Apple Picks Up Joel Coen's 'The Tragedy of Macbeth' Starring Frances McDormand and Denzel Washington

Something incredible this way comes to Apple TV+. Apple announced that is teaming up with A24 to release the highly anticipated drama The Tragedy of Macbeth, Joel Coen‘s first movie without brother Ethan and a surefire awards contender starring Oscar winners Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand. And with this film and Martin Scorsese’s latest under its belt, Apple may have just its greatest bid for the Oscars yet.

Apple Original Films and A24 are partnering up to release Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth, which will be released in theaters worldwide ahead of a global launch on Apple TV+.

The Tragedy of Macbeth is a black-and-white adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Scottish play starring Washington as the ambitious Macbeth and McDormand as his power-hungry wife Lady Macbeth. The names behind the movie have already set The Tragedy of Macbeth up to be a major awards contender. It’s directed by Joel Coen, striking out on his own for the first time. It stars Oscar winner Washington and McDormand, fresh off her memorable Oscar win for Nomadland. The film will be shot in black-and-white, courtesy of cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel. And though it’s one of many in a long line of Macbeth adaptations, it looks to be a new and exciting take, with McDormand hinting that her and Washington’s ages will factor into the adaptation.

“I think a very important thing about Joel’s adaptation is that we are not calling it Macbeth,” McDormand said in a previous interview. “We’re calling it The Tragedy of Macbeth, which I think is an important distinction. In Joel’s adaptation, we are exploring the age of the characters and in our adaptation, the Macbeths are older. Both Denzel 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.”

Apple picking The Tragedy of Macbeth up signals the streamer’s own ambition for awards glory. While Apple TV+ earned Emmy recognition for some of its originals like The Morning Show, the fairly new streamer hasn’t yet become a major contender at the Oscars like Netflix or Amazon have, and it’s clearly throwing lots of money around to join the club. Apple notably paid the big bucks for Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, and forked over a record-setting amount of money for the Sundance darling CODA. It’s teamed up with A24 in the past too, with Sofia Coppola’s Bill Murray-starring On the Rocks, the Sundance prize winner Boys State, and the upcoming YA adaptation The Sky is Everywhere. But The Tragedy of Macbeth is definitely one of its most high profile acquisitions yet.

Also starring in The Tragedy of Macbeth are Bertie Carvel, Alex Hassell, Corey Hawkins, Kathryn Hunter, Harry Melling and Brendan Gleeson. Frequent Coen collaborators are also on board including Mary Zophres as costume designer, and Carter Burwell composing the score. In addition to directing, Coen produces the film alongside McDormand and Robert Graf.

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