Ridley Scott's four-hour director's cut of Napoleon starring Joaquin Phoenix will premiere on Apple TV+. Sony will still release a shorter, theatrical cut in cinemas.
In an interview with Total Film reported by IndieWire, Scott says of the director's cut, “I’m working on it. It was 4 [hours] 10 [minutes] this morning. And so what will happen is, we’ll screen [the theatrical cut] first with Sony, and then it has its run, and then the perfect thing is that [the director’s cut] goes to streaming, and we have 4 hours 10 minutes.”
The official production notes for Napoleon read:
“Napoleon is a spectacle-filled action epic that details the checkered rise of the iconic Napoleon Bonaparte, played by Oscar-winner Joaquin Phoenix. Against a stunning backdrop of large-scale filmmaking orchestrated by legendary director Ridley Scott, the film captures Bonaparte's relentless journey to power through the prism of his addictive, volatile relationship with his one true love, Josephine, showcasing his visionary military and political tactics against some of the most dynamic practical battle sequences ever filmed.”
Napoleon Director Ridley Scott Is Inspired by Historical Dramas
In the official production notes for Napoleon, Scott says that he has wanted to bring the story of the French leader to life for years. “I have a preference for historical drama, because history is so interesting,” says Scott. “Napoleonic history is the beginning of modern history. He changed the world; he rewrote the rulebook. Apart from him being an incredible strategist, a marvelous, intuitive – and merciless – politician, I was fascinated with how a man like this – who’s on his way to take Moscow – could be obsessed with what his wife is doing back in Paris.” Scott continues:
“History’s very interesting, because we don’t learn from all of our mistakes. I think one of the reasons people are still fascinated by Napoleon is because he was so complicated. There is no easy way to define his life. You can read a biography to know what happened, but what interests me as a filmmaker is his character – going beyond the history and into the mind.”
Scott, who worked with Phoenix before on Gladiator, says it was Phoenix's performance in Joker that convinced him that Phoenix was perfect to play Napoleon. “I saw him and it all came flooding back – how we worked on Gladiator, and what journey he went on with that character, and I thought, ‘God d–n, there’s Napoleon.’”
The theatrical cut of Napoleon opens in theaters on November 22; the extended director's cut will premiere on Apple TV+ sometime after that.