EXCLUSIVE: After blowing him away with her upcoming performance in The Last Duel, Ridley Scott is moving fast to work with Killing Eve star Jodie Comer again and looks to have found that next project to team up on. Sources tell Deadline that Comer is Scott’s choice to play Napoleon Bonaparte’s beloved Josephine in Apple Studios’ upcoming epic Kitbag. Insiders add that it is early talks in dealmaking process but given this is Scott’s choice all signs point to it coming it together. Joaquin Phoenix is set to star in the Bonaparte role, with Scott planning to direct after he finishes the MGM crime thriller House of Gucci starring Lady Gaga.
Sources tell Deadline that even though Comer’s star had been on the rise following her Emmy-winning work on Killing Eve, Scott had no idea who she was when he set her as the female lead opposite Matt Damon, Adam Driver and Ben Affleck in The Last Duel. Insiders say Scott was blown away by her work during production of the film, which wrapped and the end of last year.
With Kitbag, Scott had his Bonaparte in Phoenix but knew in order to get the movie right, the Josephine role was equally important. Their volatile relationship played an incredible part in how he did everything else in his life and knew not just any actress could play this part which only shows how impressed he was with Comer to have her in mind from day 1.
Apple Studios committed to finance and produce the movie at the top of the year when the package was brought to market. Deadline first broke the news of Scott’s plan to direct the film and reunite with Gladiator star Phoenix, last October. It now has a screenplay by David Scarpa, who wrote the Scott-directed Getty kidnap drama All the Money in the World. Scott Free’s deal with 20th Century Studios obliged him to show it there last fall, but it became free and clear towards year end, and a world rights deal closed quickly with Apple Studios, where Scott Free has its first-look deal for television projects.
Scott and Kevin Walsh will produce for Scott Free.
The film’s title is derived from the saying “There is a general’s staff hidden in every soldier’s kitbag.” The film is an original and personal look at Napoleon’s origins and his swift, ruthless climb to emperor, viewed through the prism of his addictive and often volatile relationship with his wife and one true love. While the intention of the film is to capture Napoleon’s famous battles, ambition and strategic mind, the love story he had with Josephine is just as important to the origins and the way the great military leader was.
Besides The Last Duel, which will premiere later this year in thick of award season, Comer is expected to shoot the fourth season of Killing Eve later this year. She also has the 20th Century Studios action comedy Free Guy, also starring Ryan Reynolds, bowing later this year.
She is repped by WME and Independent Talent Group.