The late filmmaker, who died three years ago, never had a chance to see his film on Napoleon Bonaparte make it to screen. Kubrick, known for his militaristic attention to detail during his five-decade career, had obsessed over the late French emperor and dreamed of telling the story cinematically for more than three decades.
But although the film was never completed, the project will get released--in book form. Thanks to Kubrick's family, fans will soon be able to read Stanley Kubrick's Napoleon: His Greatest Film Never Made, an insider's look into the project that haunted him until the end of his days.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the book is being put together by Kubrick's widow, Christiane, with the help of her brother, Jan Harlan, who served as the director's executive producer on all his films since 1975's Barry Lyndon.
It not only will feature Kubrick's original script, which covered the full span of Napoleon's life, but also a plethora of preproduction material amassed during the filmmaker's 30-year effort to make the movie, including notes on locations in Romania, France and Britain that were scouted for the film in the 1970s.
Harlan announced the book at the Moscow International Film Festival, where he was screening his own biographical documentary on Kubrick's life and career as part of a Kubrick retrospective.
Harlan said the planned book would be a testament to Kubrick's creative vision and a cinematic ambition never realized when the master died suddenly of a heart attack in March 1999 at the age of 70 soon after completing work on Eyes Wide Shut.
"From 1969 until his death, Stanley was fascinated by Napoleon," Harlan said. "Although Kubrick films are very different in form, there is a common denominator--the human folly and vanity built into our species that appears to be our downfall."
"Napoleon interested Stanley very much because here was a man with a huge talent and tremendous charisma, who in the end failed only because of his emotions and vanity. Napoleon was not able to control his emotions--it was his Achilles' heel."
Harlan also noted that the research Kubrick conducted for his epic alone was monumental, encompassing more than 18,000 books and documents detailing every aspect of Napoleon's life and military career, as well as 7,000 location photographs.
Given its breadth, the total budget for his proposed biopic would have topped $120 million, Harlan said, making the film tough to get green-lighted. Further, Napoleon films like 1970's Waterloo with Rod Steiger have bombed, making financing even more difficult.
All is not lost for film buffs, however.
Harlan--who helped bring one of the director's other unfinished works, A.I., to fruition (he executive-produced the Steven Spielberg-helmed film)--said he would love to see someone resurrect Kubrick's vision of Napoleon.
"It would be absolutely fantastic if it could be made," he said.
In the meantime, fans will have to content themselves waiting for the book. Stanley Kubrick's Napoleon is expected to hit shelves sometime next year.