Denzel Washington Goes Shakespeare In Debut Tragedy Of Macbeth Trailer

When tremendous talent comes together, it’s hard not to always expect tremendous results, and The Tragedy Of Macbeth is a perfect example. Based on the play by William Shakespeare, the new film is written and directed by the brilliant Joel Coen, and playing the lead roles are the incomparable Denzel Washington and Francis McDormand. It is set to premiere this week at the New York Film Festival – but before the first wave of reviews rolls in, we now have this brand new trailer to bring our excitement to extreme levels.

Marking the first time that Joel Coen has shot a movie in black-and-white since 2001’s The Man Who Wasn’t There, The Tragedy Of Macbeth features Denzel Washington as the titular Scottish lord, whose journey begins in the story when he is told that he is destined to be crowned king. Filled with ambition as a result of this prophecy, Macbeth acts to ensure that the events in the divination come to pass, with his wife (Frances McDormand) supporting him all along the way – but in his quest to achieve great power he ultimately sacrifices his soul.

The Tragedy Of Macbeth is the first feature that Joel Coen has directed on his own, having spent his entire career working with his brother, Ethan. The last film that the siblings made together was the western anthology The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs, which hit Netflix back in late 2018. It is presently unclear what’s to come in terms of future collaborations (it’s been said by composer Carter Burwell that Ethan Coenjust doesn’t want to make movies anymore”), but for now we’re definitely excited to see what Joel Coen can do as a solo director – and this trailer suggests that he is plenty capable on his own.

This movie marks the first time that Denzel Washington has taken on the role of Lord Macbeth, though he has been forming Shakespeare since the start of his career. In 1979 he was in a stage production of Coriolanus that featured Morgan Freeman, Keith David, and CCH Pounder, and in 1993 he played the role of Don Pedro in Kenneth Branagh’s big screen adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing. Washington has changed a great deal as a performer since then, but in this first look at this return to the work of The Bard it looks like he is going to be putting on a clinic.

Featuring a stacked supporting cast that includes Brendan Gleeson (as King Duncan), Harry Melling, Ralph Ineson, Sean Patrick Thomas, and Corey Hawkins, The Tragedy Of Macbeth will have its world premiere at the New York Film Festival this Friday, but soon after will hit theaters courtesy of A24 – specifically on December 25 (it will be available on AppleTV+ starting January 14). Look for it to be a big player in this year’s awards season, and to see all of the features still to come in the rest of the year, head on over to our 2021 Movie Release Calendar.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.