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As one of the biggest stars in the newly adapted version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, you’d think Denzel Washington has read the play several times. But according to the actor himself, he’s never read or seen it before starring in the major Hollywood adaptation of it.

“(I’d) never read Macbeth and never seen Macbeth, which was I think a blessing in disguise”, Washington told the BBC.

“I picked up one of the films, looked at about two minutes of it and turned it off. Didn’t want to be affected by what I saw.”

While he has never read or seen Macbeth, the actor is more than familiar with the English writer’s work. He read Othello for the first time while he was in college and even played Richard III on stage. Washington starred in Kenneth Branagh’s 1993 film version of Much Ado About Nothing and appeared on Broadway in the Bard’s Julius Caesar.

The Tragedy of Macbeth is the first movie directed by one of the Coen brothers, Joel in this case, without the other brother’s involvement. It stars some big names including Frances McDormand, Bertie Carvel and Brendan Gleeson.

The movie was released on Christmas Day in 2021 and Washington has since received Academy Award, Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice Award and Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for his best actor performance.

There’s a rumour among actors that to ensure tragedy doesn’t strike, they should never refer to the play by its name, but rather refer to it as The Scottish Play. Let’s hope they did that while shooting the movie.

Image credit: Den of Geek

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