France no longer has an emperor, but tell that to Frank Samson and Mark Schneider. The Frenchman and American, respectively, are vying for the role of Napoleon in a massive 200th-anniversary reenactment of the battle of Waterloo—and neither will take defeat lying down, the Wall Street Journal reports. "Can you imagine Napoleon addressing his army with a ridiculous accent?" says Samson, a dig at Schneider's being American. "The horror! The horror!"
But the Virginia actor has a strong case: He speaks French with a Corsican accent, he's 5-foot-7 like Napoleon, and he was born in 1969—exactly 200 years after the French emperor. "All of this makes my job easier," says Schneider. Both men are avid Napoleon impersonators, acting in cable TV shows or live reenactments before hundreds or even thousands of people. And both are hungry for the Waterloo gig. "I am not going to play the prude little girl," says Samson. "I want this." If Schneider wins? "I am going to apply for the role of Wellington."