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NEWS > Alumnae News > Film and TV Royalty Vanessa Kirby’s New Role

Film and TV Royalty Vanessa Kirby’s New Role

She made her name playing Princess Margaret, and now Vanessa Kirby, Class of 2005, is starring as Empress Joséphine in Ridley Scott’s historical epic based on the true story of Napoleon Bonaparte.

The big-budget blockbuster, Napoleon, had its glamorous UK premiere last month, attended by Oscar and Emmy nominated Vanessa (Pieces of a Woman, The Crown, Mission: Impossible), alongside co-star Joaquin Phoenix and Director/Producer, Sir Ridley Scott, who is known for a string of hits, including; Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma & Louise and Gladiator.

Vanessa says she hopes audiences will glimpse the real woman behind the enigmatic image: “I hope they will have compassion for this really extraordinary woman who survived so much and had a kind of very quiet power and dignity, and also this unusual love that lasted their whole lives.

“Napoleon’s last word was ‘Joséphine’ and that, to me, was so moving. She couldn’t have a child, and an heir to the empire, so the weight of that was on her shoulders… she just couldn’t do it and I have incredible empathy for how painful that would have been for her.”

Vanessa has received rave reviews for her powerful portrayal. Vanity Fair said: “The result is the most unusual, beguiling performance of her big-screen career… Her performance is impossible to pin down, a marvel of emotional contradictions and compelling resoluteness. In her unyielding stare and poise, it’s easy to understand how she’s slowly driving the world’s most powerful man completely mad. And in the relationship’s more intense, painful, and even traumatic moments, Kirby imbues Joséphine with a subtle empathy, a lifetime of experiences registering across a nervous flicker in the eye.”

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