Skip to main content

First look at Joel Coen's Macbeth movie features Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand

Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand
(Image credit: Warner Bros./Fox Searchlight Pictures)

New movie The Tragedy of Macbeth has its first look, featuring stars Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand.

Based on William Shakespeare's play of the same name, it follows Macbeth (Washington), a Scottish lord who receives a prophecy from three witches that he will one day become King of Scotland. Macbeth becomes consumed with ambition and, with the encouragement of his wife (McDormand), he goes to extreme lengths to take his place on the throne. 

See more

Written and directed by Joel Coen, it's the director's first solo project without his brother Ethan and the first time either of the Coen brothers has made a movie on his own.

Alongside Washington and McDormand, the movie also stars Brendan Gleeson, In the Heights' Corey Hawkins, and The Queen's Gambit's Harry Melling. Coen's wife McDormand is a frequent fixture in the brothers' movies, also starring in Raising Arizona, Fargo, Burn After Reading, and Hail, Caesar!.  

The movie is set to make its world premiere at this year's New York Film Festival in September, but it doesn't have a theatrical release date yet. "The New York Film Festival is a place where I’ve been watching movies as an audience member and showing them as a filmmaker for almost 50 years," Coen said in a statement. "It’s a real privilege and a thrill to be opening the Festival this year with The Tragedy of Macbeth."

The Tragedy of Macbeth is the first project from either Coen since 2018's The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. The brothers made their directorial feature debut in 1984 with Blood Simple and have had a steady output of work ever since. 

Shakespeare's tragedy has been made for the big screen plenty of times, most recently in 2015 starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. Back in 1957, Akira Kurosawa brought the story to the setting of feudal Japan for his movie Throne of Blood, while 1991's Men of Respect retells the story as a Mafia power struggle in modern-day New York City.

While we wait for The Tragedy of Macbeth to arrive in theaters and on Apple TV Plus, check out our list of all the other upcoming movies to get excited about in 2021 and beyond.

I’m an Entertainment Writer at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections – I help bring you all the latest news and the occasional feature, too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.