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Baz Luhrmann Eyed To Direct Steven Spielberg-Produced & Former Stanley Kubrick Dream Project 'Napoleon' For HBO

Television
by Kevin Jagernauth
November 26, 2013 6:23 PM
31 Comments
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From Shakespeare to F. Scott Fitzgerald, from the outback of "Australia" to the dizzying heights of "Moulin Rouge," whatever you can say about director Baz Luhrmann, lacking vision isn't one of them. And perhaps in a strange way, his operatic scale and readiness to work on a huge canvas makes total sense for this next gig.

Deadline reports that things are being put together for Luhrmann to helm the Steven Spielberg-produced HBO miniseries biopic "Napoleon." The project rises out of the ashes of Stanley Kubrick's long-developing, never made movie about the legendary French military leader. "I've been developing Stanley Kubrick's screenplay -- for a miniseries not for a motion picture -- about the life of Napoleon. Kubrick wrote the script in 1961, a long time ago," Spielberg said this past spring. But there are still a lot of questions to be answered.

Has any other writer stepped in on this new iteration? Does the production have access to the wealth of material Kubrick accumulated (enough that thre's a book about his research)? How long will this miniseries actually be? Our guess is that until a director is locked down—Deadline notes "deals are a long way from being made"—those queries will go answered. But undoubtedly the combination of Luhrmann/Spielberg/Kubrick is pretty exciting. So we'll see how this goes, and we'd guess so too will Rupert Sanders, who has a rival project brewing at Warner Bros.

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31 Comments

  • Luis Berini | November 27, 2013 1:39 PMReply

    Carnahan with Ellroy's White Jazz, Ellroys Clandestine adaptation. So many dreamed projects.

  • Luis Berini | November 27, 2013 1:36 PMReply

    Or a Herzog version of Thomas Bernhards The Loser, Kauffman's Frank or Francis, Tarantino making a little gem in the mood of Jackie Brown with Jim Thompson's Savage Night or Pop 1280, Tender is the Night, A Goodbye film by Eastwood with Spike Lee, and Linklater tackling Philip's K Dick Again. And where's Richard Kelly?

  • Luis Berini | November 27, 2013 1:28 PMReply

    Didnt see this one coming. And I think its a great idea and many of you would be surpised of the guy's visuals, music and tone. Would probably be his darkest film ever.
    Seems like Hollywood, who never left (99-2012 is the best decade of American Cinema since the 70s) is out of control now. I'd love to see that Chandler's "Trouble is my bussiness
    s" Kubrick's "Lunatic at Large", Norton's "Motherless Brooklyn" and Beatty and Nolan's Howard Hughes projects come to screen.

  • oogle monster | November 27, 2013 1:07 PMReply

    I guess I will be one of the few supporters of this collaboration. Luhrmann may be a bit spastic in his vision but he has a unique vision, and I admire that. I can't say the same about half of the other directors listed in the comment section. Sure- they are talented and wonderful, but when did it become so unbearable, so upsetting to support a director who enjoys great romance, great tragedy and great visuals? Yes- Gatsby was a bit disappointing (I still think The Playlist was overly harsh in their review) but Moulin Rouge was spectacular (Romeo + Juliet was wonderful, Australia not so much). I think it's WAY too early to start criticizing this venture. I feel like the same attacks were launched at Joe Wright after Anna Karenina- which by the way, remains the most underrated film of 2012. I appreciate directors like Wright and Luhrmann- they make going to the movies an event, not a chore.

  • Maxime | November 27, 2013 6:17 AMReply

    It's a nightmare.

  • beardy | November 27, 2013 4:36 AMReply

    Urgh! Horrible idea no hope to have Denis Villeneuve instead?

  • hank | November 27, 2013 2:22 AMReply

    I've always wanted to see Napoleon battle to a Kanye West song.

  • Ok | November 27, 2013 1:52 AMReply

    How about Duncan Jones or Rian Johnson? Someone who has vision and works well with actors.

    Luhrman would spend the entire time setting up complicated CGI tracking shots and forget to tell a story. He's like George Lucas with slightly better taste.

  • BEF | November 27, 2013 10:59 AM

    Uh, I think Luhrmann HAS vision. In fact his vision is different than everyone else.

