Macbeth: Cast and Details for Joel Coen Shakespeare Adaptation Film

Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand will headline a very different version of Macbeth, as adapted by Joel Coen.

Denzel Washington in The Equalizer 2, Frances McDormand in Three Billboards...

Macbeth, one of William Shakespeare’s signature historical tragedies, has been adapted in myriad form over the past 400+ years on stage and every conceivable form of media. However, something wicked (well, wickedly good) this way comes, taking shape as a developing film project from celebrated cinematic directorial sibling Joel Coen. Moreover, it has an intriguing headlining duo in Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand.

A timeless tale of greed, paranoia and fatalism, Macbeth – believed to have been written in 1606 – tells the story of a Scottish lord who is given a prophecy by a trio of witches that he is destined to become king; an idea that metastasizes from the machinations of his ambitiously manipulative wife, sending the lord down a spiral of regicide and subterfuge to attain the crown. However, as it tends to happen in these tragedies, the karmic ramifications prove to be enormous.

Ad – content continues below

Joel Coen, who will direct the film off his own adaptation script, marks his first outing here without his perennial collaborator in brother Ethan, denying the project the famous Coen Brothers label. He is, however, joined by producer Scott Rudin. The film will be distributed worldwide by A24.

Joel Coen’s Macbeth Cast

In the latest news on Joel Coen’s Macbeth, Harry Melling has joined the cast, according to Deadline. He will play Malcolm, the eldest son and heir of the inevitably-ill-fated King Duncan (Brendan Gleeson). Melling, an English actor best remembered from the Harry Potter film franchise as Dudley Dursley (the spoiled son of Harry’s muggle foster parents), has been quietly carving out a career transition in nigh-unrecognizable form, pertinently in the Coen Brothers’ 2018 movie The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, and most recently appeared in an episode of HBO’s His Dark Materials.

Ad – content continues below

Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand will play the lead roles as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, respectively. Brendan Gleeson (Mr. Mercedes, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs) will play King Duncan and Corey Hawkins (The Walking Dead, Straight Outta Compton) will play the heroic Macduff, and Ralph Ineson (Dolittle, The Capture) is set for a supporting role, purportedly as a Scottish army captain.

The Coen-directed Macbeth movie would be an intriguing turn for two-time Oscar winner Denzel Washington, who, having seen and done it all in the industry, is coming off his 2018 action sequel, The Equalizer 2. Likewise, Frances McDormand, also a two-time Oscar winner, would be steered by a familiar collaborator in Joel Coen, having served as his (and Ethan’s) repertory cast member, going back to their directorial debut, 1984’s Blood Simple. McDormand will be coming off a 2019 TV run (as the voice of God,) on Amazon’s Good Omens.

Ad – content continues below

A film version of Macbeth was just released in 2018 starring Mark Rowley, and a major movie version arrived back in 2015, directed by Justin Kurzel, starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. There was also 2017 drama Lady Macbeth, which wasn’t an adaptation of the play, but appropriately evokes the Shakespearean figure in its title to describe Florence Pugh‘s main character. Of course, amongst the annals of Macbeth movies, the 1948 version, in which Orson Welles starred in and directed, remains frequently cited.

Joel Coen’s Macbeth Release Date

Joel Coen’s Macbeth has yet to set a release date, but filming is scheduled to commence in mid-February 2020.

Ad – content continues below

We’ll keep you updated right here on Joel Coen’s Macbeth as the news arrives!

Joseph Baxter is a contributor for Den of Geek and Syfy Wire. You can find his work here. Follow him on Twitter @josbaxter.