Ahead of its debut at New York Film Festival this weekend, A24 and Apple have debuted the teaser trailer for Joel Coen’s new film The Tragedy of Macbeth. The Shakespeare adaptation stars Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand as Lord Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, respectively.
The ominous black-and-white clip opens with Macbeth journeying through the desert amid thick fog and circling crows. He approaches a trio of witches (Kathryn Hunter), one of whom delivers a signature line from the play: “By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes.” A hand then lifts an abandoned crown from the dirt. Also shown are McDormand as Lady Macbeth, Brendan Gleeson as King Duncan, and Harry Melling as Malcolm.
Adapted from William Shakespeare’s classic play Macbeth, the film is described in a press release as a “bold and fierce adaptation — a tale of murder, madness, ambition, and wrathful cunning.” The NYFF description adds that it’s “an anguished film that stares, mouth agape, at a sorrowful world undone by blind greed and thoughtless ambition” that echoes “the forbidding visual designs of Laurence Olivier’s classic 1940s Shakespeare adaptations, as well as the bloody medieval madness of Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood.” High praise indeed.
As implied by the sparse scenery in the trailer, The Tragedy of Macbeth was shot entirely on sound stages. Written and directed by Coen, the film also stars Corey Hawkins as Macduff, Moses Ingram as Lady Macduff, and Ralph Ineson as The Captain. Coen, McDormand, and Robert Graf served as producers.
The Tragedy of Macbeth marks Coen’s solo directorial debut. Although it’s his first major film credit without his regular collaborator and brother Ethan Coen, the movie does feature some of Coen’s previous collaborators: McDormand, his wife, is a frequent star of Coen brothers’ films and Gleeson appeared in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.
After opening at NYFF on September 24th, The Tragedy of Macbeth will premiere in select theaters on December 25th before coming to Apple TV+ on January 14th, 2022.
McDormand is coming off an Oscar-winning role in Chloé Zhao’s history-making Nomadland and is among the star-studded cast in Wes Anderson’s upcoming film The French Dispatch. Washington most recently starred in 2021’s The Little Things.