'The Tragedy of Macbeth' Director reveals thinking behind TV+ drama

The Tragedy Of Macbeth Apple
The Tragedy Of Macbeth Apple (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple TV+ recently saw the debut of The Tragedy of Macbeth.
  • Director Joel Coen has revealed why he made the film the way he did.
  • He said that it was "a deliberate choice to do something I had not done."

Director Joel Coen has revealed that made a "deliberate choice to do something I had not done" in crafting Apple TV+ drama The Tragedy of Macbeth for the streaming platform and the big screen.

As stated in an interview with NYT:

This somber tale may have proved an ideal escape for the director, coming at an unfamiliar juncture when Ethan had decided to take a break from film. Just when Joel was seeking new approaches to his cinematic craft as a solo director, his inspiration emerged from a foundational text of English literature."It was a deliberate choice to do something I had not done," Coen said. "It was an opportunity to go out of the wheelhouse that I'd been in before. It's something that demanded I do that."

Coen told the outlet that while he had been thinking about a project like Shakespeare's Macbeth for a few years, but didn't want to direct it for the stage and said he didn't think he would know what to do:

Directing "Macbeth" for the stage did not appeal to Coen — "I don't think I'd know what to do," he said — but as a film, he saw its potential to allow him "to retreat from a lot of the ways I'd been working before."

Coen said that he wanted "to go as far as I could away from realism and more towards a theatrical presentation" and instead tried to create a stripped-back project reduced "to a theatrical essence" that would still be shown in the cinema. For instance, this is why there is ambiguity around where the story is set or during what time period and Coen says that several months were spent designing the film's distinctive aesthetic.

The interview also features star Denzel Washington, who told NYT that he "found Coen's eccentricities endearing" and liked Coen's directive that there should be no "stick-up-the-butt Shakespearean acting" in the film. NYT also spoke to Moses Ingram said that her first feature experience was improved by Coen's patience and compassion:

Ingram, who plays Lady Macduff, said that sometimes after a take, "I'd run to the monitor and be freaked out by what I saw." She continued, "He pulled me aside and said, 'There will come a time in your career when you've done this enough, when you'll be able to look at the monitor and see what you need to fix. This is your first feature, so wait on it, and feel it out and learn.'"

The Tragedy of Macbeth is available on Apple TV+ alongside all of the other Apple TV+ shows available on the platform. Apple TV+ is available on all of Apple's best iPhones, iPads, Macs, and the Best TVs for Apple TV 2022.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9