Denzel Washington shines in teaser trailer for ‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’

Washington stars alongside Frances McDormand in the Shakespearean tragedy.

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Denzel Washington is tackling the William Shakespeare classic of Macbeth.

Apple and A24 released a trailer for The Tragedy of Macbeth. The film will be released in theaters on Christmas Day and become available for purchase on streaming via Apple TV Plus on Jan.14, 2022. Joel Coen adapted the classic for the upcoming film.

Coen’s take on the play has Washington starring as Lord Macbeth. Frances McDormand stars as Lady Macbeth in the black and white film. Just as in the play, the film chronicles the couple’s murderous ploys as they seek power over Scotland and how their method has disastrous results. 

Denzel Washington
Denzel Washington during the 47th AFI Life Achievement Award honoring Denzel Washington at Dolby Theatre on June 06, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Erik Voake/Getty Images for WarnerMedia) 610530

The trailer includes clips of large black birds flying throughout the sky, Washington as Macbeth traveling through the desert, a hand lifting a crown from the ground, and Lady Macbeth looking over her shoulder in fear. There’s minimal dialogue in the 56-second trailer, with only a witch’s voice that utters one of the most iconic lines from the play: “By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.”

In addition to Washington and McDormand, The Tragedy of Macbeth stars Corey Hawkins (The Walking Dead and In The Heights) as Macduff, Moses Ingram (The Queen’s Gambit) as Lady Macduff, Brendan Gleeson (Harry Potter) as King Duncan, Harry Melling (Harry Potter and The Queen’s Gambit) as Malcolm and Ralph Ineson (The Green Knight) as the captain, among others. 

The film marks Coen’s directorial debut by himself. He typically directed alongside his brother Ethan. It’s also the first for Ethan to not work side-by-side with his brother. Coen did seek the help of peers he’s worked alongside before for the film. McDormand, Coen’s wife, has starred in several of the brothers’ films.

Two-time Oscar winner McDormand recently won the Best Actress Oscar for her role in Nomandland. She also won the Best Actress award for Fargo.

Denzel Washington
Honoree Denzel Washington speaks onstage during the 47th AFI Life Achievement Award honoring Denzel Washington at Dolby Theatre on June 06, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for WarnerMedia)

In an interview with Deadline, Coen spoke of how easy it was to get Washington on board for the film.

“Maybe five or six years ago, Denzel and I had lunch together and we talked very generally about, it would be cool to work together at some point, if the right thing came along for him and for us,” he said.

“So, when we were casting this movie, it was very much…Denzel? And it was [like you heard a] click. I got together with him at, again for lunch in LA, and I said, what about doing Macbeth? And he was like, yeah, cool…He also has a long history of doing Shakespeare, and everything felt right about it and it wasn’t like he needed to think a long time about it at that lunch. It was like, yeah, okay, so know, what do we do?”

McDormand also sang Washington’s praises, telling the outlet: “It couldn’t have been more perfect, actually. There aren’t many actors, contemporaries of my age, that could handle the character but also who consistently does theater the way Denzel does. Even though he and I, the majority of the time we’re working on film, we have also been really committed to doing theaters our entire careers. And he had recently done The Iceman Cometh, which is a huge monster of a memory job. We were like, oh, he can probably pull this off, just technically.”

Variety predicts that The Tragedy of Macbeth could be nominated for Best Cinematography at the 2022 Academy Awards. The film will serve as the opening for the 2021 New York Film Festival.

Watch the trailer below:

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