MOVIES

Napoleon Director Ridley Scott Blasts Fact-Checkers With 3 Words

Ridley Scott is no newbie when it comes to historical epics, and even if his irreverence suggests otherwise, plenty of period-accurate details went into “Napoleon.” The same New Yorker piece gives a lot of credit to the film’s military adviser, Paul Biddis, who pored over military records and highlighted the difference between English and French combat styles. “I had some sleepless nights, because I wanted to make sure that those guys did this square perfectly,” he said of the British infantry formation. When the cast nailed the shot, Scott reportedly responded, “Buy those boys a pint!”

Scott isn’t throwing the history book out the window entirely, but he’s not losing any sleep over a few creative liberties. He brought the same lax attitude to projects like “Gladiator,” in which he played fast and loose with Roman history. Historians might have balked, but the Academy certainly didn’t mind; “Gladiator” won the Oscar for best picture. Scott will likely take the same approach with the upcoming sequel, “Gladiator 2.”

Scott isn’t tyrannical when it comes to fact-checking, but he seems to be channeling the enlightened despot in the making of “Napoleon.” “He’s not un-Napoleonic himself,” Napoleon scholar Michael Broers said in the same New Yorker piece. “When he’s there, he’s in charge, and you have complete confidence in him. He dishes it out, and he can take it.”

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