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Great Scots!

by Jason Adams

It is always good news when the Coen Bros announce a new thing, even if the new thing turns out to be kinda hit-n-miss like I found their last new thing (that'd be The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, which I reviewed out of NYFF last fall right here) to be. The hits are worth the misses. ("Pan shot!") But today's good news is more than good -- it's downright invigorating.

The Bros are taking on the Bard -- they're making their Macbeth, and it's going to star Denzel Washington (who previously played Don Pedro in Kenneth Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing, pictured) and Frances McDormand (who is Frances f'ing McDormand) as the Lord and his Lady. O, Vaulting Ambition!

And you're a better person than I if you're not already casting this thing in your head with a bunch of Coen regulars -- as soon as I landed on Tilda Swinton playing all three of the witches I might've passed right out. Who are you play-casting?

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Reader Comments (26)

Not a Coen regular, really, but I could see Ralph Fiennes as Banquo.

This is so exciting, though. The potential for third Oscars abounds. And it's A24 - if anything can lend even more prestige to the project, that can.

March 28, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

This will be DYNAMITE.

March 28, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterWayne41

Can't see McDormand here at all.

March 28, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTyler

I'm on the fence about this one. I loved the BBC version of Macbeth with Kenneth Branagh and Alex Kingston. It was the version with all the mud, and it pounded along so fast you really felt their fear.
I'm a Coen Bros. fan and I don't think this is really their sensibility at all. They have bits of violence and gore, but all of their films are laden with irony. Possibly my imagination is lacking however I'm just not feeling it. Terribly sorry.

March 28, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

LadyEdith I think what excites me the most about the Coens tackling this is their tendency towards irony -- Shakespeare adaptations often feel intimidated by themselves and deathly self-serious, and I don't think the Coens will take that tack at all. I'm looking forward to seeing where the two meet!

March 28, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJason

Sounds like Ethan is sitting this one out.

March 28, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJake

Doesn't make any sense to me.

March 28, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Looking forward to this one, although it's a bit odd that Ethan Coen is omitted from the DH writeup. Are the Bros. separating? Is Ethan sick?

March 28, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterW.J.

I love that Tilda in multiple roles doesn't sound at all far-fetched because who else has done that as often as she has (techno lust, suspiria, that movie about the cute ginormous mutant pig, orlando, etcetera)

March 28, 2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

It seems his near hit two years ago really has Denzel gunning for that third Oscar now. I'm a fan of neither Shakespeare nor the Coen brothers, but I'll show up for Mr. Washington.

March 28, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

Denzel Washington as Macbeth by the Coen Brothers with Frances McDormand as Lady Macbeth? Shut the fuck up and take all of my money because I want to fucking see that!!!!!

March 28, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

I stick with the Fassbender/Cotillard pairing thanks.

March 28, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTony

I'm definitely on board with this. Macbeth is definitely one of the two Shakespeare plays that have the right wiggle room to "fit" the Coen sensibility (Hamlet is the other). That having been said? Not sure I "get" the choice of McDormand as Lady Macbeth. Just in terms of people who've done multiple Coen movies, I'd think Holly Hunter seems like a better choice on paper.

March 28, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Please give Glenn Close a supporting part.

March 28, 2019 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

Harry Lennix as Duncan, the king. Lennix is such a treat in every part he does. He was unforgettable as Aaron in Julie Taymor’s “Titus” (Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus) and it’s always an advantage to have a great actor who illuminates Shakespearean verse.

It would also add an edge to the story if Duncan was so much obviously a better king than McBeth.

Since Denzel Washington onscreen never listens to women and dismisses everything they say, maybe they figured it would take someone like Frances McDormand to finally make him listen.

March 28, 2019 | Unregistered Commenteradri

I saw McDormand play Lady Macbeth opposite Conleth Hill at the Berkeley Rep a few years ago; she was fantastic, and also played one of the Weird Sister. Can't wait for this (even if I will miss Ethan)!

March 28, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDevin D

Chiwetel Ejiofor as Macduff. He’s worked with Denzel Washington before in “American Gangster”. He’s also played Romeo and Othello (and won an Olivier award for it). It always makes a production smoother if your actors can concentrate on character, and don’t have to struggle with the poetic language.

Also Macduff is Macbeth’s competition. Macbeth should have to be wary of Macduff on some level, so you need an actor of fire and presence like Ejiofor.

March 28, 2019 | Unregistered Commenteradri

Mary Zophres can start preparing her Oscar outfit now...

March 28, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Why is it always Macbeth, Hamlet or Romeo and Juliet? Macbeth is literally the last major English language Shakespeare adaptation already (2015). I personally would love to see the Coens try one of Shakespeare's comedy.

March 28, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterkin

According to what I read, it's not going to be a Coen Brothers film, but a Joel Coen solo project. Hard to imagine a thing like that.

March 29, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMrW

I am not filled with optimism by this.

March 29, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

@adri - your comment below is so astute it almost makes me want to see this. Almost.

"Since Denzel Washington onscreen never listens to women and dismisses everything they say, maybe they figured it would take someone like Frances McDormand to finally make him listen."

March 29, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJames from Ames

I really want

Kate Winslet
Glenn Close
Cate Blanchett

Ralph Fiennes
Gary Oldman

Angela Bassett
Alfre Woodard
Octabia Spencer
Cynthia Orivo

in this!

March 29, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterjosua

someone n meds to SHUT UP about Close...

March 29, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterrdf

Tony's comment is pretty sad. It makes me sad.

March 29, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMe

Macduff - John Turturro
Malcolm - Rami Malek
Banquo - Steve Buscemi
Witches - Holly Hunter, Andie MacDowell, and Madeleine Stowe
Lady Macduff - Marcia Gay Harden
Duncan - Gabriel Byrne

March 30, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPaolo

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