Stanley Kubrick’s epic biopic Napoleon has been in the works since 1961, but after extensive research by Kubrick the studio cancelled the film due to high costs. After Kubrick’s death in 1999 Napoleon looked like it was one of his many projects that would never see the light of day, but now the same man who realized another of Kubrick’s unfinished projects, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, will resurrect Napoleon. Steven Spielberg has announced that he will head the project, the catch is that it will be on the small screen, not the big one.
Spielberg recently talked to Canal+, a French television network, saying:
I’ve been developing Stanley Kubrick’s screenplay — for a miniseries not for a motion picture — about the life of Napoleon.
Napoleon is almost certainly the most famous of Kubrick’s unrealized projects, so much so that books have been written on it. Spielberg, who was a good friend of Kubrick’s before his death will be working with his estate on the film. Some may be sour to hear that Spielberg is once again the man to revive Kubrick’s lost vision, as he is blamed for “ruining” the end of A.I. however this criticism is unfounded. The rumor that A.I.’s bizarre ending was tacked on by Spielberg simple isn’t true as it was Kubrick’s intended ending all along.
The decision to switch the format from film to miniseries is also most likely a good one, as the epic scope of the project may have been too much for one film. Details are still sparse, and there is no word yet on the number of episodes we’ll end up seeing.