Denzel Washington on the pressure of acting in Shakespeare's 'Macbeth'


Denzel Washington (left) and Frances McDormand in 'The Tragedy Of Macbeth'. Photo: Handout

Denzel Washington portrays one of William Shakespeare's most famous characters in The Tragedy Of Macbeth, a new adaptation of the 400-year-old play the Oscar winning actor says he had never seen staged before.

The Hollywood star plays the titular role in Joel Coen's black and white film version of the tragedy about a Scottish general who, spurred on by his wife, commits murder to access the throne.

Fellow Oscar winner Frances McDormand plays Lady Macbeth in the stage-like movie.

"It just so happens as fate would have it I've never seen it. I wasn't avoiding it. I just hadn't seen it," Washington said.

"I was fortunate in that Joel and Fran and myself got together close to a year out from shooting and we started reading scenes together. We got to get into the material and ask questions and bounce off of each other and act a little bit and see how we all work together."

From Peter O'Toole and Ian McKellen to James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, a long list of actors have played the lead in Macbeth, which is believed to have been first performed in the early 1600s.

"That's pressure, huh? Can you imagine that – someone walks up (and says) 'Look, it's been a great play for 400 years. Don't mess it up. Good luck," Washington, who previously starred in a production of Shakespeare's Othello, joked.

"I didn't feel that pressure. It was going to be a good play, whether I messed it up or not. It'll continue to be and it's open to interpretation.

"That's the great thing about Shakespeare... it's been done every which way you can. So this was Joel's idea."Known as "The Scottish Play", Macbeth is surrounded by superstition, something Washington said he "didn't pay much attention to".

"The list is too long... Every day there's another thing you're not supposed to do or something." – Reuters

The Tragedy Of Macbeth is available on Apple TV+.

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights

Next In Entertainment

Chris Rock shares controversial take on Depp-Heard trial: 'Believe all women except Amber Heard'
Pixar's next movie 'Elemental' asks 'What if elements were alive?'
From Spidey to the Multiverse: Director Sam Raimi's 'Strange' Marvel journey
Chilean director Nicolas Lopez sentenced to 5 years in prison for sexual abuse
Taiwan-based singer Fish Leong plans to visit parents in Malaysia after 2 years
Madonna on her controversial nude NFTs: ‘I’m giving birth to art’
Chris Rock jokes about Will Smith's Oscars slap: ‘Got most of my hearing back’
Amber Heard feared she 'wouldn't survive' if she stayed with Johnny Depp
Amber Heard says Johnny Depp slammed her against a wall on their honeymoon on the Orient Express
Chinese actress Yang Mi, who's worth RM3bil, welcomes gold diggers to woo her as she is rich enough

Others Also Read