Rumors swirled that Comer was attached to the project several months ago, but now the casting is industry trade official. She'll be starring opposite Oscar winning actor Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon, and with this kind of pedigree, there's every chance Kitbag will be in the conversation come awards season time next year.
The film’s title is derived from the saying “There is a general’s staff hidden in every soldier’s kitbag.” It's set to be an original and personal look at Napoleon’s origins and his swift, ruthless climb to ultimate power, all viewed through the prism of his addictive and often volatile relationship with his wife and one true love.
“Napoleon is a man I’ve always been fascinated by,” Scott told Deadline earlier this year. “He came out of nowhere to rule everything — but all the while he was waging a romantic war with his adulterous wife Joséphine. He conquered the world to try to win her love, and when he couldn’t, he conquered it to destroy her, and destroyed himself in the process.”
Comer will play Joséphine de Beauharnais, the woman who eventually becomes Napoleon's first wife and Empress of the French. And while the intention of the film is to depict Napoleon’s famous strategic mind seemingly neverending ambition, it's his volatile relationship with Josephine that will power the story, as he would likely never become the leader he was if not for her presence in his life.
Josephine was six years older than Napoleon when the two married in 1796, and she became empress when her husband took the title of emperor in 1804. (Phoenix is 19 years Comer's senior, so place your bets on whether that's a deliberate choice or simply the established patriarchy of Hollywood casting at work again.) Napoleon loved his wife, but the two divorcd in 1810 in the wake of Josephine's in ability to give him an heir. But he remained in love with her, and reportedly locked himself in a room for two full days at the news of her death just four years later.
Kitbag will mark Comer's second recent film with Scott, as the actress is also starring in his fourtheenth century epic The Last Duel, a tale of a similarly dramatic historical figure - though perhaps less well known - in Marguerite de Carrouges, the woman at the heart of last officially recognized judicial duel in France.
Comer confirmed the casting herself during an interview with Variety ahead of The Last Duel's world premiere at the Venice Film Festival.
"I just jumped at the chance to work with Ridley and his team again and the idea of working with Joaquin, who's someone who I hugely admire...I think for me, what I'm learning is [...] you learn and you grow so much by being and working with the people that you're working alongside...And I just think having that opportunity — I'm so excited to delve into that world."
How do you feel about the idea of Comer as Josephine? Let's discuss in the comments.