Hollywood legend Al Pacino is gearing up for another career defining role after signing to play NAPOLEON BONAPARTE in a forthcoming biopic of the French emperor.

After striking up a successful working relationship with producer Barry Navidi and director Michael Radford on last year's (04) The Merchant Of Venice, Pacino was keen to work with the team again for the Napoleon film.

Oscar-winner Pacino, 65, has been waiting seven years to play the diminutive Frenchman and only agreed to step into the 19th century role when he found the right film-makers.

Producer Navidi enthuses, "We're going to concentrate on the last few years of Napoleon's life in exile.

"We've based it on the diaries of British teenager BETSY BALCOMBE, who struck up a relationship with Napoleon when he was living on St. Helena, and with whom he subsequently became infatuated. We were overjoyed when Al finally signed this week - we start filming next summer and hope to take it to Cannes Film Festival in 2007."