Joel Coen's 'Macbeth' Adaptation With Denzel Washington And Frances McDormand Delayed Due To Coronavirus

Almost exactly one year ago, we learned Joel Coen was taking a break from writing and directing movies with his brother Ethan Coen in order to tackle a new big screen adaptation of William Shakespeare's classic play Macbeth on his own. Shooting was slated to begin in Los Angeles this spring, but it should come as no surprise that the A24 production has been delayed along with pretty much every other movie in Hollywood due to the coronavirus pandemic spreading across the United States.

Deadline has news on the Macbeth movie being delayed. It's not clear when Macbeth will be able to begin production, but they're not alone since nearly all projects in Los Angeles (and around the world) have been shut down due to coronavirus concerns. It's also not clear if this will have any impact on the film's release date, which had yet to be announced anyway.

Macbeth is slated to start Denzel Washington in the title role of the play, which follows the power-hungry Lord Macbeth as he schemes with his wife to become the new kind of Scotland after being convinced of his fate by a trio of witches. In his quest for the crown, Macbeth goes to extreme and violent measures, leaving many dead bodies in his wake.

This won't be the first time Washington has tackled Shakespeare on the big screen. Previously, he played Don Pedro, Prince of Aragon in Much Ado About Nothing in 1993. Washington also played the title role in Richard III in a Shakespeare in the Park production in New York City in 1990, not to mention playing Brutus in a 2005 production of Julius Caesar on Broadway.

The cast of Macbeth will also include frequent Coen Brothers collaborator Frances McDormand as Lady Macbeth, which makes sense since she's not only a talented Oscar-winning actress, but also Joel Coen's wife. This will be the ninth movie they've made together. Brendan Gleeson is also on board as Duncan with Corey Hawkins playing Macduff and Harry Melling as Malcolm.

As of now, we're not sure how this adaptation of Macbeth will differ from the various other attempts to bring the story to the big screen, the most recent being in 2015 from director Justin Kurzel. In the hands of Coen, it would be interesting to see a modern approach to the material rather than a straightforward Shakespearean adaptation in a period setting. Of course, that would be an interesting change of pace for the director too, so anything is possible. Stay tuned.