LONDON (Reuters) - Michael Fassbender says taking on the role of Macbeth was a daunting task and he sought advice from his “X-Men” co-star Scottish actor James McAvoy in the latest big screen adaption of William Shakespeare’s tragedy.
“Shame” and “Steve Jobs” actor Fassbender stars alongside French actress Marion Cotillard as Lady Macbeth in the movie, which is directed by Justin Kurzel.
“It’s definitely daunting because the work is so excellent you feel a responsibility to it and you don’t want to make a shambles of it,” Fassbender told Reuters.
One of Shakespeare’s best known plays, Macbeth tells the story of a Scottish general whose ambitious wife urges him to commit murder to accede to the throne.
“There’s just so many endless versions you can do and various interpretations of it which is very encouraging and also kind of depressing because I would walk away thinking ‘God ... there’s another thousand ways that could have been done’,” Fassbender said.
“It’s not one of those texts where you can sort of go in, look at it in the morning before and sort of wing it. It’s definitely something that I just spent many hours at home practician and getting comfortable with.”
Fassbender said he spoke about the part to McAvoy, who has played Macbeth on stage.
“James and I had a few conversations about it and he actually gave me a sort of miniature ‘Macbeth’ book,” he said. “We discussed various things about the relationship (between Macbeth and his wife), what we felt it was about.”
The movie, which screened at the Cannes Film Festival in May, was partly shot on Scotland’s Isle of Skye. It features stark, cold landscapes and grisly battle scenes.
“The landscape is almost a central character in itself,” Fassbender said. “I could definitely understand the mysticism of Scotland.”
“Macbeth”, already on screens in several countries, opens in U.S. cinemas on Friday.
Reporting by Helena Williams; Editing by Louise Ireland