Skip to content

Denzel Washington on the role of Macbeth and the legacy of Sidney Poitier

Denzel Washington has been playing Shakespearean roles since the age of 20. The latest is Lord Macbeth in Joel Coen’s new Apple TV + movie. Macbeth’s tragedy.

Ahead of his Friday release, the 67-year-old actor sat down with Q host Tom Power to talk about his collaboration with Coen and Frances McDormand (who plays Lady Macbeth), as well as the recent death of his friend and fellow actor Sidney Poitier.

Washington said part of the reason he took on the role was to work with McDormand and Coen, who are married.

“[Coen] is a genius. [McDormand] is another genius. Two sides of the same coin, you know? He sets it up and she delivers, “he said.

“It’s just his energy coming into the room. He’s just a unique person, first of all, and powerful, strong and talented. So that energy coming into the room immediately uplifts your playing. Like ‘Oh, It’s Frances McDormand Like OK, that’s it, let’s go. You know? It’s fun. It’s exciting.

A New Look at Macbeth

The highly stylized interpretation of Shakespeare Macbeth had been under construction for a few years. The crew began filming in 2020, based on a script adapted by Coen. It was shot in black and white with a very austere, almost scenic feel to the screen.

“Shakespeare is Shakespeare. We [actors] we have to step up. The standard has already been set, you know, “Can you handle it?” “Is the question,” Washington said.

“That’s the thrill of that. You don’t know. Just because Joel, Frances, me and Shakespeare were there that it’s going to be okay. In this case, it was.”

Macbeth’s tragedy will be available on Apple TV + on Friday. It hit theaters in Canada on December 25, but theaters are now closed in many parts of the country due to the pandemic.

Washington on the legacy of Sidney Poitier

On January 6, legendary actor Sidney Poitier, who was a friend of Washington, passed away at the age of 94.

Poitier was the first black to win the Oscar for best actor, in 1964, for his performance in Field lilies. Few of the movie stars have had Poitier influence, and he was awarded a Special Lifetime Achievement Oscar in 2002.

It was the same year Washington and Halle Berry made history as the first black actors to win Oscar performance awards.

That night, Washington thanked Poitier from the start of his speech.

Poitier then remarked in 2014 that he was indebted for the work Washington had done and grateful for “taking the concept of African Americans in movies to a place where I couldn’t, I didn’t. , and he took him there with the same kind of integrity that I tried to do and articulate. So I thank him for it. He helped me that evening to end my artistic life. He put the button on it for me. And I am indebted to him. “

Washington said he did not hear Poitier’s words until his interview with Q.

“I’m at a loss for words,” he said.

The couple first met when Poitier came to see Washington in a play early in his career and met him backstage to tell him he enjoyed the performance.

“[He] was grinning, you know, ear to ear because it’s Sidney, and he walked up to me and said, ‘You know, you’re okay. You are good.’ And I was like, ‘Yes, sir.’ You know, what do you say? “Yes, I’ll be better tomorrow,” Washington said.

“Just say that – for a 20 and 21 year old actor, that’s all you want to hear. That’s all you need to hear.”

Listen to the full interview with Q here:

Q19:20Denzel Washington on The Tragedy of Macbeth and the Outburst of Sidney Poitier

In an exclusive Canadian interview, actor Denzel Washington spoke with Tom Power about his turn to Lord Macbeth in the new movie The Tragedy of Macbeth, and what the legacy of the late Sidney Poitier means to him. 19:20