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Daniel Craig teased what’s in store for his return to Broadway in Macbeth during his Wednesday night appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
In a conversation that spanned everything from Craig’s jokingly “terrible” drama school run of the classic Shakespearean tragedy to an initiative that will give away tickets to students during the show’s 15-week run, the former 007 opened up about returning to a New York theater stage during such a difficult season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In terms of his performance, Craig told host Colbert that he wouldn’t abstain from viewing others’ interpretations of Macbeth, a Scottish general whose kingly ambitions lead to murder, for his approach to the character. “I don’t mind watching other things. I mean, I’ll steal from anybody,” he joked. “I’m not worried about it.”
As for his character’s desire to be king and the role of his wife, Lady Macbeth (played by Oscar nominee Ruth Negga), in that, Craig said past interpretations that she’s the only one at fault for their mutual destruction is not how he interpreted the Shakespearean story.
Craig said he believes Macbeth has frequently discussed the desire to be king “quite often in the Macbeth household over dinner” and that the two characters are “equally bad” in their quest for power.
“I think they’re the only really decent married couple in Shakespeare, and they are very much in love, but they’re very ambitious, and if it wasn’t for a little murder, they’d actually be a pretty good pair,” he said, to audience laughs.
“And I think that the kind of inequality that’s often talked about it — her, you know, manipulating him — I think that’s all bullshit,” Craig continued. “I think that they’re both as culpable as each other because they’re a very together couple. That’s what we’re going to try to explore.”
While Craig called his return to the stage “terrifying,” he also said it was “wonderful” and that part of why he came back was to help Broadway make its comeback during a season that’s been greatly impacted by the pandemic.
“There’s so many industries have had such a terrible time, but especially the entertainment industry, especially Broadway. I’m part of the theater community in this in this town and very proudly part of it,” he said. “I want to be part of that and trying to help Broadway get back on its feet again.”
Later in the interview, Craig spoke about how the ticket initiative — sponsored by American Express, Baccarat, Omega and The Capri Foundation for the Advancement of Diversity in Fashion — will help Broadway do just that. The program will present at least 2,022 fully-funded tickets to high school and college students from groups that have historically been underrepresented on Broadway and in Broadway audiences, specifically those from BIPOC communities, first generation college students and people with disabilities.
Additionally, the program will provide engagement opportunities and interactive content that complements the live production experience, with select resources also made available to students beyond those in attendance through the program.
“Expanding accessibility to the theatre has been a priority for both our cast and creatives on this production,” said Macbeth producer Barbara Broccoli in a statement. “We are thrilled to be able to offer this program and hopefully plant the theater seed in new audience members who have not experienced a Broadway show before.”
Preview performances begin March 28, with Macbeth officially opening its 15-week limited engagement at the Longacre Theater on April 28.
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