Stanley Kubrick’s Lifelong Project ‘Napoleon’ Coming to HBO with Spielberg and Fukunaga

Stanley Kubrick was busy man. So busy, in fact, that several of the projects he’d hoped to complete before his death in 1999 went unfinished. Steven Spielberg’s 2001 film A.I. was one of them, and now Spielberg, as a producer, is working to bring another of Kubrick’s long labored over works to life, this time with the help of HBO and director Cary Fukunaga, who made his name with the first season of True Detective. David Leland of The Borgias has been hired to complete the script. It’s called Napoleon, and, well, it’s about Napoleon.

The miniseries is apparently meant as a study in greed, with Napoleon’s thirst for power and domination of Europe eventually undoing him. Kubrick began working on the project shortly after completing 2001, but due to the overwhelming scope and the potential cost, it never came to fruition. Part of the reason it would’ve been so expensive is that Kubrick had wanted to use upwards of 30,000 extras to recreate battle scenes. Now that everything is free, there’s no barrier to production, so of course it’s being made! That’s not true, but surely CGI can beef up battle scenes without requiring 30,000 actual flesh-and-bone people.

But, on a more serious note, this is very exciting, especially with the talent attached. The Kubrick family has opened the archive to HBO, so hopefully it comes to life exactly as the director had hoped.