Shakespeare adaptations come around every few years, usually when Hollywood has nothing better to do. There have been the good (Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing), the bad (Michael Hoffman’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and the ugly (Ralph Fiennes’s Coriolanus). One of the more recent Shakespearean adaptations to be announced is Macbeth, originally set to star Michael Fassbender and Natalie Portman as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Now we learn that Portman is out and Marion Cotillard has come on board as Shakespeare’s meanest villainess.
Portman left the production for undisclosed reasons and Cotillard steps into her shoes for Justin Kurzel’s (Snowtown) adaptation of the most cursed play in the Shakespearean canon. The adaptation has been described as ‘visceral’ – although how anything can get more visceral than Roman Polanski’s 1971 adaptation of Macbeth I do not know. Unlike many recent Shakespearean adaptations, this one will be set in the original time period (that is to say: 11th Century Scotland) and with the original language intact.
While I think the combination of Natalie Portman and Michael Fassbender would have been interesting, I’m actually quite happy with the change. Cotillard is closer in age to Fassbender – she’s actually two years older than him – and has a weightier screen presence than Portman. Strength of character is important when it comes to Lady Macbeth. She is one of the most powerful female characters you’ll find in Shakespeare and demands an actress who not only can handle the language, but can scare the hell out of you at the same time. I suspect that Marion Cotillard is more than up to the challenge.
Production on Macbeth is slated to begin in January, looking at a 2014 release date in time for the festival circuit.
What do you think of recasting Cotillard as Lady Macbeth? Do you wish they’d kept Portman on? Let us know in the comments.
Source: The Film Stage