Ridley Scott He turns 86 splendid years on the 30th and says he has no intention of stopping working. The legendary filmmaker was in Madrid with his girlfriend of more than 20 years, the Costa Rican Giannina Facio, who posed next to the director at the El Prado museum. The actress, who played the wife of Russell Crowe in Gladiator, was very famous in Spain and is known because she left Julio Iglesias by Miguel Bose, She was queen of the Marbella jet in the 80s and is close to Lady Gaga.
Together with Lady Scott, the living legend of cinema Sir Ridley Scott took over the Prado Museum this Monday to present in Spain his film about Napoleon Bonaparte, in which he stars Joaquin Phoenix, near the Goya paintings that bear witness to the passage through Spain of the former French emperor. “Filming a blockbuster is like directing an army,” said the director of Blae Runner, Alien, Thelma and Louise or Gladiator in the Jerónimos cloister, destroyed precisely by Napoleonic troops during the War of Independence.
The film, which opens in theaters on November 24 and can later be seen on Apple TV+, portrays the rise and fall of Napoleon from a double perspective: the battlefield, with spectacular sequences in which there were up to eleven cameras involved , and his obsessive relationship with his wife Josefina (Vanessa Kirby).
“My unit is made up of 900 people, 100 horses, 50 trucks to transport them, a hundred drivers… and that’s just for the horses, then there are the 700 extras; it’s a huge unit and you have to direct it in an organized way; the best comparison is an army, if you don’t do it like that, you have a problem,” he says.
His interest in the figure of Napoleon comes from afar. His first film, ‘The Duelists’ (1977), was a period drama set in France during the Napoleonic Wars.
“Napoleon did not appear but his codes and standards were very present,” he points out. “It was a film that talked about class struggle, the confrontation between an aristocratic officer and another ordinary one,” she emphasizes to highlight the parallelism with his ‘Napoleon’.
“If I say that Napoleon was a working-class Corsican, people will jump on me, but the truth is that he had no money, he lived as if he were from a humble class, and the only way to prosper for him was to go to the military academy.”
Scott thus alludes to the criticism he has received in France for what some consider a lack of historical rigor – Napoleon’s father came from the small Corsican nobility – and the filmmaker defends this as dramatic license.
He has also been criticized for showing him shooting at the pyramids in Egypt or participating in cavalry charges.
What Scott was interested in highlighting was how someone who started “with nothing” found in the army the necessary structure to develop. “He was good with weapons and in battles, he enjoyed it but, above all, his gift was intuition.”
“With experience, intuition sharpens, the danger is that there may come a time when you make a mistake because that voice of intuition can separate you from common sense,” adds the three-time Oscar nominee for best director.
The time arc of the film, which lasts more than two and a half hours, goes from the last stages of the French Revolution, in which he participated from Corsica – although Scott shows him witnessing the execution of Marie Antoinette -, until his death in exile. on the island of Saint Helena.
The highlight are the battle scenes where Scott shows his mastery, which he attributes largely to the fact that he himself draws all the story boards shot by shot.
“The best thing that has happened to me in my life is going to art school,” says the director of ‘Blade Runner’, who studied at the Royal College of Art in England. “My Napoleon story boards book is this thick,” he shows. “Sometimes I draw a filming location beforehand and then look for it, it’s a very efficient way of working.”
On the other hand, it ignores Napoleon’s contributions to the geopolitics of Europe or legislation, such as his pioneering civil code, which is not even mentioned.
A great admirer of Stanley Kubrick, who projected a film about Napoleon that he never made, it will instead be Steven Spielberg who will take the script left by the director of ‘A Clockwork Orange’ to direct a series for HBO.
Tonight Scott and Phoenix will attend the preview of ‘Napoleon’ at the Prado Museum, which has an auditorium for 400 guests. Upon arrival you will be welcomed at the Puerta de Velázquez by a group of actors dressed in costumes from the film, as Napoleonic infantry and cavalry soldiers.
Joaquin Phoenix with ‘Napoleón’ in Madrid: “You did very well by driving out the French”
Winner of an Oscar for “Joker” (2019), Joaquin Phoenix has returned to the command of Ridley Scott, 20 years after “Gladiator”, in “Napoleon”, a film that reviews his military conquests and his relationship with Josefina and which he presented this Monday in Madrid.
Although the film does not portray the Napoleonic invasion of Spain, the American actor has shown that he has done his homework before his visit: “You did very well by driving out the French occupiers, it is impressive, it was their first major defeat in Europe,” he noted in a meeting with a group of journalists.
“And furthermore, that led you to a new Constitution, didn’t it? Yes, very amazing,” he added a few hours before the preview of ‘Napoleon’ at the Prado Museum, with 400 guests and a military staging with infantry and cavalry included.
The film, which will be released in theaters this Friday and soon on Apple TV+, offers an intimate look at the origins of Napoleon, his rapid rise and his conquests throughout Europe and in parallel his explosive and addictive relationship with his wife Josefina, played by Vanessa Kirby.
Phoenix, owner of a model acting career with titles such as ‘Walk the Line’ (2005), ‘The Master’ (2012), ‘Her’ (2013) and ‘Inherent Vice’ (2014), acknowledges that he said yes to Scott without having thought much about what it entailed. “I had just had a child, we were in the middle of Covid and I didn’t really know what was happening,” he says.
When he read the script carefully he found many historical facts, but little information about Napoleon’s personality and his relationship with Josephine, so he had to do some research. The letters from Napoleon and Josephine gave him quite a few clues.
“I think there was a deep and real connection between them,” he maintains. “The speeches from their divorce (which they agreed to when they couldn’t have a child together) are overwhelming, so beautiful; I don’t know anyone who said such nice things to each other in their divorce.”
That does not mean that it was not a complex relationship, unequal from the point of view of power and interested, especially at the beginning. “She had qualities, a social circle and a knowledge of how to move that suited him very well and she also thought that she had money, that was an attraction.”
“If we’re going to talk about what love really is, that would be a very long conversation but I think there was a real, deep connection,” Phoenix insists.
Regarding the relevance of Bonaparte today, he points out that there are these types of leaders in all times, “leaders who start out as idealists and seem interested in their people but at some point become perverted and are victims of their own greed and ambition.”
“He started fighting against the kings who favored the aristocracy over the needs of the people and he ended up taking it further, saying screw the aristocracy, I’d better settle there and put my brother there too.”
In any case, he insists, he is a fascinating figure for many different reasons. “In Eastern Europe they see him as a liberator, and for Americans he is a self-made man, that idea that obsesses Americans.”
On a personal level he says that the figure of Napoleon has made him reflect on the inner emptiness that drives a person to achieve more and more material conquests.
“For me it is not the story of someone who had everything and ruined it, I hate those types of stories,” he emphasizes, “it is someone who needs to consume at all costs because he has never had anything significant in his life.”
The ‘pandi’ of design had a great time: Palomo Spain, Lorenzo Caprile, Raquel Sanchez Silva, at the premiere
Mar Flores upon arrival at the presentation of the film.
The bullfighter Francisco Rivera and his wife Lourdes Beatriz Montes.
The actress Macarena Gómez also became very Napoleonic.
Omar Montes and his girlfriend Lola Romero upon arrival at the presentation of the film
Mariló Montero, who posed alone.