New details emerge on Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth
While production may currently be on hold for Joel Coen’s first solo effort, The Tragedy of Macbeth, the director and star Frances McDormand opened up about the A24 adaptation of the classic William Shakespeare tragedy in a recent Instagram Live Q&A. (Via Indiewire)
In the Q&A, McDormand revealed that one of the most important parts of the project is the new official title itself, which she believes is “an important distinction.”
“In Joel’s adaptation, we are exploring the age of the characters and in our adaptation the Macbeths are older,” McDormand explained. “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.”
The two-time Oscar winner added that “it’s very important” for her version of Lady Macbeth to have never had a child, but that she has had “many pregnancies and perhaps children born that have died either in stillbirth or very young,” feeling that it acts as “her personal tragedy” fueling her ambition to push her husband to take the crown.
By focusing the story on the couple in their sixties, the director and star felt it added a “ticking-clock” element to the story, developing it as a thriller and putting a “very specific time pressure” on both the story and characters, which McDormand calls “the real brilliance” of Coen’s adaptation.
“Yes, [it can be considered a thriller],” Coen added. “I think that is something that I’ve always sort of felt when watching the play and also something that became more clear and more interesting to me as I was getting into it and doing the adaptation. It’s interesting how Shakespeare sort of pre-figured certain tropes in American thriller and crime literature that were common in the early part of the 20th century.”
The iconic Shakespeare tale follows a lord (Washington) who’s convinced by a trio of witches that he’s destined to become the king of Scotland. With the help of his ambitious wife (Frances McDormand), Macbeth tries to seize the crown by any means necessary.
Emmy winner Brendan Gleeson is also in talks to join the cast as King Duncan in the adaptation, which is being produced by indie powerhouse A24 with Hawkins’ role currently being kept under wraps.
Oscar winner Coen and his brother’s recent Netflix feature, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, earned the filmmakers an Oscar nomination for best adapted screenplay.
Hawkins found his big break with the major role of portraying a young Dr. Dre in 2015’s N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton and followed it up with a regular role on the sixth and seventh seasons of AMC’s The Walking Dead and the lead role on Fox’s attempted spin-off revival 24: Legacy until it was cancelled after one season. He would also go on to have major roles in the monster blockbuster Kong: Skull Island and biographic crime drama BlacKkKlansman and will next be seen Netflix’s vigilante action blockbuster 6 Underground from Michael Bay, which will release on December 13.
Scott Rudin is producing with A24 attached to distribute.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)