Vanessa Kirby is to replace Jodie Comer in 'Kitbag'.

The 33-year-old actress will play Josephine in Ridley Scott's historical epic that will also star Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon Bonaparte.

'Kitbag' centres on Napoleon's rise on the battlefield and in politics, while focusing on the passionate love between him and Josephine.

Jodie, 28, has been forced to drop out of the project – which is set to begin filming later this month – because of a scheduling conflict with her theatre debut on London's West End, 'Prima Facie', and described the development as "rubbish".

The 'Killing Eve' actress told The Hollywood Reporter's Awards Chatter podcast: "Unfortunately, due to Covid and changes of schedule, I don't think I can make 'Kitbag' work right now due to a scheduling conflict."

Sources previously indicated that the part would be Jodie's raunchiest role yet, although Vanessa – whose previous credits include 'The Crown' and 'Hobbs & Shaw' – will now take on the responsibility of portraying Napoleon's lover.

An insider said last year: "Jodie has done sexy roles before but nothing like this, it's really pushing the boundaries. But she felt it was right for the character and has thrown caution to the wind on it."

Kirby was nominated for an Oscar for her role in 'Pieces of a Woman', in which she played a mother grieving the death of her baby daughter following her death in labour, and explained how she felt a huge sense of "responsibility" to tell the story on the big screen.

She said: "Looking back, I knew my responsibility was to honour the women who had told me their stories about losing a child at any stage of pregnancy – or just after they are born.

"The whole time I was filming, I felt connected to them and like it was for them because their story hadn’t been told before … My biggest challenge involved trying to embody and do justice to the feelings of the women I’ve spoken to. That’s all I concentrated on.

"Accessing the level of grief was a huge challenge because I don’t have a child but I wanted to accurately represent their experiences."