The Tragedy of Macbeth

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The Tragedy of Macbeth

A Scottish lord becomes convinced by a trio of witches that he will become the next King of Scotland, and his ambitious wife supports him in his plans of seizing power.

The Tragedy of Macbeth stars Denzel WashingtonCorey Hawkins, and Alex Hassell explain how director Joel Coen and their talented cast inspired them to bring their A-game to the Shakespeare adaptation.


The whole movie was shot on a soundstage. Everything was built. Except an element of the last shot in the movie, there isn't a single exterior shot.

The first solo directorial effort by Joel Coen. All of his previous films have been co-directed by his brother Ethan Coen, though Ethan was uncredited as director until 2004.

Shot in 36 days, which was the shortest shooting Joel Coen has done. Most of the shoot was completed several months after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To give the film a look "untethered from reality," the entire production was shot on sound stages.

According to cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel, nearly all of the costumes and sets were black-and-white except for a couple of dresses worn by Frances McDormand. He also had some shadows painted directly onto the sets to make the lighting seem otherworldly.

Frances McDormand played Lady Macbeth previously in a 2016 Berkeley Rep production (also starring Conleth Hill as Macbeth and directed by Daniel J. Sullivan). Denzel Washington has never been in a previous production of Macbeth, but he has appeared in numerous other Shakespeare plays, including Coriolanus, The Tragedy of Richard III, Julius Caesar and Much Ado About Nothing (1993).

Although the whole film was shot in grayscale, the color temperature varies throughout the movie, depending on the scene.

When Ross meets the old man in the ruined cottage the first time, the character sings the first verse of a song that ends with the line "For the rain it raineth every day." The lines are not from Macbeth, but an earlier Shakespeare comedy, Twelfth Night. The Clown or Fool in that play, Feste, sings them at the end of the play.

Was filmed completely in black and white.