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Natalie Portman Joins Michael Fassbender In 'Macbeth'

by Kevin Jagernauth
April 30, 2013 4:34 PM
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Macbeth Michael Fassbender Natalie Portman

It seems that after Michael Fassbender bailed on the troubled western "Jane Got A Gun," there were no hard feelings between himself and Natalie Portman, who is also producing that movie. They also paired up on Terrence Malick's forthcoming music scene movie (provided they don't get cut) and indeed, they're set to try working together again on a different project, one that will hopefully keep the drama in front of the camera, instead of behind it.

Just one day after it was reported that Fassy was taking the title role in "Macbeth," Screen Daily reports that Portman will be his Lady Macbeth. Yeah, nice. This new adaptation of Shakespeare's legendary play was penned by Todd Louiso (the director behind "Love Liza" and "Hello I Must Be Going") and Jacob Koskoff (who co-penned "The Marc Pease Experience" with Louiso), and will keep the 11th century setting and original dialogue. However, it may be bloodier with "significant battle scenes" promised. "Jane Got A Bard" or something, right? 

"Snowtown" director Justin Kurzel will take the helm, in what is a pretty decent leap from his serial killer indie, with production slated for later this year.

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More: Natalie Portman, Macbeth

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  • Malcolm | May 1, 2013 12:32 PMReply

    I've been waiting for a new adaptation of Macbeth for awhile now, it's one of my favorite Shakespeare plays. Fassbender is brilliant casting, not crazy about Portman ( Chastain, Blanchett, Weisz would've been significantly better). My main concern is the "significant battle scenes promised" bit. I really hope they don't turn one of the most psychologically complexed works in literature into another mindless, action packed, piece of sh*t extravaganza that Hollywood is so good at. By all means if the writers want to depict the barbarity of war & carnage, go ahead but I hope they won't have that overshadow the psychological drama at the heart of the play.

  • P. | May 1, 2013 8:46 AMReply

    Awful decision!!! Fassbender is great, but Portman is a little girl! Her last good role was "Léon"!
    It defenitily should have been Kidman!

  • Jamie | May 1, 2013 8:34 AMReply

    I must agree, Natalie can't act, the last good role she did really well in and should have received that ill-gotten gained Oscar was The Professional, after that I have yet to be impressed with anything she's done or might ever do. Fassy is a wonderful actor and will no doubt rock the sh*t out of this role, can't wait to see this new adaption. Michael is very versatile and completely embodies his characters, so he really should play opposite of someone who can be AT LEAST deemed an equal, Natalie is not. This new Untitled Malick film that they are both in will bomb, but not b/c of Michael poor acting. With all the big name Oscar winners/Nominees who have failed follow-up roles since their Oscar wins, they will just shadow his role.; unless he's naked, lol) If you think about the other actors involved, you can see why this movie will fail (maybe Bale can help b/c Batman Dark Knight Rises made serious bank, but we'll see); Malick movie will be Portman's follow up Black Swan Oscar win and if you know follow up films of Oscar winners, this has signs that it will fail. Tree of Life was not good, even super high. This can also be said about The Counselor coming out later this year. The story may work, but Michael's co-stars will cloud his acting. Just don't cast this B- actress, PLZ

  • Banquo | May 1, 2013 3:13 AMReply

    Yeah. Fucking awful casting.

  • sch | May 1, 2013 2:28 AMReply

    @ XVX

    " I agree. She acts like a little girl trapped in a woman's body which was perfect for Black Swan and is fine in most of her movies but there is no way she can sell the ambition, scheming and hunger for power of Lady Macbeth. "

    I completely agree, because Natalie Portman's acting range is pretty narrow, and her performance in The Black Swan was one-note ( she was miserable and profoundly insecure throughout the whole film ). Besides, Portman received horrible reviews when she co-starred in Shakespeare In The Park's The Seagull. The poor girl was the weakest link in that whole cast. It is nothing wrong with with pushing yourself, but you have to know your limitations.

  • jepressman | May 1, 2013 2:18 AMReply

    Portman and Fassbender as the Macbeths, now that is a bad casting decision. By the pricking of my thumbs something wicked this way comes, and it might be a dubious version of this play.

