Steven Spielberg told French TV station that his next project will be to adapt Stanley Kubrick’s long lost Napoleon Bonaparte biopic into a television miniseries. Stanley Kubrick wrote and researched a screenplay on the life of Napoleon throughout the seventies, but eventually abandoned the project. Steven Spielberg has now picked up the screenplay and research materials and hopes to mold them into reality in a way the legendary auteur never could.
Kubrick was originally set to make the film directly after his 1968 magnum opus “2001: A Space Odyssey”. Kubrick tapped Anthony Burgess, the novelist who wrote “A Clockwork Orange”, to write a Napoleon book for him to adapt.
Kubrick showed much enthusiasm for the project, at one time even saying it would be “the best movie ever made”. He rejected the first half of Burgess’s book, however, and by the eighties the project was dead in the water.
Spielberg directed “AI: Artificial Intelligence” in 2001, also an adaptation of an abandoned Stanley Kubrick project. It was an effort I consider to be his most technically sophisticated since 1971’s “Duel”. Adapting Kubrick apparently brings out the closeted auteur in Spielberg, a welcome refuge from the overwhelming drag of aesthetically commercial films he usually produces.
No word on what Spielberg’s official role will be – director or producer – or what channel the miniseries will be produced for. The news at this moment is only that it is happening.
The lost Napoleon epic is legendary among film scholars and enthusiasts and was listed as one of the fifty greatest movies never made by film critic Chris Gore in 1999 – the year of Kubrick’s death.