For some reason, Al Pacino has long been interested in playing the role of Napoleon Bonaparte of France, the infamous French Emperor who nearly conquered the world. Perhaps it is that they have so much in common: they are both 5′ 7″ tall and have a tendency to talk loudly at random. Sounds like a perfect fit, if you ask me.
Now according to a report from The Hollywood Reporter, Pacino will get his chance to slip into Napoleon’s shoes in the adaptation of Staton Rabin’s young adult book “Betsy and the Emperor.” The book is described as a historical fantasy based on Napoleon’s early years of exhile on St. Helena, as seen though the eyes of 14-year old Betsy Balcombe, the tomboyish daughter of a British official living on the distant South Atlantic island. It is one of those tales in which an epic figure is seen through the eyes of an innocent and that innocent’s vision of said person is changed after they spend some time together. You know the drill.
The project will be directed by John Curran, whose previous work on The Painted Veil was admirable. He captured the sprawling beauty of central China well. It will be interesting how he captures both the sprawling persona of Napoleon and the beautiful island of Saint Helena. Also, I’m interested to see who is cast opposite Pacino as young Betsy. If you remember back to April of last year, we reported that Harry Potter star Emma Watson had signed on to play the same role in a different project that was being writted by Benjamin Ross. That project has since stalled a bit in pre-production, while the Pacino version is eying a fall start to production. As always, we’ll keep an eye on these projects and keep the details straight for you.