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Joel Coen Reveals Shocking Reason He's Directing Macbeth Without His Brother

In 1984, an indie production titled "Blood Simple" arrived on the silver screen, going on to find modest success commercially but become a critical favorite. The filmmakers behind it were the sibling duo of Joel and Ethan Coen, who wasted little time expanding their filmography in the coming years. "Fargo,"  "The Big Lebowski," "Inside Llewyn Davis," and countless others came to take over cinemas and award show circuits alike, captivating audiences worldwide in the process. Thus, the Coen Brothers wrote their names in the history books as one of the greatest storytelling teams of their era.

Though the Coen Brothers' résumé is riddled with enough classic movies and prestigious awards to retire on, they've hardly slowed down when it comes to working on new projects. Their most recent effort, the Western anthology "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs," premiered in November of 2018, but by March of 2019, word got out that the two were already hard at work on their next release. As reported by Deadline, they had an adaptation of the famous William Shakespeare tragedy "Macbeth" in their sights, with Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand signed on to play Lord and Lady Macbeth, respectively.

As if the film itself wasn't an intriguing enough prospect, it has since been revealed that Ethan Coen won't be joining his brother Joel this time around. Here's the reason why Joel is flying solo for "The Tragedy of Macbeth."

Ethan is taking a break from the bright lights of Hollywood

According to IndieWire, Joel Coen wrote and directed "The Tragedy of Macbeth" entirely on his own, marking his first solo endeavor as a filmmaker to date. Considering how long he and Ethan have collaborated, this came as a surprise to fans of the filmmaking veterans who couldn't wrap their heads around the situation. Thankfully, the brothers' longtime composer Carter Burwell shed some light on the situation during an appearance on Score: The Podcast, noting that it isn't a matter of the siblings splitting up, but that "Ethan just didn't want to make movies anymore."

For those who don't recall, Ethan Coen admitted to the Los Angeles Times in 2019 that he was "giving movies a rest" and didn't plan to play a hand in "The Tragedy of Macbeth." However, he hasn't exactly spent his free time relaxing instead of sitting in the director's chair, opting to focus on another storytelling medium: theater. Therefore, one has to ask, is Ethan Coen done with the big screen for good? Well, Burwell doesn't seem convinced, mentioning on the podcast that the Coens have a bunch of unproduced scripts that could be picked up one day, so long as they don't suddenly retire then.

There's no denying the importance of the Coen Brothers' combined contributions to the cinematic landscape over the past few decades. It's jarring to know he's taking on the project alone, but surely Joel will knock "The Tragedy of Macbeth" out of the park all the same. When and if Ethan elects to join him on their next venture, it'll be more than worth the price of admission.