  • Phoenix | April 30, 2013 11:49 PMReply

    God oh mighty I think poor Natalie is in love with poor unknowing Michael. Married with a baby and all she can do is keeping make movies with her Movie Set Husband, Jesus woman here's a quarter call your agent and get off Michael s' stick already, you look stupid. Please God pick someone else...PLEASE.... The whole lot of us can't wait to see anything with Fassy in it, however if Natty in it, we will save our time, our energy, and our money and use simple patience and just see it on Netflix for $8.00

  • Peaceful | May 2, 2013 12:13 PM

    hey Reaal, lets be real guys today are dog-shit, fanasty is all chicks got these days, hey I admit it, so if a girls whats to be a Fassbender fan and she's thinking of me when she does, Im a fan, who cares but the guy who's getting it, lol. Natalie's pictures from the set of this Malick movie makes her look like a woman who's trying to be sexy, Natty has no quit to ever appear to me as a hottie, so it seems she is trying too hard. Sorry but I see what I see, you see what you see, anywho, these "Fassy" fans of whatever seems like they are hating her bc it looks like they are spending too much time together, regardless of them liking each other. It's these girls that will be spending their money on seeing this movie, make them pissed off and you got a sh*t movie. Fassy people just what him to do well, I know I wanted Jolie to do well and she didn't disappoint in that HBO movie, Gia...I was a happy soul bc of how well she did in that....Relax; for Real, lol these actors are still just people that we really shouldn't idolize so much. the whole thing is stupid and we all should give a f*ck

  • Real | May 1, 2013 4:27 AM

    For goodnes sake, some of you Fassbender fans are so pathetic and jealous. What kind of crazy sexist reasoning is this? How exactly is she chasing after him when he signed on to 'Jane Got a Gun' which is a movie she was attached to first and producing? They seemed to get on very well during the Malick filming. It might not fit into your imaginary narrative but maybe they actually enjoyed working together and would like to again and are looking for something to work on as 'Jane Got a Gun' didn't work out?

  • Alex | April 30, 2013 11:16 PMReply

    Nicole Kidman would have been great for this. So would Charlize Theron. As would Cate Blanchett.

    If I were casting this, Natalie Portman wouldn't even be in my top 10 list of viable actors to cast. And Lady Macbeth is the kind of role where nearly any actress you ask would say yes.

  • Gwen | April 30, 2013 10:07 PMReply

    Was excited about the Fassbender casting now with this Portman announcement, this film has gone from something I would kill to see to something I'll never, ever watch. She is NOT right for this role. So many fine actresses to choose from and they picked this boring woman-child. I wonder how many more of his films she'll try and slither her way into.

  • Viv | May 2, 2013 1:10 PM

    Gwen you hit some fine points here. Portman still has the appearance of being a young woman, yet not young enough for this role. Lady Macbeth should be around 14/15 b/c during those times, girls were married off young. If Hollywood can make movies were a 26 yr old actress can play the role of a 17 yr old, they can definitely find someone who is 20 yrs old to play a 14/15 yr old (make-up and clothes will help). To keep Portman in roles to where she is younger than her natural age ( B.S.-Ballet dancers are no older than 24, maybe 26) is growing to be boring and tiresome. There are three types of Fassy fans, those that are drawn to his looks both his looks & his acting or just his acting ( that's a slim chance but there are a few), I like his acting, it is wonderful, he is versatile and has embodied each of the characters he has played, watch Hunger, he pushed himself to the point of nearly dying of starvation , just to ensure that the story was told as accurately as it could be. I doubt that Portman would be able to act to his equal or even close (losing 15-20 lbs to look like a Ballerina isn't that impressive in my book). Fassy fans just don't like the idea of Natalie acting yet again with him; pictures taken from the set of this Untitled Malik film of her has people buzzing that she is looking like a slut, only because in her past characters have be mousy or not as daring in her sexuality as Michael's (i.e. Shame) has been. So I suppose in lies the drama, anger and hatred of her being chosen for this role; yet a third film that has paired them together. Fassy fans don't care if they work well together, some might need to see how well he can continue to work with other actors or how he can perhaps keep up that diversity (and with those good looks) keep him so appealing thus keeping him on the minds & on the lips of his fans. Natalie Portman, drop out of this role. Do Michael Fassbender a favor. A man with no baby mama drama, a guy whose never been married and is straight is rare in Hollywood and even rarer in the non-Hollywood world. Don't kill their fantasies or his fan base. If he does, he might blame you

  • Hmmm | April 30, 2013 8:26 PMReply

    Well so much Nicole Kidman/Andrea Riseborough

  • AF | April 30, 2013 7:20 PMReply

    I hope they take on a more historically accurate adaptation than Shakespeare's version. Macbeth was loved by Scotland & only 50 years old when he was killed by Malcolm Canmore. If its to highlight when he kills Duncan & takes the throne, then Portman & Fassbender ages are perfect.

