Jodie Comer will no longer be reuniting with Ridley Scott for the upcoming historical drama Kitbag. The Emmy winning actress had been attached to star as French Empress Joséphine Bonaparte — opposite Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon Bonaparte — but had to bow out. Thankfully, Scott already has Comer’s replacement lined up.
Deadline reported Jodie Comer’s exit from Kitbag on Tuesday, saying the actress was leaving the project because of “Covid-related scheduling issues.” By the following day, Deadline broke the news that Scott had chosen Vanessa Kirby as Comer’s replacement. Mission: Impossible fans should be familiar with Kirby from her role as the White Widow in 2018’s Mission: Impossible — Fallout while The Crown audiences will likely remember her as the actress portraying Princess Margaret. She earned her first Oscar nomination last year as the lead of the 2020 drama Pieces of a Woman.
The film Jodie Comer is exiting sounds like a gift to either film fans or lovers of history. Kitbag is about the infamous conqueror Napoleon’s origins and eventual rise to power. Deadline says the film will explore Napoleon’s life through the lens of his volatile relationship with Joséphine. It’s not surprising Scott has chosen Joaquin Phoenix to play Napoleon, considering they already collaborated on the classic Gladiator, in which Phoenix played the unhinged and cruel Commodus, earning an Oscar nomination for his efforts.
When Deadline first announced Ridley Scott’s plans for Kitbag, the title was explained as being from the old saying “There is a general’s staff hidden in every soldier’s kitbag.” At the time, Jodie Comer had not yet been announced as being part of the project. Little was known other than Phoenix appearing in the lead role, the film coming from a script by David Scarpa who previously wrote the screenplay for Scott’s All the Money in the World, and that the man who is proving to be one of the busiest directors in Hollywood in spite of being in his mid-eighties planned to start filming not long after finishing with House of Gucci.
While Jodie Comer won’t be starring in Kitbag, she’s been busy in the last couple of years as well. If you’ve seen most of the bigger films of 2021, then you’ve definitely seen her work. She played the gamer Millie Rusk aka Molotov Girl in Free Guy and was Marguerite de Carrouges — wife to Matt Damon’s Sir Jean de Carrouges — in The Last Duel. She’s gained both exposure and accolades for her role as the obsessed assassin Villanelle on the BBC spy thriller Killing Eve, for which she won a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Actress in 2019, as well as a nomination for the same award the following year.
There were no specific reasons given for Jodie Comer’s exit from Kitbag beyond “Covid-related scheduling issues.” Her departure could be related to her starring in the upcoming one-woman stage production Prima Facie, written by Suzie Miller. While the 9-week run of the play in London’s Harold Pinter Theater doesn’t begin until April 15 — and Collider reports filming for Kitbag begins on January 15 — the actress will no doubt need some rehearsal time before she takes the stage.