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Ridley Scott Reveals Napoleon Director’s Cut Runtime Exceeds 4 Hours


  • Ridley Scott is working on an extended director’s cut of the film Napoleon, trimming the runtime to about 4 hours and 10 minutes.
  • The theatrical cut will first be screened in partnership with Sony, followed by the director’s cut for streaming distribution.
  • Scott believes that Joaquin Phoenix is the perfect fit to portray Napoleon due to his ability to embody complex characters, as shown in his award-winning performance in Joker.

Ridley Scott is working on an extended director’s cut for the upcoming film, Napoleon. The film, starring Joaquin Phoenix, is set to be a lengthy adventure on the big screen, with a runtime of around 2 hours and 37 minutes. This historical drama not only delves into the military conquests that defined Napoleon’s legacy but also takes a closer look at his complex relationship with his wife, Josephine, portrayed by Vanessa Kirby.

In the latest update shared in Total Film magazine, Scott revealed that the runtime of the director’s cut has been trimmed to about 4 hours and 10 minutes. He explained that they would first screen the theatrical cut in partnership with Sony, allowing it to run its course in theaters. Afterward, Scott envisions the director’s cut, which features the extended runtime, becoming available for streaming.

“I’m working on it. It was four [hours] 10 [minutes] this morning,” Scott said. “And so what will happen is, we’ll screen [the theatrical cut] first with Sony, and then it has its run, and then the perfect thing is that [the director’s cut] goes to streaming, and we have four hours 10 minutes.”

Scott’s fascination with Napoleon as a historical figure is a driving force behind the project. The director’s desire is fueled by his admiration for the complexity surrounding Napoleon’s life. He firmly believes that Phoenix possesses the unique ability to embody the multifaceted persona. Scott previously said:

“No actor could ever embody Napoleon like Joaquin. He created one of movie history’s most complex Emperors in Gladiator, and we’ll create another with his Napoleon. It’s a brilliant script written by David Scarpa, and today there’s no better partner than Apple to bring a story like this to a global audience.”

RELATED: Napoleon: Behind-the-Scenes Look at Ridley Scott’s Upcoming Film Unveils the ‘There’s Nothing We Can Do’ Phenomenon

Ridley Scott’s Take on Joker and Joaquin Phoenix’s Performance

Apple Studios/EW

Joaquin Phoenix’s long-overdue recognition at the Oscars came when he claimed the Best Actor award for his exceptional portrayal in the movie Joker. This triumph marked a turning point in his career, as he had previously faced disappointment with past Oscar nominations. He had received nominations for Best Actor for his roles in films such as The Master and Walk the Line, as well as a nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his collaboration with director Ridley Scott in Gladiator. However, these nominations had left him empty-handed, making his eventual win all the more significant.

In a Deadline interview, Scott expressed his admiration for Phoenix’s performance in Joker. He was truly impressed by Phoenix’s remarkable acting, although he had reservations about the film’s celebration of violence.

“I was blown away by his outrageous film Joker. I didn’t like the way it celebrated violence but Joaquin was remarkable. I thought he’d be an amazing asset to Napoleon, [not only creatively] also in a commercial sense. There were only two actors I had in mind for the role. I won’t mention the other one.”

Napoleon is set to premiere in theaters on November 22, 2023.


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