How does it happen that there are so frequently movies about the same damn thing in production simultaneously? Be they over volcanoes, escaped zoo animals, Truman Capote, or Marvin Gaye, races to hit the screen first seem to take place insanely often -- and it's happening again, this time with projects about Napoleon. And they're not only about Napoleon: Both films are about "his final days on St Helena and his friendship with a 15-year-old [English girl]." In this case, though, the similarity is not a coincidence.

Scarlett Johansson, who will star in Napoleon and Betsy (Though how the hell she's going to play 15 is a mystery to me.), was once in line to play the same role in The Monster of Longwood, the other Napoleon project. When she didn't get the job, she promptly threw together her own production of the same story, the cheeky devil. Right now, though, it looks like Longwood and director Patrice Chéreau (the man who, in Queen Margot, gave us the most gorgeous corpses the world has ever known) will have the last laugh: Chéreau expects to begin shooting this winter, while Johansson's project has no hope of starting until 2007, due to her own busy schedule.