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Napoleon: Ridley Scott Says These Films Are Like "Climbing a Mountain"

Napoleon director Sir Ridley Scott says that films like this are "like climbing a mountain" regarding their challenges. It will be released on November 22nd.

Sir Ridley Scott doesn't go halfway when making his movie. He goes big, or he doesn't bother to show up at all. So when we all learned that he would be making a film about Napoleon Bonaparte, we all knew it would be big. Everything we have seen from this movie has been massive, and Scott has even compared shooting the massive battle scene to actually planning a battle. However, as Scott explained to Entertainment Weekly, the entire production of Napoleon was a challenge that can only be described as "climbing a mountain."

"These kinds of films are like climbing a mountain," Scott says. "At the ground level, the peak looks a long way off. But as you climb up the hill with your partners in this ridiculously challenging LEGO kit of information you're trying to put together, sometimes pieces don't fit, and you're already at 20,000 feet. It's a continual, day-by-day process, but that's why I do it. I love it."

Napoleon: Ridley Scott Says These Films Are Like "Climbing a Mountain"
Director Ridley Scott and Joaquin Phoenix on the set of Apple Original Films and Columbia Pictures theatrical release of NAPOLEON. Photo by: Aidan Monaghan © 2023 Apple

One of the aspects of the film it will be showing is Napoleon's invasion of Russia and how it went down. Scott, having done so much of his own research and now writing about the infamous burning of Moscow, says that he doesn't believe that Napoleon was stupid.

"I don't think he was, in any shape or form, naive," Scott says. "He would have known very much what a Russian winter could do — and yet he went in a little late and stayed a little too long. And while he was in Moscow, he found the city was deserted. He wanted confrontation to see who could do what to who, but it was not what he expected. There wasn't much facing off on the battlefield like there was at Waterloo. The Russians employed a very efficient group called the Cossacks, who did a lot of hit-and-run continual harassment. … What happened with the burning of Moscow was he became even more impressed by what the Russians would do to obviate a loss. In a way, they neutralized his victory."

The easiest way to explain the Russian strategy for the fights against Napoleon was to "burn it and run away until it's winter and then let the weather do the rest." It's a brutal way to win a fight that Scott believes Napoleon admired, if nothing else. You can't win a fight you never actually fight, and you can't survive if everything around you is burned to the ground. Scott seems very excited about Napoleon, and we know he loves his historical movies and also loves working with Joaquin Phoenix, so all of this sounds like a match made it heaven.

Napoleon: Summary, Cast List, Release Date

Napoleon' is an original and personal look at Napoleon's origins and his swift, ruthless climb to emperor, viewed through the prism of his addictive and often volatile relationship with his wife and one true love, Joséphine. The film captures Napoleon's famous battles, relentless ambition, and astounding strategic mind as an extraordinary military leader and war visionary. Starring Joaquin Phoenix in the title role, Vanessa Kirby as Empress Joséphine, Tahar Rahim as Paul Barras, Ben Miles as Caulaincourt, Ludivine Sagnier as Theresa Cabarrus, Matthew Needham as Lucien Bonaparte, Youssef Kerkour as Marshal Davout, Phil Cornwell as Sanson 'The Bourreau,' Edouard Philipponnat as Tsar Alexander, Paul Rhys as Talleyrand, John Hollingworth as Marshall Ney, Gavin Spokes as Moulins and Mark Bonnar as Jean-Andoche Juno, written by David Scarpa, directed by Ridley Scott. It will be released in theaters on November 22, 2023, and on AppleTV+ at a later date.

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Kaitlyn BoothAbout Kaitlyn Booth

Kaitlyn is the Editor-in-Chief at Bleeding Cool. Film critic and pop culture writer since 2013. Ace. Leftist. Nerd. Feminist. Writer. Replicant Translator. Cinephillic Virtue Signaler. She/Her. UFCA/GALECA Member. 🍅 Approved. Follow her Threads, Instagram, and Twitter @katiesmovies.
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