Stanley Kubrick’s Long Lost Final Film Is Actually Getting Made And It’s By A Master Filmmaker

Stanley Kubrick's Napoleon, his epic war movie about the French General, was considered too ambitious in 1970. Steven Spielberg and HBO are bringing it to life as a seven-episode mini-series.

By Jonathan Klotz | Updated

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Stanley Kubrick passed away in 1999, but through his amazing body of work, his legendary visions continue to live on. From Spartacus to The Shining, A Clockwork Orange to Eyes Wide Shut, an incredible amount of the greatest films in history were made with Kubrick in the director’s chair. From reporting by Screen Rant, over 20 years after his death, his long-lost final film, Napoleon, is finally happening, thanks to Steven Spielberg.

Working with Stanley Kubrick’s widow, Christiane, Spielberg will bring the film to life as a seven-episode mini-series for HBO. The legendary director always intended Napoleon to be the “best movie ever made.” Still, restrictions in movie technology at the time and studio politics kept the ambitious project from ever getting off the ground.

Given the exacting nature he exhibited on the set of The Shining, including making Shelly Duval perform a single take over 100 times, it’s no wonder that when Kubrick decided to make a film about France’s most famous General, he went a little overboard. Taking information from over 250 books about Napoleon and his research throughout Europe, the final script was handed over to MGM Studio executives at 148 pages. Some of the shots, as written out, would have required over 50,000 extras re-enacting military battles, a feat beyond the scope of moviemaking in 1971.

Napoleon was intended to follow 2001: A Space Odyssey, released in 1968. After MGM rejected Stanley Kubrick’s initial script, he went on to make A Clockwork Orange. This was the first time that the director’s grand visions went beyond what technology could handle, and each time this occurred, Steven Spielberg was there to take the baton and finish what Kubrick had started.

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Haley Joel Osment in A.I. Artificial Intelligence

In 1995, Stanley Kubrick was frustrated while working on A.I. Artificial Intelligence and passed the project onto Steven Spielberg, fresh off of the groundbreaking success of Jurassic Park. Kubrick believed no child actor could convincingly play David, the AI robot at the story’s center, and he felt CGI wasn’t advancing fast enough. Spielberg cast Haley Joel Osment, fresh off of The Sixth Sense, and finished the film in 2001, two years after Kubrick’s passing.

The highest praise available in a situation involving finishing a project is when the original creator’s friends and family love it and feel like their loved one would have also approved of the final product. Christiane Kubrick approved of A.I. Artificial Intelligence and loved the film, which laid the groundwork 22 years ago for Napoleon eventually appearing on HBO.

An old film like Troy, which might be a hard phrase to read, but it’s true, managed to get hundreds of thousands of digitally created warriors onto the battlefield. Today’s technology is even better, and with a seven-hour run time split over multiple episodes, Napoleon can finally be completed according to Stanley Kubrick’s vision. The one guaranteed change is that Jack Nicholson and Audrey Hepburn will not star as Napoleon and his wife.

His future The Shining star was Kubrick’s pick for the French General, which is an interesting thought, but if these interesting times we live in have taught us anything, expect Tom Holland or Henry Cavill to be announced in the starring role any day now.