"He had the ambition of Macbeth, the poetry of Romeo and the jealousy of Othello," said Armand Assante, who plays Napoleon to Jacqueline Bisset's Josephine in David L. Wolper's production of "Napoleon and Josephine: A Love Story." The three-night, six-hour, $16-million miniseries airs Tuesday through Thursday on ABC.
Bisset said she plays a Josephine "more manipulated rather than a manipulator." Put them together, Assante said, and you have "a story about betrayal between two people who loved each other."
Wolper is responsible for "Roots" and a host of other large-scale TV productions, not to mention the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1984 Olympic Games. Here, he continues a trend he established in "North and South" of clearly defining east and west in female costuming.
The series opens with Napoleon Bonaparte, a general destined for great things in post-revolutionary France, meeting Josephine, an older woman with two children. The story continues through his rise to emperor and ultimate exile.
Wolper promises the pertinent history of the general obsessed with winning will not be overlooked, but says that this is first and foremost a story of the general and his first non-military obsession.