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Spielberg Developing Kubrick’s Napoleon


In an interview with French TV network Canal+, Steven Spielberg spoke about producing a Napoleon miniseries based on Stanley Kubrick’s script written 40 years ago.

(NYTimes) While another collaboration between Stanley Kubrick and Steven Spielberg would seem to require a time machine, a Ouija board or some sort of interdimensional extraterrestrial monolith, plans are nonetheless underway for these two celebrated filmmakers to work together again…

“I’ve been developing Stanley Kubrick’s screenplay for a miniseries, not for a motion picture, about the life of Napoleon,” Mr. Spielberg said in the interview. “Kubrick wrote the script in 1961, long time ago, and the Kubrick family — because we made ‘A.I.’ together — the Kubrick family and I, and the next project we’re working on is a miniseries, is going to be ‘Napoleon.’”

Mr. Kubrick, who died in 1999, spent years researching Napoleon, reviewing more than 18,000 documents and books while assembling a card file that cataloged every significant moment in the French leader’s life.

It was announced in 1968 that Mr. Kubrick would direct “Napoleon” for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer; then in 1970 it was reported that he had put that project on the back burner in favor of “A Clockwork Orange.”

In 1972, Mr. Kubrick (who had not yet made “Barry Lyndon” at the time) told Sight & Sound magazine that “there has never been a great historical film” and that he still intended to make “Napoleon.” But the project was never realized.

Of course, this isn’t the first posthumous Kubrick/Spielberg collaboration.

Development of A.I. originally began with director Stanley Kubrick in the early 1970s. Kubrick hired a series of writers up until the mid-1990s, including Brian Aldiss, Bob Shaw, Ian Watson, and Sara Maitland. The film languished in development hell for years, partly because Kubrick felt computer-generated imagery was not advanced enough to create the David character, whom he believed no child actor would believably portray. In 1995, Kubrick handed A.I. to Spielberg, but the film did not gain momentum until Kubrick’s death in 1999. Spielberg remained close to Watson’s film treatment for the screenplay. The film was greeted with generally favorable reviews from critics and grossed approximately $235 million. A small credit appears after the end credits, which reads “For Stanley Kubrick.” (wiki)