It’s been a busy few years for Cary Fukunaga, following his triumphant work directing the first season of True Detective. There were originally rumors of him returning for True Detective‘s miserable second season, but he smartly avoided the whole mishigas, turning instead to two other projects. The first, Beasts of No Nation, came to fruition with a scary-good Idris Elba in the role of a small-time warlord who oversaw an army of child soldiers; it was Netflix’s first critically acclaimed film as a distributor, and got plenty of honors towards the end of 2015. The other project, unfortunately, was the botched remake of It, Stephen King‘s unsettling story of a group of kids who battled a monstrous clown as children and must return to do so as adults. As you’ve no doubt heard by now, that project got stuck in budgetary talks.
This week brought news of a new project, however, that has serious potential for the director, namely the Napoleon project that Stanley Kubrick wanted to make at one point. Now, we have official word from THR that Fukunaga is in talks to direct Napoleon as a mini-series. Kubrick’s family have apparently opened up the great director’s archive of materials to HBO, and what was finished of his original script will inform the final product, as will any notes or other information that is recovered from Kubrick’s backlogs. Steven Spielberg, who famously tangoed with the ghost of Kubrick in the beguiling, brilliant A.I. Artificial Intelligence, is now set as an executive producer, three years after making his own moves to bring Kubrick’s Napoleon to life.
Mind you, this is only one of a handful of projects that Kubrick was looking to take on in the 1990s, before his tragic passing. Most famously, his efforts to bring the novel, The Aryan Papers, to life ceased in 1995m around the same time Schindler’s List, a film he hated, was being canonized. Still, Napoleon had the most potential to bring out the very best in Kubrick: a story about a man who wanted total control of Europe, directed by a man who obsessed over and insisted on total control in his productions. If he takes the project, Fukunaga has a lot to live up to, but I have faith that he could bring about something distinct and effective in the project. Something that is as much his as it is Kubrick’s.