The global premiere of Ridley Scott’s much-anticipated biopic “Napoleon” was held in Paris on Tuesday night, bringing together the film’s star-studded cast on the red carpet. The event was particularly notable as it followed closely on the heels of the recent resolution of strikes in Hollywood.
In this epic portrayal, Joaquin Phoenix takes on the complex role of Napoleon Bonaparte, a figure who continues to evoke mixed sentiments in France. The film explores the dichotomies of Napoleon’s character, showing him as a ruthless military leader while also delving into his more vulnerable side, as seen through the eyes of his wife, Josephine de Beauharnais, portrayed by Vanessa Kirby.
Tom Rothman, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group, expressed his relief at the timely conclusion of the industry strikes, noting how fortunate it was for the movie’s release schedule. “I feel very fortunate the strike ended in time,” Rothman remarked.
Vanessa Kirby, who stepped into the role of Josephine following Jodie Comer’s departure due to scheduling conflicts, shared insights into her portrayal of the empress. Kirby’s performance drew from various historical descriptions of Beauharnais, particularly focusing on her experiences as a woman navigating a predominantly masculine world and her grace in facing the challenges of her public divorce from Napoleon.
The film, shot during the pandemic, showcases Ridley Scott’s directorial prowess and Dariusz Wolski’s cinematography skills, especially in the elaborate battle scenes depicting Napoleon’s campaigns in Austerlitz and Moscow, and his infamous defeat at Waterloo. These scenes not only highlight the grandeur and intensity of military tactics but also offer a glimpse into the personal aspects of Napoleon’s life.
French actor Tahar Rahim, who plays Revolutionary-era politician Paul Barras in the film, described Napoleon as a figure of power and tyranny, yet a man deeply enamored by a woman. Rahim’s characterization adds depth to the narrative, presenting a multifaceted view of one of history’s most discussed figures.
“Napoleon,” with its blend of historical narrative and personal drama, promises to be a cinematic journey into the life of a man who shaped much of modern European history. The film’s premiere in Paris sets the stage for its anticipated global reception.