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The “Alien” director spoke frankly while reacting to negative reviews, including one that described the new film as “deeply clumsy, unnatural and unintentionally funny.” One French critic, who also wrote a biography of Napoleon, said it was “very anti-French and very pro-British.” Some critics said the film was historically inaccurate. Scott discussed those claims in general during a recently published interview with The Times.
“Like all history, it’s been reported. Napoleon dies, then, 10 years later, someone writes a book. Then someone takes that book and writes another book and so, 400 years later there’s a lot of imagination [in history books],” Scott told the outlet.
“When I have issues with historians, I ask: ‘Excuse me, mate were you there? No? Well, shut the f*** up then,’” he added.
“Napoleon” will debut in theaters nationwide on Wednesday, just in time for Thanksgiving weekend. The film stars Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon and Vanessa Kirby as Joséphine, his wife.
The description says the historical drama will take a look at “the military commander’s origins and his swift, ruthless climb to emperor, viewed through the prism of his addictive and often volatile relationship with his wife and one true love, Joséphine.”
Scott told the BBC that it was a no-brainer to do a movie about Napoleon. “He’s so fascinating. Revered, hated, loved… more famous than any man or leader or politician in history. How could you not want to go there?” he said.
But the British director acknowledged that even though there was so much to explore, he kept the movie under three hours intentionally to avoid the “bum ache factor” of extra-long movies.
“When you start to go ‘oh my God’ and then you say ‘Christ, we can’t eat for another hour’, it’s too long,” Scott said.