- Joaquin Phoenix and Vanessa Kirby’s age gap in the film Napoleon is a minor historical inaccuracy, as in real life, Napoleon was actually six years younger than Josephine.
- Despite the age gap, casting Phoenix in the role of Napoleon is justified due to his immense acting talent, and Kirby’s age is fairly accurate to that of Josephine in the film.
- The age gap between Phoenix and Kirby in Napoleon is small compared to other Hollywood films, where romances between older male actors and younger female actors are still common.
The noticeable age gap between Joaquin Phoenix and Vanessa Kirby in Ridley Scott’s Napoleon draws interesting comparisons to real-life history. Phoenix, one of many distinguished actors who has taken on the role of the formidable French Emperor, is set to share the screen with the alluring Kirby, who made stark impressions as The White Widow in two recent Mission: Impossible films as well as Princess Margaret in The Crown.
Napoleon will mark the 28th directorial effort from the acclaimed film director, with the highly-anticipated Gladiator 2 scheduled for a 2024 release. Napoleon is the first feature film that Scott will direct Phoenix in since 2000’s Gladiator, in which Phoenix portrayed the Roman Emperor and son of Marcus Aurelius, Commodus. Kirby, who has yet to work with Scott on a feature film, will play the Empress Josephine, which is likely to be a demanding role considering how much Napoleon centers on the volatile romantic relationship between the French Emperor and his one true love.
Napoleon’s Movie Age Gap Is Bigger Than The Real-Life Figures
Phoenix will be 49 years old when Napoleon will hit theaters on November 22, 2023, while Kirby will be 35, marking a roughly 14-year age gap between the two actors. In real life, Napoleon Bonaparte was actually six years younger than Josephine, who had already been married at the age of 16 to another man. Josephine and Napoleon got married in March 1796 when she was 33 years old and he was just 27. Kirby is evidently the younger of the two actors in Napoleon, which is a minor and somewhat irrelevant historical inaccuracy.
The passionate love affair between Napoleon and Josephine has been well-documented due to their famous letters written for each other, which largely inform their intense dynamic in Scott’s upcoming film. While Kirby’s actual age is fairly accurate to that of Josephine in the film, Phoenix’s age is surprisingly closer to that of the real-life Napoleon when he died at 51. Even though the age gap between him and the real-life Napoleon as depicted in Scott’s film is wide and inaccurate, casting Phoenix in the role is extremely justified considering his immeasurable acting talent.
Napoleon’s Age Gap Continues A Hollywood Trend (& Is Small In Comparison)
Despite mildly rewriting history for the sake of Napoleon, the age gap between love interests Phoenix and Kirby in the film continues a Hollywood trend that has occurred for decades throughout the entertainment industry. Even in 2023, movie romances between older male actors and younger female actors are still quite common, as seen recently in Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One with Tom Cruise (61) and Rebecca Ferguson (40). There are countless examples of these types of age gaps in Hollywood films, making the 14-year difference between Phoenix and Kirby in Napoleon relatively minor by comparison.