  • Simone | April 30, 2013 7:14 PMReply

    Portman is a great actress, but this is a dull casting selection. There are so many other actresses that would have been a better choice. I wonder if the producers didn't trust Fassbender as the main headliner and demanded an Oscar winning A-list actress to co-lead with him.

  • Susan | April 30, 2013 7:46 PM

    The producers produced Hunger, Shame, and also had something to do with Frank, so they seem willing to go with him as the lead. However, they probably aren't unhappy with a "name" actor to co-lead.

  • Maria | April 30, 2013 6:29 PMReply

    Uhh... I recognize they're trying to market to younger crowds, but this is mildly insulting casting. Cast them as Hamlet and Ophelia, fine. They both play too young to be the Macbeths and they sure as h#ll don't have the emotional range for the Scottish play.
    They do know it's Shakespeare, yeah?
    Sorry, but I'm pissed on behalf of the other good actors/actresses who could do these roles.

  • Alan B | May 1, 2013 4:09 AM

    I didn't say he had "no emotional range". I said he was lacking, which is OK. All actors have weaknesses. So does Fassbender. For instance, he sometimes lacks vocal control in more extremely emotional scenes, which is why his Irish accent pops up in later scenes in 'Jane Eyre' and 'X-Men: First Class'. We don't all need to commit suicide just because someone has made a criticism of Fassbender. It's OK!

  • Andrew | April 30, 2013 10:34 PM emotional range?! Fassbender is one of the absolute best actors working in film today. In Shame he showed more emotional range than a lot of actors have in their entire careers.

  • Alan B | April 30, 2013 9:12 PM

    An actor can have magnetism, authority and charm but lack emotional range. I think Fassbender is somewhat lacking in this department (which is why his Rochester seemed somewhat callow to me), but I think this is actually fine for the role of Macbeth as the character becomes a self-centered obsessive. There are, however, plenty of much better choices for Lady Macbeth, and I assume the producers lobbied Portman because of her name as well as her talent.

  • Susie | April 30, 2013 6:56 PM

    Portman, who has an oscar, and Fassbender, who should have one or two, are insulting casting? No emotional range? Give me a break! Fassbender is great, and while Natalie would not be my first choice, I'm fine with this.
    P.S. I suspect both of them know it's Shakespeare.

  • kris | April 30, 2013 6:18 PMReply

    i love portman but chastain would be perfect too!fassy&chassy project pls.

  • Duncan | May 1, 2013 12:14 PM

    Hear! Hear! My two favorite gingers, they would be the ideal Macbeths. Too bad the producers went the "safe" route and got a big name movie star attached. Hollywood's lack of imagination is really sad.

  • anonymouse | April 30, 2013 6:28 PM

    indeed. chastain would be perfect for the role. she exudes gravitas with ease. portman? not so much. and i like portman! she may shine yet in the role, though. let's wait and see.

  • p | April 30, 2013 6:15 PMReply

    LOL. Andrea Riseborough would have been perfect.

  • emma | April 30, 2013 6:06 PMReply

    Is this a joke? Worst decision ever

  • L | April 30, 2013 5:49 PMReply

    I like Portman's work and she's incredibly brilliant, but I'm not very enthusiastic about her as Lady M. For one the role requires someone older and can project more gravitas. Sorry but maybe it's cuz I've seen her in too many ingenue roles. I really had my heart set on Rachel Weisz. She would've killed it. Well here's hoping for some surprises.

  • Kate | April 30, 2013 5:23 PMReply

    The most hilariously awful casting decision of the year.

  • XVX | April 30, 2013 6:00 PM

    I agree. She acts like a little girl trapped in a woman's body which was perfect for Black Swan and is fine in most of her movies but there is no way she can sell the ambition, scheming and hunger for power of Lady Macbeth.

  • AG | April 30, 2013 5:15 PMReply

    I knew it.

  • jon | April 30, 2013 5:10 PMReply

    This sounds good. Snowtown was awesome and criminally underrated.

  • Damian | April 30, 2013 5:06 PMReply

    Wasn't expecting her for this but I'm really excited to see Portman take on this role. She's making really interesting post-Oscar choices...

  • | April 30, 2013 4:50 PMReply

    I love her, but noooo.

  • JD | April 30, 2013 5:00 PM

    Why? She would be a good choice.

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