“By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this comes.” It’s one of the most famous lines from one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, The Tragedy of Macbeth—and fans of the Bard have been waiting patiently for the next translation of his work to come the big screen. On Tuesday, we got a wicked, if relatively wordless, taste of what’s to come.
After months of anticipation, Apple Original Films & A24 released the teaser-trailer for the new Joel Coen film, The Tragedy of Macbeth, a black-and-white epic starring Oscar winners Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand. The less than one-minute clip opens with Washington’s Lord Macbeth and friend Banquo striding across a foggy landscape, presumably to meet the three witches who will seal their fates with their visions. Later frames shows us the doomed King Duncan, and a seemingly bemused Macbeth (captured above) while the final shot brings us 2021 Best Actress winner McDormand as Lady Macbeth, turning to the camera with an inscrutable look.
It’s dramatic, it’s mysterious, it’s...not hitting select theaters until December 25, with global streaming beginning January 14, 2022 on Apple TV+.
Still, we’re hype. Even if you’re not a fan of Shakespeare, the one-two punch of Washington and McDormand playing two of the meatiest roles in theatrical history is something to look forward to (in case you missed Washington’s command of the language—and the breeches—as Don Pedro in Kenneth Branagh’s version of Much Ado About Nothing). And as one-half of the famed Coen Brothers, Joel Coen (co-director of Fargo, The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men, among others—as well as being married to McDormand), is not likely to hold back. Bertie Carvel, Alex Hassell, Corey Hawkins, Harry Melling, Brendan Gleeson, Kathryn Hunter, and Moses Ingram round out the cast.
As for the chemistry we can expect between the two stars, New York Times film critic Kyle Buchanan tweeted an insightful anecdote about the backstory Washington and McDormand created for the onscreen narrative as an ambitious married couple, shared by McDormand herself.
When Denzel and I were rehearsing Macbeth, at one point, he said, ‘So, how do you think we met, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth?’ I was thinking to myself, really, we’re going to talk backstory about Lady Macbeth? Okay, all right. Why not? I can go there with the best of them. I said, ‘Shakespeare wrote this other play called Romeo and Juliet, about two kids who were 15 and their parents don’t want them to be together. They get together anyway and get married, and instead of committing suicide, they turn out to be us.’ He said, ‘Okay,’ and that’s who we are. That’s really palpable in our portrayal of the couple...It’s great.
Again, we’ll have to wait and see, as The Tragedy of Macbeth premieres in theaters Dec. 25, globally streaming Jan. 14 on Apple TV+.