August 01, 2023

Film & TV

Joaquin Phoenix and Vanessa Kirby pushed envelope in 'Napoleon' slap scene

Joaquin Phoenix and Vanessa Kirby's intense 'Napoleon' scene Involves push boundaries

By Jean Valjean August 01, 2023
Joaquin Phoenix and Vanessa Kirby in Napoleon
Joaquin Phoenix and Vanessa Kirby in 'Napoleon' 

Joaquin Phoenix and Vanessa Kirby have taken their commitment to their roles in Ridley Scott's Napoleon to a whole new level, as they recently revealed to Empire magazine. 

The talented actors made a daring pact to shock each other during filming, aiming to steer clear of the typical trappings of a traditional biopic.

Prior to filming, Phoenix and Kirby had open discussions about how far they were willing to go in their scenes together.

This agreement led to a particularly intense moment during the filming of a heated divorce scene between their characters, Napoleon Bonaparte and Joséphine de Beauharnais.

According to Kirby, they used the real words spoken during Napoleon and Joséphine's divorce in the church.

Both actors agreed that they had complete freedom to act on their instincts, whether it involved slapping, grabbing, pulling, or kissing each other. 

This profound trust between them allowed for the creation of raw and unexpected moments, steering clear of the well-orchestrated clichés often associated with period dramas.

Ridley Scott shared his initial concerns about Joaquin Phoenix's readiness for his role in Napoleon just two weeks before filming was set to begin. According to Scott, Phoenix felt "clueless" about his character and the project's direction during that critical pre-production phase.

Scott recounted how he sat down with Phoenix for an intensive 10-day rehearsal process, delving into each scene with meticulous detail. 

The film's release is set for November 22.