Steven Spielberg is a bit of long shot for the Best Director Oscar this year (hey, he already has two!), but he’s already making big plans. They just happen to be for the small screen. As per Deadline, the legendary filmmaker is returning to something he did two decades back: Make one of Stanley Kubrick’s unrealized dream projects a reality.
While speaking at the Berlin Film Festival, Spielberg revealed he’s teaming up with HBO to make a seven-episode limited series out of Napoleon, one of the massive projects Kubrick never got to make. The project still doesn’t have a series order, but Spielberg promises it will be a “large production,” fit for the destructive/diminutive French emperor, who threw Europe into chaos in the early 19th century.
The series will be based on Kubrick’s script, which he initially hoped to shoot after 1968’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Both Jack Nicholson and David Hemmings were considered for the lead, with Audrey Hepburn to play his wife Josephine. Alas, after the disastrous reception of the big-budget Waterloo in 1970, which featured the likes of Rod Steiger and Orson Welles, Kubrick abandoned it. He later scratched his itch to make a period epic with one of his finest films, 1975’s Barry Lyndon.
Spielberg and Kubrick were close, which surprised those who thought the former is a sentimentalist (he’s not) and the latter ice cold (ditto). After Kubrick died in 1999, not long before the release of Eyes Wide Shut, Spielberg was quick to turn one of his pet projects, A.I. Artificial Intelligence into a downer summer blockbuster, and one of his most underrated films. Given that Spielberg didn’t ruin A.I., it’s a safe bet that he won’t screw up Napoleon either.