Apple Original Films and A24 announced a partnership on the release of the highly anticipated drama “The Tragedy of Macbeth”. The film will release worldwide theatrically at the end of the year and will follow with a global release on Apple TV+. The picture is projected to be an award-season contender, with veteran Academy Award-winner Joel Coen and starring Academy Award-winners Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand. McDormand recently won her third and fourth Oscars for Nomadland, Washington is a two-time Oscar winner while Coen has four. Coen, who adapted the screenplay from Shakespeare, will embark on his first solo directorial endeavor without his brother Ethan.
Washington will star as Lord Macbeth while McDormand stars opposite of him as Lady Macbeth. IndieWire shared McDormand’s noted distinction between previous retellings of Macbeth.
“I think a very important thing about Joel’s adaptation is that we are not calling it ‘Macbeth,’” McDormand said. “We’re calling it ‘The Tragedy of Macbeth,’ which I think is an important distinction. In Joel’s adaptation, we are exploring the age of the characters and in our adaptation the Macbeths are older. Both Denzel and I are older than what is often cast as the Macbeths. We’re postmenopausal, we’re past childbearing age. So that puts a pressure on their ambition to have the crown. I think the most important distinction is that it is their last chance for glory.”-Frances McDormand
McDormand also points out how critical it was for her that Lady Macbeth carry the misfortune of not being able to bear children. It serves as her “personal tragedy” that ignites her vigor to give her husband the crown of a king since she wasn’t able to give him an heir. In relation to constructing the film around a couple in their 60’s, Coen adds that it empowers a “ticking-clock” component to the characters and the story.
The synopsis for “The Tragedy of Macbeth” reads: After being convinced by three witches, a Scottish Lord sets out to become the King of Scotland. The film shot entirely in black and white, will give us another glimpse into Washington’s range as an antagonizer, a role he doesn’t take frequently. Lord Macbeth in the Shakespeare original is a murderous tyrant. It is said that Coen preserved 85% of Shakespeare’s language in the adaptation.
Bertie Carvel, Alex Hassell, Corey Hawkins, Kathryn Hunter, Harry Melling and Brendan Gleeson round out the rest of the cast. The film reunites frequent Coen collaborators including Bruno Delbonnel as the cinematographer, Mary Zophres as costume designer, and a score from Carter Burwell. In addition to directing, Coen produces the film alongside McDormand and Robert Graf.
“The Tragedy of Macbeth” is currently in post-production.