Film: Theatrical first for Monkman’s ‘Death Star’ Macbeth movie adaptation

Digital and live action combine to create ‘world stage’

Digital cinematography is treading the boards this month, offering a melding of theatre and cinema that is claimed will offer audiences a unique re-imagining of Shakespeare’s classic play, Macbeth

By Mark Cantrell

Macbeth one sheet

THERE can’t be many of us who haven’t encountered Macbeth in one shape or form, but the makers of a new cinematic version claim we’ve never seen anything like this.

Macbeth, the movie – or should that be cinematic experience, going by the claims? – combines traditional stagecraft with the digital wizardry of green screens and computer modelling.

Weirdly, you might think, the Death Star from Star Wars is invoked too; not to suggest this adaptation has gone full-on space opera, but as a metaphorical trick to convey the multi-layered on-screen ‘stage’.

Shot entirely on green screen, the film is said to offer a “compelling juxtaposition between ‘real’ and ‘digital’ worlds”.

Starring Mark Rowley (The Last Kingdom, Luther), the film adaptation by director Kit Monkman (The Knife That Killed Me) will be shown at select multiplex and independent cinemas nationwide later this month. Distributed by CinEvents, it is being shown through an exclusive, one-night-only release.

“The film represents an entirely new perspective on Shakespeare’s work,” said Joe Evea from CinEvents. “Filmed using the latest digital technology, the production offers a challenging and thought provoking vision that will please purists and offer an accessible, immersive experience for a new generation of fans.”

Using background matte painting and computer modelling to generate the world in which the action plays out, the green screen is said to have allowed Monkman to create his vision of a multi-tiered globe in which the characters play out their various fates.

That’s where the Death Star metaphor comes, as the camera drifts through the levels and zooms in on various action and key characters. The “fluidity” of the cameras’ movement around this globe is intended to give the audience a constant perspective of the action, as opposed to individual, isolated scenes.

“Kit Monkman’s Macbeth [is] the most innovative rethinking of what it means to put Shakespeare on film for decades,” said Professor Peter Holland, chair of the International Shakespeare Association. “[It is] a forceful re-imagining of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedy.”

Monkman added: “Macbeth is a play that’s fascinated by interiority and imagination and Shakespeare’s storytelling is far from naturalistic so this seemed like an ideal opportunity to explore a more abstract theatrical approach to the screen.”


Macbeth, directed by Kit Monkman, will premiere this coming week, showing at the PCC, London, on Tuesday, 6 March from 7.30pm. Then it will be shown at select cinemas nationwide the following week, Tuesday, 13 March.

Catch the trailer




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