‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’ is a Black and White Film from Joel Coen

We might still be in the thick of the extended award season for 2020 films, but plenty are looking ahead already to the films that are sure to be dominating the conversation for next year’s awards. One of the most anticipated titles, making our list of the 100 Movies to Look Forward to in 2021, is The Tragedy of Macbeth, and we’ve just gotten some very intriguing and unexpected news about what we can expect from this latest adaptation of Shakespeare’s beloved play. 

We already knew that the film is being directed by Joel Coen, marking his first time working without his brother Ethan, and that it’s to star Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand in the iconic leading roles. Being a Coen picture, it’s no surprise that costume designer Mary Zophres is on board, as she has worked on every Coens’ movie since 1996’s Fargo, earning Oscar nominations for her work with them on True Grit and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (she earned a third nomination for Damien Chazelle’s La La Land). 

Recently, Zophres appeared on the Team Deakins podcast, run by another Coens’ regular, Oscar winning cinematographer Roger Deakins. Deakins isn’t working on Macbeth, with cinematographer duties there going to Bruno Delbonnel, who has worked with the Coens on Inside Llewyn Davis and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, earning an Oscar nod for the former. During their conversation, Zophres revealed to Deakins that Delbonnel shot The Tragedy of Macbeth entirely in black and white. 

This is going to be the second time we’ll see a movie from Joel Coen in black and white, with the first being the Deakins-shot The Man Who Wasn’t There, which was one of the most visually striking movies from the Coens’ canon. Discovering that this new feature will be shot in black and white is an interesting little surprise that is surely going to have fans salivating even more to see what the director and his team have in store. 

The Tragedy of Macbeth doesn’t currently have a scheduled release date, but filming completed back in July of 2020, so surely A24 plans to have it ready for release to coincide with next year’s awards season. Alongside 2-time Oscar winners Washington and McDormand in the leading roles (with McDormand currently looking for her 3rd with Nomadland), the film stars Brendan GleesonCorey HawkinsMoses IngramHarry Melling, and Ralph Ineson


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Written by Mitchell Beaupre

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