Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand to Open New York Film Festival with 'The Tragedy of Macbeth'

Written and directed by Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth, starring Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand, premieres Sept. 24 during the New York Film Festival's opening night

Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand to Open New York Film Festival with The Tragedy of Macbeth
Photo: Courtesy Apple/A24

Shakespeare is kicking off the 59th New York Film Festival.

On Thursday, Apple/A24 and NYFF debuted a first look at a photo of Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand as Lord and Lady Macbeth, respectively, in The Tragedy of Macbeth, from writer and director Joel Coen.

The black-and-white offering is set to premiere during the festival's opening night on Sept. 24, at Alice Tully Hall inside the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, according to a release.

In a statement, Coen, 66, says "It's a real privilege and a thrill to be opening the Festival this year with" his movie, which is based on William Shakespeare's Macbeth and distributed by Apple/A24.

"The New York Film Festival is a place where I've been watching movies as an audience member and showing them as a filmmaker for almost 50 years," he adds of his excitement over being part of the annual event.

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New York Film Festival. Dia Dipasupil/Getty

According to the release, The Tragedy of Macbeth serves as a "boldly inventive visualization of The Scottish Play," resulting in "an anguished film that stares, mouth agape, at a sorrowful world undone by blind greed and thoughtless ambition."

"A strikingly inward Denzel Washington is the man who would be king, and an effortlessly Machiavellian Frances McDormand is his Lady, a couple driven to political assassination — and deranged by guilt — after the cunning prognostications of a trio of 'weird sisters' (a virtuoso physical inhabitation by Kathryn Hunter)," the description adds.

NYFF Director Eugene Hernandez says in a statement that The Tragedy of Macbeth is "setting the stage for a momentous return to our roots" as the Lincoln Center reopens to visitors amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

"Last year was a deeply meaningful edition of NYFF; our Festival traveled to Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and around the country via our Virtual Cinema," he adds. "This year we're back in our Upper West Side home, but you'll also find us exploring new venues and ways to connect with moviegoers in person, outdoors and online — stay tuned!"

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Aside from The Tragedy of Macbeth, McDormand, 64, is among the many ensemble cast members in Wes Anderson's The French Dispatch, which recently had its world premiere at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.

Earlier this year, the celebrated actress accepted the Best Picture Oscar for her film Nomadland, as well as the Oscar for Best Actress.

Meanwhile, two-time Academy Award winner Washington, 66, is directing and producing A Journal for Jordan, starring Michael B. Jordan and Chanté Adams. The film is scheduled for release on Dec. 10.

Passes for the NYFF are now on sale, with Early Bird pricing through July 30.

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