East Hampton resident Steven Spielberg has signed on to executive produce Stanley Kubrick’s unfinished and highly anticipated script Napoleon as an HBO miniseries.
Spielberg expressed interest in completing Napoleon as a television series three years ago when Kubrick’s family allowed HBO access to his archives. The project is now greenlighted with co-president of Amblin Television Darryl Frank and producer Justin Falvey joining Spielberg as executive producers.
The project will be helmed by Cary Fukunaga, who is most recently recognized for directing the first season on HBO’s hit series True Detective, with The Borgias writer David Leland hired to complete the script. The series will revolve around the life and times of Napoleon Bonaparte, detailing his conquest of Europe and subsequent fall and exile.
Often dubbed “the greatest movie never made,” Napoleon was a life-long project of Kubrick’s, who began writing the script in 1968 following his success with 2001: A Space Odyssey. In the years that followed, Kubrick meticulously researched Napoleon’s life, reading hundreds of biographies on Napoleon and traveling to Britain, France and Romania scouting out the actual battlefields Napoleon fought on. His aim was to vividly recreate the Napoleonic Wars, even gaining the support of the Romanian government, who were willing to supply troops from their army to serve as extras in the battle scenes. The film collapsed under its own grandiosity, the project becoming too expensive for the times.
Kubrick’s research and stylistic choices later went on to serve him in his making his underrated masterpiece, Barry Lyndon.
This isn’t the first time Spielberg has finished one of Kubrick’s scripts. Spielberg’s 2001 film, A.I. Artificial Intelligence was also a long-time project of Kubrick’s, never coming to fruition after his death in 1999. Fans of Kubrick were able to pick out the various nods and flourishes Spielberg put in the film that mimicked his trademark aesthetic.
As of now, Napoleon is only in the early stages with no premiere date released. Regardless, fans of Kubrick’s films can rejoice that such a monolithic project will be made a reality.