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Daggers Drawn as Hollywood Rivals Do Battle Over Macbeth


MacbethDOUBLE, Double Toil and Trouble; Fire Burn, and Cauldron Bubble...

Four centuries after Shakespeare wrote Macbeth, two rival sets of film-makers are battling to produce a Hollywood version of the "Scottish play". Both have major players in the film world behind them and both have declared similar intentions of appealing to a modern audience with special effects that play up the supernatural elements of the classic drama.


Tilda SwintonOne version has Oscar-winner Philip Seymour Hoffman as Shakespeare's tragic Scottish king. But the other, titled Come Like Shadows, has taken a huge leap forward in the race with the casting of two major stars. Sean Bean, star of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, the James Bond film GoldenEye and the Sharpe TV dramas, will play Macbeth.

Tilda Swinton, the Scot whose stock has risen dramatically since appearing as the witch in The Chronicles of Narnia, will be the ambitious wife who drives him to murder and ultimately despair. As well as Bean and Swinton, Come Like Shadows, which has a £5.4m budget, also has some big names behind the camera.

Steven Soderbergh, the American who directed Erin Brockovich and Ocean's Eleven, is executive producer, and Luc Besson, the French director of The Fifth Element, is also involved. John Maybury, whose films include the fantasy thriller The Jacket and the acclaimed Francis Bacon biopic Love is the Devil, will be director.

The full report from Brian Pendreigh, including the plans of a rival production, is published in Scotland on Sunday