Odyssey or empathy towards the landed alien from ET. Also the miseries of war, whether in World War II with Saving Private Ryan or that of Vietnam with The metal jacket.

It has been precisely the war genre for which Spielberg has left some of his great masterpieces and the one that allowed him to win his first Oscars for best film and direction. The Allied landing on Omaha Beach on D-Day, from Saving Private Ryan It is one of the best sequences in movie history. Spielberg was left wanting more and produced with Tom Hanks blood brotherswhich told the story of Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, US Army 101st Airborne Division. The series kept up Private Ryan’s bill and was one of the first HBO series to be a hit worldwide. Without leaving the Second World War but the war genre, Spielberg addressed the drama of the Holocaust, making the story of the industrialist Oskar Schindler known to the whole world, awarded with seven Oscars, including best film, best director and best adapted screenplay. .

It is not the first time that Spielberg will finish off a Kubrick project. At the end of the nineties, both directors talked and planned to bring to the screen the story of a robot that he was capable of loving. The result ended up being Artificial intelligencestarring Haley Joel Osment, the boy from The sixth Sensedirected by Spielberg in 2001, two years after the death of Kubrick to whom he dedicated the tape.

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