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Agnieszka Holland Talks About Her ‘Napoleon’ TV Series at Berlin Co-Production Market

Agnieszka Holland, at the Berlinale with competition entry “Mr. Jones,” shifted her focus to TV on Wednesday to clue potential partners into the vision for her epic eight-part drama series-in-the-making, “Napoleon.”

Holland is one of Europe’s top filmmakers and also has high-end TV credits including HBO Europe’s “Burning Bush” as well as HBO’s U.S. series “The Wire” and “Treme.” Little was known about the creative plans for “Napoleon” until Holland took the stage at Berlin’s Zoo Palast, to generous applause from the packed industry crowd at the Berlinale Co Pro Series 2019.

“There have been several attempts to make a project about Napoleon, starting with the Stanley Kubrick movie, and then attempts to make a miniseries, but it never happened, so I think it’s about time,” she said.

The team realized they needed a full-length series, rather than a miniseries, to tell the story, Holland said. Three actors will be employed to play the French statesman and military leader at different stages in his life.

Holland noted a timeliness to the story with the rise of nationalism and political strongmen. “In this specific political atmosphere the examination of a person like Napoleon seems to be extremely inspiring and kind of necessary,” she said.

The series will also look at Napoleon the man, his life and loves. “We don’t want to do only political drama,” Holland said. “We want to represent all of the complexities of the man who was for some an angel and a great hope, and for others evil and a murderer.”

Stuart Pollock’s Saltire Entertainment and Jeff Field’s Field Entertainment are behind the series. Ethan Reiff and Cyrus Voris, who wrote “Robin Hood” and “Kung Fu Panda,” have created a bible and will showrun the drama. No broadcaster or platform is yet attached.

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