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Denzel Washington's Talks Playing 'Macbeth'

Washington gets real on his time playing Macbeth and making Shakespearean language approachable.

Denzel Washington was a recent guest of SiriusXM Urban View's The Mike Muse Show to talk about his role of Macbeth in the new film "The Tragedy of Macbeth".


He spoke about the film in general, as well as his experience with learning the meaning behind Shakespeare's words and turning it into everyday language for the audience to understand.

Host, Mike Muse asked Washington:

"How did you prepare for something of that nature? Because in reading it with the closed caption, the second time, it almost felt like it was a second language. That's not how we speak conversationally in society today. And so how did you prepare for that switch? Because literally, you just do it effortlessly and so conversationally."

Washington replied:

"I think you hit the nail on the head in that it's our job, the actor's job to figure out exactly what Shakespeare is talking about, what he meant, and why, why now? Why in that moment? And then what I would try to do is turn that into everyday language for myself. Here's a bad version, if it says 'that light thou must be gone' or something, then I would say, I gotta turn off the light. You know, I gotta get rid of the light. So that was the meaning. I have to get rid of the light, but the line might be light that must be gone or something."

Washington had to, quite literally, get into the shoes of Macbeth to accurately portray this role.

Host Muse asked:

"How do you even think about your gestures? Because, for me, that's such an extension of the character that you always bring to life so well."

Washington:

"I never think about gestures... One of the first things I like to do, and a lot of actors like to do, is get the shoes on that they're gonna wear, because like in this film, Macbeth was those boots. So, I wanted a pair of the boots as soon as possible, because it's gonna change your gate. It's gonna change the way you walk... And someone goes, "Man, that magic, the way you did that." I'm like, "Yeah, actually it was called a bunyon." But it doesn't matter where you got it from, you use it all."

The entire interview airs Saturday, January 15th at 2:00 p.m. ET. Be sure to check it out!

The film was released in theaters on December 25th (Christmas Day), 2021. It will be made available on AppleTV+ today, January 14th. Watch the trailer on YouTube below:

The Tragedy of Macbeth | Official Trailer HD | A24 youtu.be

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