Ridley Scott Wants To Release 4-Hour Director’s Cut, Will The Studio Let Him?

By Chad Langen | Updated

Joaquin Phoenix in Napoleon

Ahead of the release of his upcoming film Napoleon, Oscar-winning filmmaker Ridley Scott is already pushing for the release of his original director’s cut, as reported by Variety. Even though the film has a substantial theatrical runtime of 158 minutes, Scott told Empire Magazine during a recent interview that a significant amount of material was left on the cutting room floor. He said he has a “fantastic” cut of the movie that clocks in at nearly 270 minutes.

Ridley Scott is one of the greatest filmmakers in history, but would anyone air his 270-minute cut of Napoleon?

According to Ridley Scott, the four-and-half-hour cut of his historical epic offers deeper insights into Joséphine’s life before encountering Napoleon. He expressed his hope to Empire that Apple, the film’s funder, would consider screening this extended version in the future. Nonetheless, the current version holds considerable substance in its own right.

Ridley Scott is well-acquainted with the practice of capturing extensive film footage and subsequently discarding a substantial portion in the editing process. Differing from most directors, he has been fortunate to share this surplus material with audiences through director’s cuts of several of his films, including Alien, American Gangster, and Black Hawk Down.

Given his prominent stature in the industry, it is highly likely that his four-and-a-half-hour version of Napoleon will emerge at some point in the future.

Vanessa Kirby and Joaquin Phoenix in Napoleon

Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Ridley Scott’s latest epic offers an intimate portrayal of Napoleon Bonaparte’s ascent to authority, highlighting his passionate and tumultuous bond with his cherished spouse, Josephine. The film’s supporting cast includes Vanessa Kirby, Ben Miles, Ludivine Sagnier, Ian McNeice, Tahar Rahim, Catherine Walker, Paul Rhys, and Matthew Needham. The screenplay was penned by David Scarpa.

Ridley Scott promises the four-hour-long cut of Napoleon will include more of Josephine, played by Vanessa Kirby.

The film was first announced under the title Kitbag in October 2020, and coinciding with Ridley Scott’s wrap on The Last Duel, Napoleon secured funding from Apple Studios. Shooting kicked off in the United Kingdom in 2022. This movie marks the first collaboration between Scott and Joaquin Phoenix since their renowned 2000 historical drama Gladiator and is set to arrive in theaters on November 22.

In addition to Napoleon, Ridley Scott is connected to various other projects, encompassing both films and television series. He directed an episode of the TV drama Sinking Spring, which is expected to premiere later this year. The series tracks a group of lifelong friends and troublemakers who assume the roles of DEA agents to burglarize a rural residence, inadvertently exposing and dismantling the largest covert narcotics route on the Eastern seaboard.

Ridley Scott’s Other Upcoming Projects

Presently, Ridley Scott is hard at work on the highly anticipated sequel to Gladiator. Following the completion of work on Napoleon, filming on Gladiator 2 commenced in June, initially aiming for a November 22, 2024, release. However, the filming process has stalled as a result of the ongoing writers’ and actors’ strikes.

One of the more exciting projects in Ridley Scott’s pipeline is an Alien prequel. While plot specifics remain under wraps at this time, the script is being crafted by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett. The film is said to be scheduled for a theatrical release in August 2024. However, the prevailing writers’ and actors’ strikes are anticipated to result in a delay that could lead the movie to miss its intended deadline.