HBO News Blog

Baz Luhrmann May Direct NAPOLEON Miniseries for HBO

By Jef Dinsmore on Nov 27, 2013 to HBO News

BazLurhmannIt seems that there is an old Stanley Kubrick script lying around that Steven Spielberg has his hands on all about the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. Now the buzz is that Baz Lurmann, the man behind such movies as Strictly Ballroom, Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby,  is being courted to direct the epic story of the diminutive ruler with a big ego.

The screenplay started as a movie written by the late & great Mr. Kubrick of such works, of course, as 2001: A Space Odyssey and The Shining. That project never materialized and eventually the un-produced screenplay ended in the lap of Steven Spielberg. He announced from the Cannes Film Festival this year that he had plans to finally get it to screen.  It’s been called “the greatest movie never made” in the past.

Napoleon

The big news for us isn’t so much that Luhrmann is a strong contender to direct but that the miniseries to be developed will be for HBO! Imagine another epic period miniseries on the channel. We have the world of BAND OF BROTHERS which is great and we all love ROME. Now all the historical accuracy of the Napoleonic age may come to life on HBO’s air.  Note that this production will take quite some time to materialize and we will have to watch its slow creation. We will take you every step of the way starting with updating this post when Baz Lurhmann is locked in as director.

  • Nahojism

    This sounds really interesting!

  • mwilson21

    Baz Luhrmann is a fantastic director, even if I haven’t cared for m(any) of his films. His style simply doesn’t appeal to me aesthetically, for the most part. But again, he’s a fantastic director. All of his films have featured good (even great) performances, which is certainly one of the most pivotal roles a director plays in any production – working with the actors. And he is – in his own way – just as meticulous and calculated as Kubrick was when it comes to the look and feel of his films. If he can dial back on his excesses, I don’t see any reason not to be excited about this potential miniseries.

    As is usually the case with any television production, though, the quality of the script is the most important aspect. The script was written by Stanley freakin’ Kubrick! Now I know that changes will certainly be made to the script all throughout pre-production and the shoot itself, but I’m still optimistic that this project could turn into something really special. The very idea that he’s ‘inheriting’ a legacy like this could prompt him to deliver a series that blows everyone away; that pushes him to strive for a level of quality that he has never even approached prior to this.

    It’s not as if Lurhmann is a bad director in the same way that Uwe Boll, George Lucas (sorry, the prequel trilogy is garbage), Joel Schumacher, Michael Bay, and many, many others are. Perhaps the material will elevate him to a higher plane. Or maybe the entire thing will be a huge mess. In either case, at least we know that the end result will be something original, unexpected, and (hopefully) interesting. I’ll take that over choosing someone who would take the safe route (*ahem*, Spielberg’s own “Lincoln”, *ahem*) any day.

  • SerTahu

    As an Australian (Baz is essentially worshipped over here), any interest I may have had in this has pretty much disappeared. Romeo + Juliet was only decent because it was based on Shakespeare and had DiCaprio, and Strictly Ballroom is one of only two films to be so terrible that it made me angry watching it (the other film being David Lynch’s Dune). Luhrmann is an incredibly overrated director.

  • I’ll be very interested in how this develops, I studied Napoleon for a year in college. I’m honestly not too hyped at the moment (I’m a bit skeptical about Baz), but hopefully I will be as more news comes in!

  • Eleonora Iafano

    Hm. Very interesting, indeed. I love period piece movies and series, so this will be great if it gets adapted, produced and brought to fruition. Any suggestions from HBO Watch fans as who they would like to see cast in this? Napoleon has to be short in stature, while Josephine needs to be a bit taller. Trying to think of willowy brunette actresses and the only people that come to my mind right now are Jennifer Lawrence, Shailene Woodley and Natalie Dormer (yes, I know, I am biased with my last choice).

    • Funnily enough, the common belief that Nap was short isn’t true. He was of average height for the time, which was shorter than the average height these days.

      • Eleonora Iafano

        I’m 5 feet. Anyone who is taller than me is considered tall! So, I guess he was about 5’6, 5’7? :) Maybe this series will pack quite a punch!

    • mwilson21

      Daniel Radcliffe would be my first choice, after thinking about it for a bit. His work on the “Harry Potter” films got better with each subsequent film, and his work outside of that series has been uniformly fantastic.

  • Jojocotto

    I like Baz Luhrmann, I love Stanley Kubrick. I cannot think of a director less suited to adapt Kubrick’s meticulously planned vision for Napolean than Luhrmann. They should be starting from scratch, not from his script/extensive planning.

    • I’ll admit this is a surprising pick for director if true. I like that he’s a well-known face and can obviously make big things that work. I’m thinking he’ll play a role similar to Martin Scorsese on Boardwalk Empire where he’s more of a consultant/producer than an actual director. That directing roll could be picked up by multiple people as it is with other HBO shows.

      Who knows though. This would be a defining moment for Luhrmann and I bet he’d step up. He’s a vet at least.

      • Jojocotto

        I’m sure it has a long way to go to make it to any screen but I hope someone makes sure there’s not confetti coming out of the battlefield cannons, nonstop camera zooms and overdubbing. Lurmann is definitely a talent and his style is great for certain projects I just don’t want to see a clash of styles with Kubrick material which to me sunk A.I.

        • Yep. Totally agree. Baz is going to have to divert from his normal style that he’s famous for to pull this off. I think he knows that though.. I hope.










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