Al Pacino Prepares To Exercise His Napoleon Complex

Published 5 years ago by , Updated August 22nd, 2013 at 3:39 pm,

Hollywood is famous for putting out competing films about a similar topic or character, which is exactly what’s happening with Napoleon.

The epic French Emperor currently is a figure in two movies that are in pre-production.  The first film is the historical romance Napoleon and Betsy with Harry Potter star Emma Watson attached. The second being Betsy and the Emperor based on the children’s book by Stanton Rabin, which former Godfather star Al Pacino has signed on to play the gutsy Frenchman.

Napoleon and Betsy takes liberties with the story – having a young girl fall in love with the French emperor (which will most likely play out well with “Tweens”). The latter film Betsy and the Emperor will stay closer to the actual known history between Betsy and Napoleon. However, since it is based on a children’s book, the storyline is much more majestic.

According to Cinematical.com Betsy and the Emperor is:

“Based on the true story of Betsy Balcombe, Rabin’s tale follows the 14-year-old as she breaks out of her family’s fear of Bonaparte and becomes his friend while he’s exiled on St. Helena. The relationship is based in fact, but the book then adds a bunch of flair with accidental death and hot balloon adventures.”

It’s being said that Pacino has wanted to play the stout French emperor for some time, but I cannot imagine that his ideal role included fairy tale themes.  Then again, can he really be picky after the disaster that was Righteous Kill?  Perhaps even the great Pacino should be forced to go back to the drawing board after an absolute failure.

What do you think? Is Pacino trying to get out of his comfort zone or is he taking the role out of sheer desperation to play Napoleon on the silver screen?

Source: Cinematical

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:
TAGS: betsy and the emperor

11 Comments

Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.


If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it.

  1. @ Sabrina

    A Righteous Kill was definitely horribe.

    I watched ‘Heat’ afew days before that so I was just thinking “man… together again (Pacino & Deniro) the has to be good!” — never have I been so wrong.

    I think Al Pacino = Good choice for the power-crazed madman…. but a childrens book like the film is for children…? It seems to me like you would have take a great many liberties in order to dumb down Napoleon in manner that is suitable for children.

    Or am I not undrstanding the films aim?

    If both of them are not ‘historial-type epics’ based on his conquests it will be unfortuante because there and no quality biopics of his story and I’ve always wondered why.

  2. Shortstuff was 51 when he died, so Pacino is way too old to be credible in this role.

  3. Curious to see how it works out. Not too happy about the kiddy bit though. We’ll see.

    I haven’t see Righteous Kill, maybe I will some day.
    I think I am one of a very few people who didn’t like Heat.
    To be exact, I had problems staying awake during it. I hardly ever dislike ‘great’ movies, but of all of those, Heat and (for example) The Deer Hunter didn’t do anything for me.

  4. Both Pacino and Deniro have turned into horrible actors ever since they’ve hit their mid-forties.

    Pacino acts the same in every film nowadays and his acting style is spreading. Samuel L. Jackson has already been infected with the Pacino syndrome.

    Pacino Syndrome = When you can’t act anymore, just yell at the camera in every scene… :)

  5. I think Pacino catches too much flack for his acting these days. I do wonder if he is short enough though. Remember when Danny Devito was supposed to play Napoleon in a film within the film of Get Shorty? I still like to think of Al as a capable actor. Take Scarface for example, a disgrace he was not nominated for that role. I have devised a list of the top 10 ‘hood movies if you care to read it. One of Al’s makes the list….

    http://thefilmnest.com/2009/04/10-movies-the-hood-loves-the-most/

    The Rake

  6. @ MANOWAR

    “Pacino Syndrome = When you can’t act anymore, just yell at the camera in every scene…”

    HAHAHA!

  7. @TJ, I loved “Heat” but the ending could have been way better.

    @The Rake, have you ever seen Pacino in person, he’s practically a dwarf. He’s only got a few inches on Devito.
    This is one character where he won’t have to stand on apple boxes throughout the film.

  8. Interesting indeed since we are celebrating Napoleon’s ONLY NAVAL victory, in Grand Port – Mauritius in 2010.
    Other interesting fact, Napoleon’s Confessor on St. Helena, Monsignor Buonavita, ended his days here. He is buried in Pamplemousses, in the catholic cemetery next to the Botanical Gardens.

  9. i think emma watson is too beautiful for al pacino but the movie goes like that so what i can do if my great gril emma watson will be with an old men.

  10. Sorry, I’m an old guy (80 ), not computer fluent, and thus subject to attack by the beasts. I started
    an email to you, but it flew off like a frightened sparrow. As I tried to say before I’m interested
    in you, not the Pacino performance. WE have the same surname, and it’s very rare in California.
    Do you live in Italy or USA? Did your family come from Pacheco, Sicily? My father, Frank had a
    brother who played in the NBC Symphony under Toscanini ( I believe his name was Sebastian).
    Are you connected in any way?
    Just curious. It’s nice to collect family info. but hard to locate.
    I worked as a school psychologist with special education children and as professional musician (trumpet) and teacher for many years. Hope you can respond.
    Thanks, Al

  11. Not so sure about him paying Napoleon now, given the age difference between Napoleon when he died (51) and Pacino’s age today (73). The period where he took his hiatus from films between 1985-88 would have been the ideal time for him to have taken that role on, with maybe Robert Downey Jr playing Napoleon during the years of his ascent to power (1793-99), given Downey’s resemblance to Pacino, with Pierce Brosnan as Wellington because of the Irish background. Because Napoleon’s career was so colossal it would have taken a trilogy of 3-hour films to tell his story, kind of like the Godfather. Napoleon is definitely worth a film.