Academy Award winners Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand have merciless ambition in mind in the haunting first trailer for director Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth. The project is sure to be a major awards contender, as two of the most talented working actors come together for the first time as Lord and Lady Macbeth in this adaptation of one of William Shakespeare’s most celebrated works.
For those unfamiliar with the Bard’s story, Macbeth follows a Scottish lord who becomes convinced by a trio of witches that it is his destiny to become the king of Scotland. With the help of his dangerously ambitious wife, Macbeth goes to extreme, increasingly violent lengths to seize the crown and claim what he believes to be his rightful place as king.
The Joel Coen directed The Tragedy of Macbeth has been described as completely unique, with the writer and director hoping to craft a “boldly inventive visualization of The Scottish Play,” which will result in “an anguished film that stares, mouth agape, at a sorrowful world undone by blind greed and thoughtless ambition.” Based on the trailer, it looks like Coen has achieved these lofty creative ideals and then some.
“In meticulously world-weary performances, a strikingly inward Denzel Washington is the man who would be king, and an effortlessly Machiavellian Frances McDormand is his Lady, a couple driven to political assassination – and deranged by guilt – after the cunning prognostications of a trio of ‘weird sisters’ (a virtuoso physical inhabitation by Kathryn Hunter),” reads the New York Film Festival’s announcement of the movie. “Though it echoes the forbidding visual designs – and aspect ratios – of Laurence Olivier’s classic 1940s Shakespeare adaptations, as well as the bloody medieval madness of Kurosawa’s ‘Throne of Blood,’ Coen’s tale of sound and fury is entirely his own – and undoubtedly one for our moment, a frightening depiction of amoral political power-grabbing that, like its hero, ruthlessly barrels ahead into the inferno.”
The Tragedy of Macbeth will adapt the beloved William Shakespeare in all manner of new and interesting ways. The project is being written and directed by Academy Award winner Joel Coen, who is flying solo without his brother and frequent collaborator Ethan. The Tragedy of Macbeth stars the Hollywood icon and Academy Award winner that is Denzel Washington as the titular Macbeth with fellow Academy Award winner and Nomadland star Frances McDormand as Lady Macbeth. McDormand has, of course, worked with the Coen Brothers multiple times before having starred in their critically acclaimed crime thriller Fargo as well as the black comedy Burn After Reading, among others.
Alongside Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth star In Bruges’ Brendan Gleeson as King Duncan, Straight Outta Compton star Corey Hawkins as Macduff, The Legend of Buster Scruggs alum Harry Melling as Malcolm, and The Queen’s Gambit star Moses Ingram as Lady Macduff.
The Tragedy of Macbeth is scheduled to have its world premiere at the 2021 New York Film Festival on September 24, 2021. It will then be theatrically released by A24 followed by global launch on Apple TV+.