Earlier this year, Steven Spielberg announced that he would be producing an HBO miniseries highlighting the life of Napoleon Bonaparte, the former Emperor of France. The series will be based on the screenplay, Napoleon, written in 1961 by legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick.
Kubrick planned on making the biographical film after the completion of 2001 A Space Odyssey. Unfortunately for Kubrick, the film was never made as MGM backed out due to high production cost. Now, what has been heralded as “the greatest movie never made” could end up as the next historic miniseries to hit HBO.
Deadline reported yesterday that Baz Lurhmann (The Great Gatsby) is being approached to direct the series. Although no deal has been made yet, it does look like HBO and Spielberg (who produced the critically acclaimed Band of Brothers) will be moving forward with the project - and it’s possible the Lurhmann will be on board.
But they aren't the only ones interested in Napoleon. It’s also been reported that Warner Bros is in talks with Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) to direct a biopic about the French ruler. Competition over historic projects isn't anything new for Lurhmann, who was set to direct Alexander the Great, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, but missed the opportunity due to Oliver Stone’s Alexander, which debuted in 2004.
Though nothing is set in stone yet, Spielberg is moving closer to making Kubrick’s dream a reality. Given all the time and energy that Kubrick put into the screenplay, it only seems right that his vision will finally it to the screen. Choosing to develop it as a miniseries rather than a movie is no surprise considering the massive scope of the story and abundance of research that Kubrick did to compile it.
It’s no secret that HBO has been incredibly successful with all manner of original programming, including shows like Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire. With this new project on the horizon, fans have even more to look forward to. We should expect to see some big names joining the cast of the miniseries as HBO continues to demonstrate the ability to draw Hollywood star power (as they did for True Detective). In honor of Kubrick’s contribution to cinema, let's hope that the miniseries gets picked up and becomes another HBO classic.
There's no word on when the Napoleon miniseries might debut, but we'll keep you updated as more information becomes available.