See The First Look At Joaquin Phoenix As Napoleon 

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

Recently, fans have been rightfully criticizing the Apple Vision Pro because of its bad aesthetic that makes the failed Google Glass designs look like works of art. Still, there were some interesting surprises tucked into the company’s recent Twitter preview of the product, especially when the actors in the video don the headset and begin looking at different exotic vistas. And buried in this strange montage of scenes was our first look at Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon from the upcoming Ridley Scott film of the same name.

Joaquin Phoenix is an accomplished actor who seems to have internalized the old advice from legendary director Martin Scorsese to make “one for them, one for me.” Therefore, Phoenix isn’t afraid to appear in bigger and splashier films, including the first Joker and its upcoming sequel. But in between these high-profile blockbusters, he prefers quieter roles that are far likelier to garner critical praise, and it looks like Ridley Scott’s Napoleon will certainly fit the bill.

joaquin phoenix
Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon in the Apple Vision Pro ad

Long-time movie fans already know that Napoleon is not the first time that Joaquin Phoenix has worked with Ridley Scott. Previously, the two worked together on Scott’s hit film Gladiator, where Phoenix memorably played the evil Emperor Commodus who torments (and is ultimately defeated by) the titular gladiator played by Russel Crowe. And while Scott is planning to direct a highly-anticipated Gladiator sequel, he and Phoenix are currently focusing their creative energies on completing Napoleon.

If you mostly remember Napoleon from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, in which he was summed up as “the short, dead dude,” then Scott’s upcoming film will certainly give you a crash course on the French leader’s life. Rather than focusing on a Napoleon who is already in power, Joaquin Phoenix will play Napoleon as he rises to the position of the emperor while navigating a very tempestuous relationship with his wife, Josephine. While we don’t know much about the film beyond these details, it sounds like the movie will (like Gladiator before it) find the sweet spot between epic action and quiet character drama.

Unfortunately, those hoping to learn more about the movie from the Apple Vision Pro teaser are going to be very disappointed. We really just get a quick glimpse of Joaquin Phoenix looking intense and brooding in a way that makes him seem much more like Batman than the Joker. Still, this single shot of Napoleon on the high seas has been enough to give fans hope that this film will be partially inspired by Peter Weir’s iconic Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.

And as much as we’re looking forward to seeing Joaquin Phoenix method act his heart out, we’re mostly fascinated by the fact that Ridley Scott is in the midst of a genuine creative renaissance. The veteran director is 85 years old, and rather than retiring, he keeps creating new films like Napoleon while also getting ready to direct a Gladiator sequel and another Alien prequel. Scott is even serving as executive producer on television shows based on his films Alien and Blade Runner, so we’re beginning to think there is nothing this outrageous octogenarian can’t do.