Joel Coen does Shakespeare in the dark with The Tragedy of Macbeth trailer

There is no shortage of big-name takes on Shakespeare’s iconic Macbeth. Orson Welles has done it; Akira Kurosawa has done it; Roman Polanski has done it; and just a few years ago Justin Kurzel did a stylish take that saw Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard as the titular leads.

But if Joel Coen is going to do it as a dramatic black-and-white production with Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand, that is certainly a welcome addition to the list.

And he has! So have a look with this first trailer for Coen’s The Tragedy of MacBeth.

While Coen and wife McDormand have said the pacing and older age of the leads gives this take the ticking clock feeling of a thriller, this is an adaptation as much Shakespeare as Coen. Unlike O Brother, Where Art Thou?—the Coens’ loose adaptation of The Odyssey, a story to which they admitted to having only gleaned from other media and never actually read—this is a faithful telling. The director used entirely the original language, merely editing out what he estimates is about 15%. You could totally cheat on your 9th-grade English assignment with this.

The Tragedy of Macbeth hits Apple TV+ December 25. Which is perfect, because who doesn’t enjoy spending Christmas with a somber Shakespearean tragedy?

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