After working together on The Last Duel, Jodie Comer is in early talks to re-team with director Ridley Scott on Apple‘s original movie Kitbag, which will star Joaquin Phoenix as French icon Napoleon Bonaparte.
Deadline reports that while there’s no deal in place just yet, Comer has emerged as Scott‘s choice for the role of Joséphine de Beauharnais, who eventually became Napoleon’s first wife and thus, the Empress of the French. Though Kitbag will focus on Napoleon’s humble origins, his ruthless rise to power and his famed military battles, it’s his volatile love for Joséphine that will power the story, as Napoleon may never have become the great leader he was if not for her strength, support and ultimately, her betrayal.
Of course, Joséphine was six years older than Bonaparte and Phoenix is nearly 20 years older than Comer, but hey, that’s Hollywood for ya!
“Napoleon is a man I’ve always been fascinated by,” Scott told Deadline earlier this year. “He came out of nowhere to rule everything — but all the while he was waging a romantic war with his adulterous wife Joséphine. He conquered the world to try to win her love, and when he couldn’t, he conquered it to destroy her, and destroyed himself in the process.”
Scott was reportedly unfamiliar with Comer‘s terrific and terrifying turn as Villanelle on Killing Eve when he cast her as the female lead in his all-but-certain awards contender The Last Duel, which stars Matt Damon, Adam Driver and Ben Affleck, and wrapped production late last year. The director is said to have been greatly impressed by her performance, which is why he advocated for her casting in Kitbag, though she still had to meet with Apple Studios executives for the plum part in the historical epic.
Scott will direct Kitbag from a script by David Scarpa, with whom he worked on All the Money in the World, and he’ll also produce the movie under his Scott Free banner along with Kevin Walsh. Production is expected to start early next year, as Scott plans to shoot his next film House of Gucci this fall, with Lady Gaga starring alongside Driver and Jared Leto.
While Scott Free‘s deal with 20th Century Studios called for the director to take Kitbag to that studio first, the movie didn’t really fit in with the Disney division’s new mandate, so Scott took the project to Apple, where his company has a first-look deal for television. The streamer committed to a nine-figure budget for the film and took world rights off the table.
While Scott is off filming House of Gucci, Comer will be busy shooting Season 4 of Killing Eve this fall, and she’ll also soon be seen opposite Ryan Reynolds in Shawn Levy‘s action-comedy Free Guy, which is slated to finally hit theaters on May 21.