    Does that make it great, no? But to say he has no vision is ridiculous. Also, he is good with actors. Ewan McGregor was never better than he was in Moulin Rouge. Joel Edgerton (save the first ridiculous 15 minutes) was great in Gatsby.

    I'm not even a Luhrmann fan, but let's have a little better perspective. c'mon this isn't McG.

  • cranly | November 27, 2013 1:25 AMReply

    Wow. Not cool. Way to piss on Kubrick's grave, Spielberg and co. Have you not even a modicum of taste or discernment? Utterly pathetic and needless waste of extremely promising source material. Not to mention the betrayal of a great artist's legacy. Was M. Night Shyamalan not available? I mean, seriously guys, pull your heads out of your asses.

  • Cranly | November 27, 2013 10:51 AM

    Have you seen Moulin Rouge or Australia? I'm actually utilizing my entire pre-frontal cortex in all its executive faculties with every above statement on this subject, making them the parts I'm "talking out of" as it were. You might try looking into that practice yourself.

  • sasa | November 27, 2013 5:02 AM

    Stop talking out of your ass.

  • M. | November 26, 2013 11:59 PMReply

    Can you say 'Butchered' ?

  • BEF | November 26, 2013 10:41 PMReply

    Allow me to be an enabler. I think Baz could pull this off decently. Separate your idea of it being Kubrick. He doesn't have the ability to make this because well he died, he also moved on from it long ago. Why hire someone to mimic Kubrick? If they were just doing an homage they'd probably fail more miserably. Just like AI was interesting segue of styles of Spielberg and Kubrick, couldn't a patchwork of Kubrick and Luhrmann be so much more interesting than someone hired to best to try BE Kubrick? Which is likely impossible anyhow....

    I doubt that they'll be using a full Kubrick script. It'll go to other hands. Also, Luhrmann when he slows down has some pretty good drama and visual chops. Maybe with a mini-series runtime he won't feel the need to cram the start and end with all these bursts of bedazzled nonsense.

    I think it could be interesting.

  • droop | November 27, 2013 2:44 PM

    Okay fine, last 12 years.

  • droop | November 27, 2013 2:37 PM

    I agree with you, but I do also think Lurhmann is pretty horrible. I say find someone else who has made a decent movie in the last 15 years.

  • BEF | November 27, 2013 10:56 AM

    @BEG - Why? If it's actually going to happen. Let's actually talk about it instead of moaning. There's only one Kubrick. I get it. I'd just be curious of what of his script is made. As a FILM FAN.

  • BEG | November 26, 2013 11:58 PM

    No ... Just Stop ...

  • BEF | November 26, 2013 10:42 PM

    *hired to just try their best to BE Kubrick.....

  • bohmer | November 26, 2013 9:42 PMReply

    I just fantasized about this series being directed by PT Anderson and it made me so much less excited then I already was with this prospect.

  • Andrew | November 26, 2013 9:56 PM

    I'm with this guy.

  • jimmiescoffee | November 26, 2013 9:10 PMReply

    kill me

  • Well | November 26, 2013 9:09 PMReply

    His films are dog shit and this is a shame, but the likelihood they weren't going to utterly miss the mark on this were remote.

  • yer | November 26, 2013 8:53 PMReply

    Anyone but Spaz Luhrmann.

  • CB | November 26, 2013 8:30 PMReply

    Fail.

  • Ugh | November 26, 2013 7:54 PMReply

    Because obviously when I watch the calm, collected intelligence of a Stanley Kubrick production I think it needs more glitter, random flashbulbs going off at all times & Sean Combs inappropiately playing at full volume on the soundtrack to drown out the dialogue.

  • Frank | November 26, 2013 7:02 PMReply

    This is like going from Orson Welles to Joel Schumacher. They couldn't get Peter Weir for this thing? Spielberg couldn't just direct it himself?

  • Davey | November 26, 2013 7:10 PM

    Peter Weir would have been awesome.

  • hank | November 26, 2013 6:46 PMReply

    do the producers have access to the wealth of material Kubrick accumulated? Um... if they didn't, they could probably start with that gigantic book that was published, that gathered much of the wealth of material that Kubrick accumulated.

  • PcChongor | November 26, 2013 6:38 PMReply

    Can't wait to see Josephine bumpin' to some "Magna Carta Holy Grail."

  • Glass | November 26, 2013 6:43 PM

    Cue the cliche Baz Luhrmann jok-- too late.

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