Joel Coen Embarks on the First Solo Directorial Gig with A24 and Apple Original Films

Joel Coen Embarks on the First Solo Directorial Gig with A24 and Apple Original Films

Photo by Nobuhiro Hosoki

It was announced this week that Apple Original Films would be partnering with A24 in the theatrical and streaming release of Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth toward the end of the year. Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand are slated to play Lord and Lady Macbeth in Coen’s upcoming version of the classic Shakespearean tragedy, to be shot, appropriately, in black and white.

The new film will mark the first production Joel Coen will be making solo, without the collaboration of his brother Ethan, with whom he partnered on such acclaimed titles as Raising Arizona (1987), Fargo (1996), True Grit (2010), and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018). They used to receive sole credit as director for the Coen brothers movies’, but has always directed films with his brother Ethan Coen (they also write and produce their films together). This was changed with The LadyKillers (2004), and now they both receive credit for directing and producing.

The cast of The Tragedy of Macbeth also includes Bertie Carvel, Alex Hassell, Corey Hawkins, Kathryn Hunter, Harry Melling and Brendan Gleeson. According to an Apple TV+ press release issued on May 12, the film reunites frequent Coen collaborators including Bruno Delbonnel as the cinematographer, Mary Zophres as costume designer and a score from Carter Burwell. In addition to directing, Coen produces the film alongside McDormand and Robert Graf.

As every high-schooler knows, Macbeth narrates the tragic fall of an ambitious Scottish nobleman and his even more ambitious wife who are goaded into action when three witches, aka the Weird Sisters, predict Macbeth’s rise to royal power in his realm. The Apple/A24 production will be groundbreaking in that it involves an older interracial couple as the protagonists.

In a film career spanning nearly four decades, Washington has played figures as diverse as Malcolm X, Robin “Hurricane” Carter, and bounty hunter Sam Chisholm. He has won two Oscars and two Golden Globe Awards. McDormand, who has been married to Joel Coen since 1984, recently won a Best Actress Oscar for her performance as Fern in Chloé Zhao’s award-winning Nomadland.

Interviewed by Indiewire, composer Carter Burwell revealed that the film has been entirely shot on sound stages: “It’s more like a psychological reality. … Joel has compared it to German Expressionist film. You’re in a psychological world, and it’s pretty clear right from the beginning the way he’s shot it.” Coen’s Macbeth is poised to be murdering sleep by the end of this year, a good six months after Walpurgisnacht.

Comment (0)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here