Denzel. McDormand. Coen. Shakespeare. This Is Happening (NEWS)


Double, double, toil and trouble: Denzel Washington is going to be in a Coen movie. And it’s going to be Shakespeare.

Yes, that’s right, a Coen movie — not a Coen Brothers movie.

Joel Coen will direct his screenplay adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, starring Washington in the title role as a Scottish lord who looks to seize the throne. Coen’s two-time Academy Award winning wife Frances McDormand will co-star as the ambitious Lady Macbeth.

Joel’s collaborator and brother Ethan Coen was not cited in initial press releases as being part of the project (indeed, Variety is reporting that Ethan’s absence is official), so this appears to be Joel’s first solo effort as a filmmaker unless the news is otherwise updated.

Even so, longtime Coen producer Scott Rudin will be onboard; he also produced Denzel’s recent adaptation of Fences, for both stage and screen. A24 will distribute (so yes, thankfully, this won’t go straight to Netflix like The Ballad of Buster Scruggs did).

The prospect of this is deeply intriguing on many levels, not only for the marriage of assembled talent and source material but, even more so, because the Coens’ O Brother, Where Art Thou (er, now an appropriate question for Macbeth) was an “adaptation” of Homer‘s The Odyssey in the absolute loosest and most liberal sense. Will the same prove true here? I can’t wait to hear Shakespeare’s text filtered through Coen’s voice.

Macbeth will go into production this year. No release date has been announced, although 2020 appears likely.

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