Martin Scorsese to Adapt Kenneth Branagh’s Take on Macbeth for the Big Screen

What great timing! While we’re reading Shakespeare on, yet another adaptation is in the works.

In early February, several outlets reported that Martin Scorsese was considering taking his first leap into Shakespearean lore, intrigued as he was by Kenneth Branagh’s 2013 production of Macbeth at the Manchester International Festival. Now, Branagh has confirmed that Scorsese will indeed direct the film adaptation.

On Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review, a BBC podcast, Branagh said,

All things being well, Mr. Scorsese will direct a film version of that production. The fingers are hovering above pieces of paper. Everyone wants to do it; it’s just a question of schedule. I’m very, very hopeful it’s going to happen.

Branagh co-directed Macbeth at MIF in 2013, also playing the title role, with Alex Kingston as Lady Macbeth. (Yesss. Can she be a package deal with the movie?) What enthralled audiences—and Scorsese, when the production moved to New York City in 2014—was the site-specific nature of the performance. In Manchester, it was staged inside a church; at the Park Slope Armory in NYC, audiences had the same experience of being mere feet from the action, with sparks actually flying during swordfights and the like.

Obviously, a movie would create more distance between audience and actors, but Scorsese must have a particular vision in mind to recreate that sense of closeness.

Let’s not forget that there’s already another Macbeth on the way! Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard’s adaptation is expected to be released sometime in 2015, though no official date has been set despite being teased since 2014. Perhaps the two adaptations will wind up going head-to-head in theaters.

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