Joaquin Phoenix in Gladiator

Two decades ago, actor Joaquin Phoenix and director Ridley Scott collaborated for the historical drama Gladiator, which saw Phoenix playing the unscrupulous Commodus opposite Russell Crowe’s Maximus. Now word’s come in that the two men are reteaming for another historical, cinematic tale, with this one also having Phoenix play someone who craved power.

Plans are currently in motion for Ridley Scott to direct Kitbag, which will star Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon Bonaparte, the French statesman and military leader who ruled as Emperor of the French primarily from 1804 to 1815. Deadline also reports that screenwriter David Scarpa, who wrote Scott’s 2017 movie All the Money in the World, will pen the Kitbag screenplay too.

With the title hailing from the phrase, “There is a general’s staff hidden in every soldier’s kitbag,” Kitbag is described as an “original and personal look” at will chronicle Napoleon Bonaparte’s origins and rise to power, with the story being filtered through the “prism of his addictive and often volatile relationship” with his wife Josephine. The goal of Kitbag is to show off Napoleon’s military genius and capture his famous battles.

News of Kitbag coming together arrives as Ridley Scott finishes shooting his next movie, The Last Duel, which stars Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer and Ben Affleck, and follows two men in 14th century France fighting to the death after one accuses the other of raping his wife. The Last Duel was originally supposed to release in limited theaters starting this December, followed by a wide rollout in January, but as a result of the current health crisis, it’s since been delayed (like so many movies lately) to October 2021.

While Kitbag sounds like it will be another interesting collaboration between Ridley Scott and Joaquin Phoenix, don’t expect it to be the movie Scott delivers right after The Last Duel. That honor belongs to Gucci, which will chronicle the murder of Maurizio Gucci in 1995, which was arranged by his ex-wife, Patrizia Reggiani. So far, Gucci’s cast includes Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Jared Leto, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Jack Huston and Reeve Carney.


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Gladiator proved to be one of 2000’s biggest critical and commercial successes, and included among its accolades was Joaquin Phoenix scoring an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor nomination. Phoenix ended up losing to Benicio del Toro for Traffic in that category, but Gladiator ended up taking some five other Academy Awards. Phoenix would later win his first Oscar for last year’s Joker, and he was also previously nominated for Walk the Line and The Master.

We here at CinemaBlend will keep you apprised of more updates concerning Kitbag’s development, including who will make up the supporting cast and when filming will eventually begin. In the meantime, keep track of the movies intended to play in theaters later this year with our 2021 release schedule.

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