It’s only been a few years since the last Macbeth adaptation, but you won’t see me complaining about new takes on one of Shakespeare’s best plays, especially when the talent is there. Deadline reports that Joel Coen is set to do a new adaptation of the Scottish play starring Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand. For those who are still somehow unaware of a play that’s over 400 years old, the story follows Lord and Lady Macbeth, who plot to murder the Scottish king and take the throne.
There are still some big questions with regards to this adaptation. The immediate one is, “Where’s Ethan Coen?” Although Joel Coen is the credited director on all the brothers’ movies, it’s generally accepted that in addition to writing their movies together, they also direct them together (they also edit them together under the name “Roderick Jaynes”). Ethan Coen isn’t mentioned in Deadline’s story, so this would be the first feature Joel has directed without his brother.
The other major question is setting. Audiences just got a period-appropriate Macbeth with Justin Kurzel’s 2015 movie starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. Would Joel Coen really want to do another one so soon after a major one had hit theaters? One of the fun things about Macbeth is that it can be applied to different settings fairly easily because at its core it’s a story about a usurper, so you just need a setting where there’s a ruler and a person who would be willing to kill in order to rule.
A24 has picked up worldwide distribution on this one, so hopefully it comes together quickly. Washington also recently signed on to star in the film Little Things and to direct A Journal for Jordan. McDormand will next be seen in Chloe Zhao’s new movie, Nomadland.