There are a number of projects in various stages of development that Stanley Kubrick left behind when he passed away prior to the release of Eyes Wide Shut. While some will never see the light of day under different hands, a few have re-emerged. Steven Spielberg, who brought A.I. to life from the director’s script, previously announced he’ll be executive-producing Napoleon, one of Kubrick’s long-gestating projects, which he heavily researched in the 1960’s. While it was rumored that Baz Lurhmann might get in the director’s chair for it, a perhaps more-fitting helmer is now in talks to direct the ambitious project.
Following reports out of a Kubrick symposium at De Montfort University Leicester, HBO has now confirmed to THR that Cary Fukunaga is indeed in talks to direct the six-hour miniseries. Chronicling the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte’s mission to conquer Europe in the 19th century, one can read Kubrick’s original script for it here. Clocking in at 155 pages, it includes epic battle sequences and intense family drama. There’s also an interesting section at the conclusion featuring Kubrick’s precise production plans. Foreseeing the film would clock in at 180 minutes, he broke up the 150-day shoot from July to September of 1969, which would include up to 15,000 extras as troops (although Romania offered 30,000), 500 books for research, shooting in 70mm, and more.
The database he collected of over 17,000 images is now available to the team thanks to Kubrick’s long-time producer Jan Harlan, and it’ll be put to good use. With the project, co-produced by HBO and MGM, “inspired” by that original script, it will also be “informed by the Kubrick estate and his extensive, personally curated archive.” “I am sure HBO will take full advantage of the material we have. We have provided [them] with stacks of material,” Harlan said. “I am delighted that Stanley’s huge efforts may finally lead to a film. Six hours would have been his dream, but this wasn’t possible at the time.”
This is quite an undertaking for Fukunaga, who only has three films under his belt, but experience in the world of HBO and the mini-series medium with the first outing of True Detective. With Kubrick only planning for a three-hour film, it’ll be quite intriguing to see how Fukunaga and crew expand this story, and hopefully HBO gives him all the resources he needs to do so.
As we await more details, check out a recent talk with the director below: