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Spielberg plans Napoleon miniseries from Kubrick script

March 04, 2013|By Meredith Blake
(John Shearer / Associated…)

Having successfully brought Abraham Lincoln to the screen, Steven Spielberg has already set his sights on another titan of history: Napoleon.

In an interview with Canal + Television in France, Spielberg, who was recently named  jury head at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, revealed that he’s planning to turn a decades-old screenplay about the French leader written by the late great Stanley Kubrick into a miniseries.

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

The Oscar-winning “Schindler’s List” director didn’t provide much more in the way of details, but as cinephiles know, the miniseries already has a long, tortuous and well-documented history. In the 1960s, the famously meticulous Kubrick got the idea to make a film about the life of Napoleon. Despite a period of obsessive research, a draft screenplay and even a manuscript by “A Clockwork Orange” author Anthony Burgess, Kubrick died before the biopic came to fruition.

The miniseries, should it happen, will mark the second collaboration between the two filmmakers. Spielberg, originally a producer on 2001’s “A.I. Artificial Intelligence,” took over as director after Kubrick died in 1999.

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