Steven Spielberg “Mounting A Big Production” For Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Napoleon’; Project Is Set As Seven-Part Limited Series For HBO

One of Stanley Kubrick’s lost projects, a large-scale biopic of Napoleon Bonaparte, has been in the works for HBO for the last seven years.

Steven Spielberg, who has been involved for at least ten years, now says he is “mounting a big production” and the project will become a seven-part series for the premium cable network.

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Deadline understands that the project is still in the development stages but it is nearing a series order.

Speaking at the Berlin Film Festival, The Fabelmans director said, “With the co-operation of Christiane Kubrick and Jan Harlan, we’re mounting a large production for HBO on based on Stanley’s original script Napoloeon. We are working on Napoleon as a seven-part limited series,” he said.

Kubrick had originally planned the film after the success of 2001 and did extensive research on the French Revolutionary leader. He had planned to film the movie across Europe, in France, the UK and Romania with around 40,000 soldiers.

At various stages David Hemmings and Jack Nicholson were set to star as the leader, who reigned between 1804 and 1814 with Audrey Hepburn set as his wife Josephine.

However, as a result of the cost of filming the release of Sergei Bondarchuk’s adaptation of War and Peace and the commercial failure of Waterloo, the film was abandoned and much of Kubrick’s work went into his 1975 film Barry Lyndon.

Spielberg has been involved since at least 2013 with the intention of turning it into a miniseries. True Detective’s Cary Joji Fukunaga was set as a director in 2016 with David Auburn, the Verve and Code Entertaiment-repped playwright behind Proof, writing.

It won’t be the first time Spielberg picked up the reins on a project that Kubrick originally developed. The film A.I. Artificial Intelligence began when Kubrick acquired the rights to the short story “Supertoys Last All Summer Long” by Brian Aldiss. He worked on a treatment for more than 20 years before handing it over to Spielberg in 1995. The latter eventually directed the film, which was released in 2001. Spielberg dedicated the project to Kubrick.

The announcement comes as Ridley Scott’s high-profile Napoleon biopic starring Joaquin Phoenix for Apple TV+ is already underway.

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