It’s been over 20 years since actor Joaquin Phoenix and director Ridley Scott worked together on Gladiator, the historical drama that won five Academy Awards and netted nominations in seven other categories. For those of you who’ve been wanting these two talents to reunite, your wait will soon be over, as it was announced in October 2020 that Phoenix will star in Scott’s movie about Napoleon Bonaparte, titled Kitbag. Now word’s come in that Kitbag has been acquired by a streaming service.
As revealed by THR, Apple has secured the rights to Kitbag. Considering that Ridley Scott is producing Kitbag through Scott Free Productions, which has a first-look deal set up at Apple for television projects, it makes sense that Apple would also want to snag one of his upcoming movies. That said, Kitbag could have easily ended up at 20th Century Studios, which has a first-look for feature films set up with Scott Free. That’s where Scott’s next movie, The Last Duel, is located.
It’s unclear how much money Apple dished out for Kitbag, and it also remains to be seen if Kitbag will also play in theaters in addition to being put on Apple TV+, or if it will only be available on the streaming platform. Regardless, this marks yet another major cinematic acquisition for Apple TV+, which has already released movies like The Banker and Greyhound, has Tom Holland’s Cherry coming later this month, and has Will Smith’s Emancipation and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Killers of the Flower Moon as some of its features lined up for the coming years.
Kitbag will see Joaquin Phoenix playing Napoleon Bonaparte, the French statesman and military leader who ruled as Emperor of France primarily from 1804 to 1815. The movie’s title originates from the phrase “There is a general’s staff hidden in every soldier’s kitbag,” and David Scarpa, who wrote Ridley Scott’s 2017 movie All the Money in the World, is penning the screenplay. Kitbag will explore Napoleon’s origins and rise to power, with the story having previously been described as being filtered through the “the prism of his addictive and often volatile relationship” with his wife Josephine.
For Joaquin Phoenix’s first outing with Ridley Scott, he played Commodus, Gladiator’s main antagonist who had a volatile relationship with Russell Crowe’s Maximus. Phoenix scored a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for that role, though the award that year went to Benicio del Toro for Traffic. Phoenix’s more recent movies include Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot, The Sisters Brothers and Joker.
As for Ridley Scott, Kitbag won’t be his The Last Duel follow-up, as he’s also set to direct Gucci, which centers on the the murder of Maurizio Gucci in 1995, which was arranged by his ex-wife, Patrizia Reggiani. So it’s hard to say when Kitbag will start rolling cameras, but clearly Apple was eager to add the project to its content lineup.
Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates on Kitbag’s development. Don’t forget to browse through our 2021 release schedule to learn what movies are arriving later this year.