“Macbeth is the great challenge for any actor. The reward for work»

Maria Estevez

The Angels



As an unexpected detour in a filmography hitherto defined by the brotherhood, Joel Coen separates from Ethan to direct ‘Macbeth’, a Shakespeare classic that Orson Welles and Akira Kurosawa already made unforgettable for cinema.

“The biggest challenge was avoiding details that I didn’t like in other film adaptations and figuring out how not to do them. For example, it’s common in Shakespeare adaptations that when there’s a soliloquy, you don’t actually see the actor delivering the soliloquy, you hear it through an ‘off’ voice. That never worked for me, so I thought about how to preserve the language but in a more realistic context, turning poetry into dialogue,” says Joel Coen.

This adventure is less lonely than it seems because the eldest Coen does not walk alone.

He has lost his brother, but his wife is with him, Frances McDormand, passionate about literature and the work of the British author. “I found the way in which Joel intersperses scenes to make the film more dynamic, that fascinates me about this adaptation, very interesting,” admits the Oscar winner for ‘Nomadland’, who insisted the director make this version. “I have asked him for years, I have even begged him to do ‘Macbeth’ with me,” says the actress.

Filmed with plays of light reminiscent of German expressionism, this reinvention of the classic reincarnates Denzel Washington and McDormand in the characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. “When Joel called me, I immediately said yes because I thought it was an amazing journey. I played ‘Othello’ when I was 20 years old and I didn’t know what he was doing. Now, however, I have done it differently, chatting at a table before shooting, understanding the nuances of reading, savoring my role in each scene, “says Washington. The actor has several interpretations of Shakespeare behind him, some very important as ‘Richard III’ or ‘Julius Caesar’. “Macbeth is the icing on the cake, the great challenge for any actor. The reward for work,” Washington reveals excitedly, adding: “there is a sense of urgency, this is the last chance.”

destined for paper

“I wanted the role of Lady Macbeth because it was the character that got me hooked on acting. If I chose to be an actress for the rest of my life, it was thanks to the sleepwalking scene that I did when I was 14 years old and that I have continued rehearsing for 50. There is a faded inevitability that began in my adolescence and ends with this film, a perfect synchronicity. An older couple has another complicity, they know how to communicate, they understand emotions and it seemed reasonable to us, ”explains McDormand. “I think she was destined to play it after 50,” says the protagonist. “Our Lady Macbeth shines a different light on the female condition and the female power structure. Nobody in 400 years has done a version like this. It’s not like we’re inventing anything new, but the way we’ve created it is very different.”

A large part of the film is the original text, to which Joel is faithful, but the staging is also surprising, that intense atmosphere chosen by the director. «Shooting in black and white has always pleased me because it allows the abstraction of the audience. There were two ways to approach this film: a naturalistic one, renting a castle and shooting in Scotland on horseback. Another theatrical. Frances asked me for a stage and I have tried to fulfill her dream. I have done a play within the film and I have done it for it, but without making a play into a film, “concludes Coen.

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