Did we really need another film version of Macbeth? Probably not, but as one of the bard’s greatest plays, when you and I are dust, filmmakers will still be turning out their interpretations of this Shakespeare classic.
Director Kit Monkman, one of the brains behind critically acclaimed school drama The Knife That Killed Me, is currently at work in East Yorkshire on his interpretation of this timeless classic.
So why choose Macbeth as his follow-up to ‘Knife‘?
“The most interesting thing about Knife was the way it explores a middle ground between representational reality and psychological kind of psycho geography if you like; inner space, which is not normally film’s language.
“It’s so grounded in a material reality, but it is often the theatre’s language. Macbeth for example works incredibly well on a black stage.”
Or in this case green, which turns black at the flick of a switch.
“It can make those deft movements from an inner psychological state to an external material state in a split second and you go with it; you’re making most of it up in your head.”
We’re used to directors like Robert Rodriguez exploiting such tech for his Sin City movies, but reworking Shakespeare with a CG-enhanced lustre is a fine way of making it relevant to a new generation.
Having tested the hi-tech water with The Knife That Killed Me, Kit was keen to flex his creative muscles for this follow-up project.
“There was a sense that after doing Knife, to really test this language and see if it could offer that fluidity, but also with this sort of cinematic vista that we shouldn’t hedge our bets. We should try something properly meaty.
“And of all the Shakespearean plays, he’s brilliant at this line between the representational material world and the metaphysical psychological world. Of all the plays, Macbeth is the most ‘inner’ of all of them. Because it’s a descent into madness.”
Stood in my socks (careful not to mark the green floor at GSP Studios), I’m soon roasting under the studio lights, so I feel for the baking thesps, especially one poor soul draped in a thick cape. However, the impressive visuals are worth it. ‘Pain is temporary, film is forever’, as the old adage goes.
It remains to be seen how well this version of Macbeth compares to Michael Fassbender’s (due in October), or the 100 plus film and TV versions over the years, but given the calibre of cast and crew firing on all cylinders one rainy June afternoon, the magic Kit and company create when the film is released should be the stuff dreams are made of.
And given the multi-layered quality of Knife That Killed Me, one of the best films of last year, I’m fascinated to see what one of Blighty’s most talented directors does with its greatest playwright’s work.