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[dropcap]B[/dropcap]loodied daggers at the ready! Michael Fassbender is poised to give a turn as Shakespeare’s ill-fated Scottish king, Macbeth.

With a schedule already as long as a Hamlet soliloquy, it’s yet another project to add to the list for the Prometheus star. Presently filming the X-Men sequel, Days of Future Past, Fassbender is also due to begin work on the Steve McQueen-directed Twelve Years a Slave, as well as a biopic of the late entertainer, Frank Sidebottom.

But for now back to ‘The Scottish Play’ (for the superstitious ones amongst you). In keeping with its traditional theatrical roots, and for added authenticity, this big-screen adaptation will be filmed in the 11th-century dialect of the original play. As an Irishman, Fassbender is close enough, although it may lead established Scots actors such as Gerard Butler to wonder why they didn’t get the call.

It has been reported that this latest incarnation will be a ‘visceral’ take on the Bard’s famous tragedy. However, murder and mayhem are both vital to the theme of this, his goriest work, so to try and dilute the violence would surely be doing the story an injustice. Bloodshed is also a sure-fire way of getting people to sit down and watch Shakespeare, which, as everyone knows from their schooldays, is no mean feat. At any rate it will surely make the finished article more watchable than Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing.

As central to the play as the title role is, the character of Lady Macbeth is of equal importance. Natalie Portman has now been confirmed as Fassbender’s leading lady – apparently Portman has long wanted to tackle the part of Lady Macbeth, and her earlier work suggests that she’s up to the task. Portman has worked with Fassbender previously, having just finished filming with him on Terence Malick’s as yet untitled film set on the Texas music scene.

A director has also already been confirmed in the form of Aussie Justin Kurzel (Snowtown). Macbeth is set to start shooting later this year.

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