The Tragedy Of Macbeth: Release Date, Cast And Other Things To Know About Joel Coen’s A24 Movie

Denzel Washington in The Tragedy of Macbeth

William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Macbeth is one of most popular and darkest plays from the prolific writer’s body of work and has been been adapted countless times over the years, but Joel Coen’s upcoming adaptation starring Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand looks to be one of the most unique retellings of the classic story yet. The soon-to-be-released A24 film, which will also be available on the Apple TV+ streaming service, appears to be a bold and dreamlike interpretation of the iconic play about the psychological effects political ambition can have on someone. Here’s everything we know about it so far.

Denzel Washington in The Tragedy of Macbeth

The Tragedy Of Macbeth Theatrical Release Date Is Set For December 25, 2021, Will Premiere On Apple TV+ On January 14, 2022

Moviegoers in large cities or areas lucky enough to get access to films upon their limited release will be able to check out The Tragedy of Macbeth starting December 25, 2021, which sounds like one hell of a way to spend Christmas afternoon with the family. Those not living in or near markets with access to the limited release, which is be distributed through A24, will have to wait until January 14, 2022 when The Tragedy of Macbeth makes its streaming debut on Apple TV+ where it will join a slew of other movies that have distributed through the platform.

Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand in The Tragedy of Macbeth

The Tragedy Of Macbeth Cast Includes Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand And Corey Hawkins

The list of actors that appear as part of The Tragedy of Macbeth cast is truly something to behold. Leading the tragic story will be two-time Academy Award winner Denzel Washington as Lord Macbeth, three-time Oscar-winning actress Frances McDormand as Lady Macbeth, and Emmy-nominated rising star Corey Hawkins as Lord Macduff. The rest of the cast is just as impressive with Brendan Gleeson, Harry Melling, Moses Ingram, Ralph Ineson, Stephen Root, Sean Patrick Thomas, and several other notable stars.

The Three Witches in The Tragedy of Macbeth

The Tragedy Of Macbeth Is A Retelling Of William Shakespeare’s Iconic Play Of The Same Name

When The Tragedy of Macbeth opens in theaters and Apple TV+ they will be welcomed back into the world of William Shakespeare’s 17th Century tale about an ambitious Scottish lord who believes he should become king following an encounter with a trio of mysterious and powerful witches. Lord Macbeth’s quest for power and glory will lead to murder, madness, and deceit before everything is said and done.

Frances McDormand in The Tragedy of Macbeth

The Shakespeare Adaptation Will Touch On How Age Impacts The Ambition Of Lord And Lady Macbeth

Joel Coen’s adaptation of The Tragedy of Macbeth will not only deal with Denzel Washington’s character’s desire to become the King of Scotland but also the way in which his age impacts that ambition. During a 2020 interview with The Film Stage, Frances McDormand (who is also producing the movie) revealed that the age of the characters “puts a pressure” on them as well as their ambition:

In Joel’s adaptation, we are exploring the age of the characters and our adaptation the Macbeths are older. Both Denzel [Washington] and I are older than what is often cast as the Macbeths. We’re postmenopausal, we’re past childbearing age. So that puts a pressure on their ambition to have the crown. I think the most important distinction is that it is their last chance for glory. It puts a very specific time pressure on the characters, but also on the storytelling, which I think is the real brilliance of the adaptation that Joel has done. There’s a real suspense and a real ticking clock. The time is running out–not only for the characters, but also it propels the storytelling.

The whole “last chance for glory” comment made by Frances McDormand sounds like it could add even more tension to an already tense story.

Billy Bob Thornton in The Man Who Wasn't There

Joel Coen Is Making This Movie Without His Filmmaking Partner And Brother

Going back to their 1984 feature-length film debut Blood Simple, Joel and Ethan Coen, known together as the Coen brothers, have written and directed some of the most important films of all time including Fargo, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and No Country For Old Men. And even though Ethan Coen wasn’t credited as a director on some of those movies, he has very much been part of the process. That all changes with The Tragedy of Macbeth.

Upon reading about the movie, you might find it strange to only see Joel Coen’s name listed as the writer and director for The Tragedy of Macbeth, but that will be the case this time around. During a 2020 interview with Collider, composer Carter Burwell (who composed many of Coen’s movies including his latest) discussed working with Joel Coen on his own when they were first talking about this film. And even though things will “be a little different,” Burwell said he thinks the movie will have that familiar Coen voice.

Harry Melling and Brendan Gleeson in The Tragedy of Macbeth

The Tragedy Of Macbeth Was Shot Entirely On Sound Stages

One way that The Tragedy of Macbeth will differ from other adaptations of the play, like the Justin Kurzel-directed 2015 epic Macbeth, is the fact that it was shot entirely on sound stages. During a 2020 interview with IndieWire, composer Carter Burwell had this to say about the production and its impact on the look of the film and scope of its story:

It doesn’t look like Scotland. It’s more like a psychological reality. That said, it doesn’t seem stage-like either. Joel has compared it to German Expressionist film. You’re in a psychological world, and it’s pretty clear right from the beginning the way he’s shot it.

In the original play, Lord Macbeth is deeply impacted by nightmares and visions throughout the narrative, and this method of shooting the movie could really add a dreamlike quality to the film.

Denzel Washington in The Tragedy of Macbeth

The Tragedy Of Macbeth’s Mysterious Trailer Gives You A Taste Of What’s To Come

In September 2021, A24 released the first trailer for The Tragedy of Macbeth, which gives you a rather brief look at some some of the film’s major characters and a small amount of information. And though it only clocks in under a minute in length, this teaser sets the mood for and tone of what’s to come in this highly anticipated Shakespeare adaptation.

Watch the trailer below:

Expect to hear more about The Tragedy of Macbeth and the rest of the upcoming 2021 new movie releases as we push through the final months of the year.

Philip Sledge
Content Writer

Philip grew up in Louisiana (not New Orleans) before moving to St. Louis after graduating from Louisiana State University-Shreveport. When he's not writing about movies or television, Philip can be found being chased by his three kids, telling his dogs to stop barking at the mailman, or yelling about professional wrestling to his wife. If the stars properly align, he will talk about For Love Of The Game being the best baseball movie of all time.