A new biopic titled Napoleon starring vegan actor Joaquin Phoenix is being filmed in London in his first role since winning the Oscar for Joker.

Napoleon Bonaparte, was one of the greatest military commanders in history and was twice-emperor of France whose sheer personality dominated Europe for a decade. In military affairs, legal issues, economics, politics, technology, culture, and society in general, his actions influenced the course of European history for over a century, and some argue, to this very day.

To effectively embody the role of Napoleon takes an actor of a certain caliber and Oscar winner Joaquin Phoenix has just what it takes to embrace the role of the man who has fascinated historians for centuries. And animal activist Phoenix seems more than happy to live up to the role. The US actor, 47, was the supreme royalty when he transformed into the French Emperor for his latest film.

Despite rumours of Napoleon’s diminutive stature, it was believed he was closer to 5ft 7in – the average height at the time. The film will explore Napoleon’s rise to power through his relationship with his wife Josephine. It will see Phoenix star alongside Vanessa Kirby, who played Princess Margaret in The Crown.

It’s also the first time Phoenix has reunited with director Sir Ridley Scott since starring in Gladiator in 2000. Of the film, Sir Ridley said: “Napoleon is a man who has always fascinated me. “He came out of nowhere to rule everything. “No actor could ever embody Napoleon quite like Joaquin.”

The Oscar-winning actor has previously revealed that he decided to go vegan at the age of three, after he and his siblings ‘witnessed fish being killed in a really violent and aggressive way’.

“It was just absolutely obvious that that was something we didn’t want to participate in and support. To me, it just seems obvious,” Phoenix has said. “I don’t want to cause pain to another living, empathetic creature. I don’t want to take its babies away from it, I don’t want to force it to be indoors and fattened up just to be slaughtered. It’s absurd and barbaric and I just don’t understand how you could witness that and not be affected by it.”

The film is slated for release on Apple TV+ next year.

Marda de Wet