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Tom Tangney

Steven Spielberg to revive dream of Stanley Kubrick's with Napoleon miniseries

Kubrick's been dead for over a decade, of course, but Spielberg just announced on French TV that he's working on a miniseries about Napoleon, based on an abandoned script by Kubrick. | Zoom
America's most popular movie director plans to revive the work of one of cinema's greatest directors and turn it into a TV miniseries.

It's Steven Spielberg and Stanley Kubrick.

Spielberg, of course, just directed "Lincoln" and has a lengthy list of film credits that include "Jaws," "E.T." and "Schindler's List." Kubrick, one of the most influential filmmakers ever, is probably best known for "2001: A Space Odyssey," "Clockwork Orange," and "The Shining."

Spielberg, not surprisingly, is a huge fan of Kubrick's. "Every film he's ever made - the craft is impeccable: the lighting, the dolly shots, the crane moves, the zoom-ins in "Barry Lyndon," the framing [...] the hot windows as back light, the compositions. Nobody could shoot a better movie than Stanely Kubrick in history."

Kubrick's been dead for over a decade, of course, but Spielberg just announced on French TV that he's working on a miniseries about Napoleon, based on an abandoned script by Kubrick.

Napoleon had long been Kubrick's dream project. He famously spent years researching the French national hero, writing a complete screenplay in the 60's, commissioning another one from Clockwork Orange author Anthony Burgess in the 1970's.

He initially planned on making Napoleon right after "2001: A Space Odyssey," but had to abandon it for financial reasons. His 1975 masterpiece "Barry Lyndon," is as close as he ever got to Napoleon. That movie is set in the late 18th century, follows the rise an fall of an ambitious outsider, incorporates numerous battle scenes between warring nations, and even uses a voice-over narration just like the one called for in his Napoleon script.

And now Steven Spielberg says he wants to turn the perhaps overly ambitious Kubrick project into a television miniseries that begins with his childhood in Corsica and ends with his exile on Saint Helena. Given the quality of cable television these days, I think that's a fine idea.

For those who are concerned about a clash of sensibilities, between the chilly rigor of Kubrick and Spielberg's sunnier disposition, know that they've already collaborated on one other project. Not long after Kubrick's death, Spielberg turned a Kubrick script into "A.I.," his movie about a robot boy.

That robot boy was designed to dream, which seems appropriate, if Spielberg can breathe life into a half-century old script, turning Kubrick's dream into reality.

Tom Tangney, KIRO Radio Host, Film & Media Critic
Tom Tangney is the co-host of The Tom and Curley Show on KIRO Radio and resident enthusiast of...everything. As the film and media critic on the Morning News on KIRO Radio, he espouses his love for books, movies, TV, art, pop culture, politics, sports, and Husky football.
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By day, you can hear Tom on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM, and by night, he sits in the dark, making snide comments about what he sees on the silver screen.

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