‘The Tragedy Of Macbeth’ Music Blends With Shakespearean Rhythm – Contenders New York

The Tragedy Of Macbeth
(L-R) "The Tragedy of Macbeth VFX supervisor Alex Lemke and composer Carter Burwell on Saturday Jamie McCarthy/For Deadline

The Coen brothers’ longtime composer Carter Burwell said Saturday that scoring Joel Coen’s Shakespeare adaptation The Tragedy of Macbeth was much different from their other movies.

Usually the siblings’ scripts have room for music. “They write the script with space left for me to work with — Shakespeare didn’t do that,” Burwell said. “It’s very dense with dialogue. Joel actually made the movie so that it just rushes forward. There wasn’t a lot of space just for music.”

Speaking during a panel at Deadline’s Contenders Film: New York along with VFX supervisor Alex Lemke, Burwell added that in order to ensure that his score didn’t drown out the classic Shakespearean text, he employed cello and bass in the lowest two octaves. Burwell said he and Coen also were guided by the natural rhythm of the Bard’s work.

The Contenders Film: New York — Deadline’s Complete Coverage

“Joel had written right into the script this sense of rhythm, of beats that he achieves by drips of water or blood or even hallucinations on the part of Lady Macbeth when she hears things beating in the castle,” Burwell said. “We spent a lot of time figuring out how to integrate that with the music.”

Denzel Washington plays Lord Macbeth and Frances McDormand is Lady Macbeth. When Washington delivered the “Is this a dagger I see before me?” speech, Burwell integrated his score with the action of the scene.

The Tragedy of Macbeth
Denzel Washington in ‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’ Apple Original Films/A24

“A lot of great monologues like ‘is this a dagger I see before me’ have this pace from Denzel’s boots combined with this rhythm in the cellos and basses,” Burwell said. “It was really scene by scene. Most of those great dialogues have some music driving them, but I’m also trying to stay out of the way of these amazing actors delivering these amazing lines.”

Coen also set The Tragedy of Macbeth amid great fog. That’s where Lemke came in to enhance the fog captured on set. However, he did not want the visual effects to stand out as modern-day technology.

‘The Tragedy Of Macbeth’ Review: Joel Coen Combines Elements Of Stage And Screen To Create A Masterful Film

“You shoot that on a stage with a hazer to get an overall amount of fog, but you still want to have that control to make people disappear or the witches to disappear,” Lemke said. “This is basically four smoke elements shot against black, reused, turned upside down, things like that. Very old fashioned Citizen Kane-like.”

Coen’s retelling of the Shakespeare tale from Apple Original Films and A24 closed this year’s BFI London Film Festival. A24 will release the pic, which also stars Alex Hassell as Ross and Bertie Carvel as Banquo, on Christmas Day in North America and January 14 on Apple TV+.

Check out the panel video above.

The sponsors for Contenders Film: New York are Michter’s DistilleryLos Siete Misterios MezcalEyepetizer, and modMD.

Frances McDormand & Joel Coen Answer All Questions On ‘The Tragedy Of Macbeth’

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2021/12/tragedy-of-macbeth-contenders-new-york-1234883988/