20 film and TV directors to consider for the Spielberg/Kubrick 'Napoleon' miniseries

Posted by · 8:42 pm · March 14th, 2013

A bit of a bombshell on the cineaste set recently when Steven Spielberg announced plans to transform Stanley Kubrick’s massive, unfilmed Napoleon biopic into a television miniseries. Last week, Hollywood Reporter film critic Todd McCarthy humbly suggested seven filmmakers to take up the reins on the project, should Spielberg opt out of directing it himself.

The names McCarthy suggested weren’t in and of themselves bad ideas: David Fincher, Paul Thomas Anderson, Martin Scorsese, Kathryn Bigelow, Ridley Scott, Christopher Nolan and Peter Weir. No one is going to argue that each and every one of them is talented and up to the challenge. But there was an overly wish-listy quality to the list, not all that reasonable, really.

Not only that, those are some disparate voices that probably wouldn’t work in a single boat. A miniseries like this, if farmed out to other talent and not placed on one filmmaker’s shoulders, would obviously need to find an organic rhythm across a spectrum of voices.

Of the list, I thought only Weir seemed plausible and, really, suitable. No one wants to end up mimicking Kubrick here but it would be nice if the filmmaker’s sensibilities were reflected. Nolan and Anderson have had sometimes dubious parallels drawn to the filmmaker, but on the whole, this A-list just feels like something we’d LIKE to see, but surely won’t.

But it’s a great jumping off point, so I reached out to HitFix’s Greg Ellwood and Guy Lodge to help cook up an alternative list. Additionally, given that we’re exploring a project set for TV, I asked our own Dan Fienberg for his suggestions on that front as well, and the result is a collective of 20 names that we’d like to humbly submit for consideration, again, if indeed Spielberg would prefer to produce while handing the directorial duties off to others.

Some names that didn’t make the list but were mulled over include Darren Aronofsky, Susanne Bier, Sofia Coppola, Walter Hill and James Marsh. I’d personally stump for Weir and MAYBE Anderson from McCarthy’s list, but there’s also one other filmmaker he mentioned “whose work is just as exacting and chilly as Kubrick’s and who is probably his intellectual equal: Michael Haneke.” I’d be on board for that, too.

Anyway, click through the gallery below to see which film and television directors we’d like to see considered. And feel free to offer up your own suggestions in the comments section as well!

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