Denzel Washington plays Shakespeare in Joel Coen’s ‘thriller’

He imposes Denzel Washington in the title role of The Tragedy of Macbeth, available on Apple TV+ this Friday. And this adaptation of Shakespeare directed by Joel Coen (yes on his own, without his brother Ethan for the first time) is as impressive as he is. “Shakespeare, Joel Coen and Frances McDormand are the three reasons why I accepted this project, entrusts the actor to 20 minutes. That was more than enough to motivate me! »

This magnificent fresco, superbly lit in black and white by Bruno Delbonnel, offers an intense version of the piece. “Joel made the piece denser by modifying a few passages,” explains Denzel Washington. It’s now being framed as a thriller, which should make it more accessible to today’s audience. »

A team spirit

Macbeth’s desire for power, who kills his king to take his place after encountering a trio of witches, plunges him into a nightmare shared by the viewer. “Joel insisted that we shoot in the studio in very bare sets,” says Denzel Washington. It left us bare with no place to hide. The filmmaker sometimes goes so far as to isolate certain elements of the actors’ faces to accentuate the dramaturgy.

“He made us all do readings together during which we all felt equal in front of him, insists Denzel Washington. He was able to create a troupe united by the text of Shakespeare. The actor savors each tirade like a delicacy and his partner Frances McDormand is just as impressive as Lady Macbeth, gradually struck by madness. “Joel left us with a great impression of freedom, recognizes the actor. I hardly had the impression of being directed, which shows the subtlety of which he is capable with his actors. »

A beautiful representation

Inconsolable over the death of Sidney Poitier, whom he describes as “an irreplaceable model and friend who paved the way”, Denzel Washington is delighted to see many colorful faces in the troupe. “When I was a student, I played othello because he was black, but it’s important for young African Americans to feel represented in plays like macbeth. It is also a way of opening them up to culture. » Macbeth’s Tragedy, an impressionist poem, is one of those works that rediscover the classics of literature and theater for all audiences.

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