Joel Coen Will Direct 'Macbeth' Starring Denzel Washington And Frances McDormand

Joel Coen, one-half of the Coen Brothers, is going solo to bring a new version of William Shakespeare's Macbeth to the big screen. That's exciting enough on its own, but it gets better. Denzel Washington is in talks to play Macbeth, and frequent Coen collaborator (and Joel Coen's wife) Frances McDormand will also star as Lady Macbeth. Super indie studio A24 will distribute.Deadline is reporting Joel Coen will direct Macbeth with Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand. Curiously enough, Ethan Coen is not mentioned anywhere in the story, suggesting he's not involved at all. The Coens almost always work together, and have directed all their films as a pair (although Joel was only credited until The Ladykilers. Variety, in turn, confirms this will be Joel's first feature without Ethan. I'm not sure what the reasoning is behind this – perhaps Ethan is busy, or not interested. I just hope we haven't seen the last of a Coen Brothers as a filmmaking duo.

Beyond that, I'm incredibly pumped about this. While there have been plenty adaptations of Macbeth – including one as recently as 2015, with Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard – the prospect of a Coen-infused take on Shakespeare, with Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand in the leads, is too good to ignore.

In Shakespeare's classic play, power-hungry Scottish Lord Macbeth and his scheming wife Lady Macbeth plot to seize the crown and take over Scotland, raking up a body count along the way. In addition to the 2015 film, the story has been adapted to screen by Orson Welles in 1948, and Roman Polanski in 1971 (Polanski's adaptation is my personal favorite take on the material).

We don't know yet what Coen's take on the material will be. It's difficult to imagine him making a straight, period-appropriate adaptation of Shakespeare's text, so I wouldn't be surprised if he gives it twist – changing the setting and the story in some way. Variety says that "Coen will direct from his own original script," which certainly hints at the filmmaker adding his own distinct voice to the material.

Coen, who recently helmed the Netflix Western The Ballad of Buster Scruggs with his brother, hopes to shoot Macbeth before the end of the year, with Scott Rudin producing, and everyone's favorite indie studio A24 distributing. This will keep Washington quite busy, as he's set to start shooting the thriller Little Things, and then direct Jordan for Jordan, starring Michael B. Jordan. McDormand, meanwhile, will provide the voice of God in the upcoming Amazon adaptation of Good Omens.