The Play of Macbeth is a black-and-white American film directed by Joel Coen and based on William Shakespeare’s tragedy of the same name. It will be the first time one of the Coen brothers directs a picture without the involvement of the other. Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand (who also co-produced the film), and Corey Hawkins feature in the film.
On September 24, 2021, it made its international debut at the New York Film Festival 2021. A24 will premiere it in select theatres on December 25, 2021, before streaming it on Apple TV+ on January 14, 2022.
What is in the Movie?
In March 2019, it was reported that Joel Coen will write and direct a new adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play, in a rare solo effort. The picture was planned to star Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand, with Scott Rudin producing and A24 distributing.
Brendan Gleeson and Corey Hawkins began talks to join the cast in November. In January 2020, both were confirmed, along with Moses Ingram, Harry Melling, and Ralph Ineson joining the cast.
On February 7, 2020, filming began in Los Angeles. The film was shot entirely on sound stages to give it a “untethered from reality” appearance. Coen revealed in April that the film will be named The Tragedy of Macbeth.
On March 26, 2020, it was revealed that shooting had been suspended owing to the COVID-19 epidemic.On July 23, 2020, production resumed, and ended on July 31, 2020. The movie was shot entirely in black and white. Following claims of abuse, Rudin stepped down as producer in April 2021.
Carter Burwell, a longstanding collaborator of the Coen brothers, is composing the film’s soundtrack. Burwell commented on Joel directing without Ethan, saying, “Ethan had lost interest in making movies. He appears to be content with what he’s doing right now. They both have a lot of unproduced screenplays on their shelves, but I’m not sure what Joel will do if he isn’t around.”
What all You can See in It
The Macbeths are weeping at their child’s funeral as the film begins (not in the play). Then, in a civil war fight, Macbeth commands King Duncan’s forces. Despite casualties, including young troops, he emerges triumphant. Before vanishing, three ladies (witches) with a girl and child approach Macbeth and Banquo and laud Macbeth as Thane of Cawdor and future King, and Banquo as a father of Kings.
When Duncan learns of Macbeth’s triumph, he has the Thane of Cawdor executed for allying with Norse invaders, and Macbeth is given his title. The predictions are revealed to Macbeth’s wife. Lady Macbeth seeks counsel from the dark spirits. She pushes Macbeth to assassinate the King to fulfil the prophesy when he claims Duncan would remain overnight. The King declares Malcolm to be his successor during a feast.
Lady Macbeth persuades Macbeth to assassinate Duncan while she administers poisons to his servants. After the feast, Macbeth sees the spirit of a young soldier, who hands him a knife and brings him to Duncan’s tent, where Macbeth kills him. Malcolm enters and runs when he sees the body. Macbeth, shaken, turns to his wife and hands her two daggers. Lady Macbeth chastises him for not abandoning them and places them in the hands of the sleeping servants. She joins Macbeth at the chapel, where they wash their hands and declare that their crime has been wiped away.
Release Date of The Play of Macbeth
A24 will distribute the film theatrically, followed by a global debut on Apple TV+. On September 24, 2021, it made its international debut at the New York Film Festival 2021. It will be available in a limited release on December 25, 2021, before becoming available for streaming on Apple TV+ on January 14, 2022. It will also serve as the closing film of the London Film Festival.
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