Ridley Scott's Kitbag Finds A New Lead In Vanessa Kirby, With Jodie Comer Exiting

In what felt like less than minutes, Ridley Scott has already found a replacement for the newly-exited Jodie Comer on his Napoleon Bonapart drama, "Kitbag." The star of "Killing Eve" was set to play Empress Joséphine opposite Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon but recently left the project due to Covid and scheduling conflicts. This project was to be a reunion for Scott and Comer, who is projected to appear on plenty of awards show ballots for her work in "The Last Duel." This was not a decision Comer took lightly, and reportedly called the decision "rubbish" during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. Fortunately, news of her replacement was made almost immediately, with "Pieces of a Woman," and "The Crown" star Vanessa Kirby taking over the role. According to Deadline, Kirby's reps are still negotiating the deal.

"Kitbag" comes from a script by David Scarpa, who recently collaborated with Scott on his film "All The Money in the World." The film is centered on the origins of Napoleon Bonaparte, but told through the lens of his and Joséphine's intense and sometimes volatile relationship. The film was first announced in October of 2020 and will be an exclusive release for Apple TV+. Scott is also producing the film alongside Kevin Walsh for Scott Free.

"Napoleon is a man I've always been fascinated by," Scott told Deadline. "He came out of nowhere to rule everything — but all the while he was waging a romantic war with his adulterous wife Josephine. He conquered the world to try to win her love, and when he couldn't, he conquered it to destroy her, and destroyed himself in the process.

More Than A Suitable Replacement

While it's sad to see Comer go due to something like scheduling conflicts, Vanessa Kirby is more than a suitable replacement. Phoenix is hot off of his Oscar win for "Joker," but Kirby was nominated for Best Actress in "Pieces of a Woman" last year and has an array of nominations for her portrayal of Princess Margaret in the first and second seasons of Netflix's "The Crown." She's also got a new movie due out in less than two weeks, Adam Leon's "Italian Studies," which Kirby also executive produced, but the release date could possibly shift in the next week thanks to Miss Omicron and the IHUVariant pooping in everyone's punch bowl. Hopefully it does not, as it's currently slated for an on demand day and date release.

"Kitbag," which gets its title from the expression, "There is a general's staff hidden in every soldier's kitbag," is the latest mega-budget feature film from Apple TV+, following their existing lineup of acquisitions and the upcoming Martin Scorsese adaptation of David Grann's "Killers of the Flower Moon." Scott more than knows his way around both period dramas and films featuring epic battles, so this one is definitely something worth getting excited about.