Napoleon seems to be all the rage these days, conquering his way to the big screen. But rather than have dueling pictures for the same audience, we've got one adult romance and one child's tale coming our way. The first is Napoleon and Betsy, a historical romance that grabbed Emma Watson last year. To add to the French flavor, we're now getting an adaptation of Staton Rabin's children's book, Betsy and the Emperor, and The Hollywood Reporter posts that Al Pacino has signed on to play the infamous Frenchman.

While the first project takes some liberties, morphing the true story of friendship between a defeated emperor and young girl into a romance, this keeps things platonic for its tween audience. (A welcome note because the thought of a Pacino/Watson romance is, well, unseemly.) Based on the true story of Betsy Balcombe, Rabin's tale follows the 14-year-old as she breaks out of her family's fear of Bonaparte and becomes his friend while he's exiled on St. Helena. The relationship is based in fact, but the book then adds a bunch of flair with accidental death and hot balloon adventures.

Apparently Al has been itching to tackle Bonaparte for a while, and I imagine this is a bit of a compromise -- as a big-name actor often busy with iconic drama, who yearns to play a certain historical figure, a tween-themed film isn't usually the project of choice. Nevertheless, it's great to see Pacino walk beyond that Righteous Kill and get some more worthy gigs. Lear, Bonaparte ... what's next? Thomas Jefferson?
categories Cinematical