Joaquin Phoenix’s New Movie Gets An R Rating For Some Extreme Reasons

Joaquin Phoenix and Ridley Scott's new movie, Napoleon, will be an R-rated look at the famous French General, and thankfully, it should be out soon.

By Mark McKee | Updated

Napoleon Bonaparte is one of the most famous figures in all of history, so it makes sense that he would be the focus of numerous projects, one of which stars Joaquin Phoenix by director Ridley Scott. Some early reports show that Phoenix was so good that Scott decided to rewrite the whole film, according to IndieWire. Now thanks to a Twitter post by Cinema Solace, we know that the upcoming historical biopic received an R rating for strong violence, some grisly images, sexual content, and brief language. 

The news that Joaquin Phoenix’s turn as the French conqueror has received a rating brings a little more good news as it is being considered for a Cannes Film Festival showing. It was initially considered a lock for the 2023 Academy Awards season but was held up in post-production and missed the boat. But a rating and a film festival consideration mean that the collaboration between the two masters of film is now complete, and we are waiting for the release date and marketing push. 

Napoleon will center around the famed general and his tumultuous relationship with his one true love, his wife, Josephine. It will also reportedly focus on his origins and rise to power as an emperor and his brilliant strategic mind that allowed him to become one of the most regarded war generals in history. The film was originally titled, Kitbag, after the saying, “There is a general’s staff in every soldier’s kitbag.” 

joaquin phoenix feature
Joaquin Phoenix in Gladiator

Joining Joaquin Phoenix in the new film from Scott Free Productions is Vanessa Kirby (Hobbs and Shaw and The Crown), who plays Josephine and will likely be a massive part of the movie. She spoke about the film being similar to her role in The Crown due to playing a real person and there being a large amount of forensic research to recreate a real-life person based on witness accounts. She also mentioned in multiple interviews that her process focused on many books to find the character’s core and that she used music to complete a process she loves. 

Joaquin Phoenix and Ridley Scott last collaborated on the Academy Award-winning film Gladiator, which put the actor on the map by all accounts. He starred opposite Russell Crowe in the movie, chronicling a man betrayed by a spoiled and ambitious son of a slain emperor seeking revenge while rising through the ranks of the gladiator sport. The film smashed the 73rd Academy Awards, being nominated for five Oscars and winning two, including Best Actor for Russell Crowe and Best Picture. 

Now that we have a little more information on the film, knowing that the rating includes strong violence, some grisly images, sexual content, and brief language tells us that Napoleon could very closely resemble Gladiator. Combined with the knowledge that Ridley Scott rewrote the entire movie to accommodate Joaquin Phoenix’s stellar performance of the famed strategic war visionary, we can assume that this film could be one of the best in both careers.