Monday, April 29, 2013

Chance Has Michael Fassbender as Macbeth

We wake up to the strangest news sometimes, huh? Today's never-saw-that-coming bit of film news is that Justin Kurzel is directing a new version of Macbeth starring Michael Fassbender. Yeah, okay, sure. Why not, hey? 

Kurzel is the Australian director behind Snowtown (known as The Snowtown Murders in the United States when released last year) and had previously been linked to a new John Le Carre adaptation on the heels of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, but there appears to be no update on that and he has since taken up the reigns of another Macbeth. Given Snowtown's disturbing visual palate, it'd be understandable to expect a take perhaps similar to that of Roman Polanski's muddy and moody edition of the 1970s. With Fassbender as star, it's obvious the production will be a hot property and it's nice to see that the Australian funding bodies have gotten over whatever issue they had with The King's Speech, which came from the same Australian production house. Screen Australia lost the opportunity to have the future Oscar-winner listed as an official Australian-UK co-production and are no doubt still miffed that they decided that project wasn't "Australian enough" (or whatever silly excuse they had). Maybe the Australian director was the tipping point for them.

It's not lost on me, however, the curious symmetry that this project appears to have with another Australian adaptation of Macbeth. Given Kurzel's Snowtown ranks alongside Geoffrey Wright's Romper Stomper as one of the more disturbing Australian features ever made, it's interesting that both directors then went on to adapt Shakespeare's famed play. Wright's version has a reputation as a catastrophic disaster of bad taste, but I admire its insane goofiness, the outlandish costumes and sets (winner of the AFI Award, each), and the performance of briefly prolific Victoria Hill as Lady Macbeth. Wright hasn't written or directed anything since, probably a result of the reaction (both personally and professionally) to the Sam Worthington vehicle from 2006.

Given this new version will be coming from the same producers as The King's Speech, Shame, and Hunger, and star Fassbender, the project will obviously come with a higher pedigree. No word yet on who Lady Macbeth will be, but the Screen Daily article says they are in talks with a high profile contender. Is it too much to ask for Nicole Kidman? She's spent so long giving performances that could legitimately act as auditions for one of the biggest female stage roles imaginable that maybe she should just bite the bullet and play the part. Hmmm, we'll see. Also: if Fassbender wants to follow Worthington's path and go naked for the part then, by all means, go ahead. I look forward to more news coming out about the project simply for the sake of posting pictures like this.

Yes, you really can get used to looking at him, can't you?

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