Preview Of PBS’ Macbeth + Interview w/ Patrick Stewart

In October PBS’ Great Performances will air their filmed version of the Broadway production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth starring Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Sir Patrick Stewart. Check out a video preview and video interview with Stewart below.


VIDEO: Macbeth with Patrick Stewart Preview & Interview

Macbeth starring Sir Patrick Stewart airs on PBS October 6, 2010 at 9 p.m


Interview with Paula Zahn

press release

Sir Patrick Stewart and Kate Fleetwood Ignite Shakespeare’s Macbeth on THIRTEEN’s “Great Performances”

Richly Cinematic Adaptation of the Acclaimed West End and Broadway Hit Airs Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 9 p.m.

Following a London West End run in December 2007, a sold-out limited engagement at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in March 2008, and a subsequent eight-week run on Broadway, director Rupert Goold’s gripping stage production of Macbeth was filmed for television at the end of 2009.

The co-production of THIRTEEN and Illuminations, and the BBC in association with WNET.ORG, stars Sir Patrick Stewart in his triumphant, Tony-nominated performance as the ambitious general, and Tony-nominated Kate Fleetwood as his coldly scheming wife.

The production, though retaining the Goold’s exciting concept of relocating the bloody action to a nameless 20th-century militaristic society, has been rethought in vivid filmic terms. The movie, marking Goold’s cinematic debut, will be presented on PBS as part of the Great Performances series Wednesday, October 6, at 9 p.m. (check local listings).

Great Performances is a production of THIRTEEN in association with WNET.ORG, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers.

Originating at England’s innovative Chichester Festival Theatre, the play – the Bard’s shortest tragedy — is taken out of its Scottish context to offer an allegory of war and the quest for power in the modern world. Writing for the Hollywood Reporter after its London opening, Ray Bennett enthused, “Seldom can Shakespeare’s murky Scottish tragedy ‘Macbeth’ have been staged with so much clarity and emotional punch as in Rupert Goold’s exhilarating production.”

When the production opened stateside at BAM, Ben Brantley of The New York Times praised Stewart’s “fearsome insight and theatrical fire.”

Elysa Gardner in USA Today observed Stewart’s “witty, nuanced work, which reveals Macbeth as an intelligent, rational person driven to madness by outside forces and his own violent transgressions. There is something of Lear — and Hamlet, too — in this portrait of a thoughtful, corruptible man.”

This is not your grandfather’s “Macbeth.” Shot in High-Definition at Welbeck Abbey in the U.K., Goold maintains the atmosphere and tone of the stage version, heightening the Shakespearean classic with an edgy style reminiscent of Illuminations’ recent film adaptation of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Hamlet, which was also broadcast on PBS in April 2010 by THIRTEEN’s Great Performances.

Among the actors recreating their roles for the film are Michael Feast (Macduff); Martin Turner (Banquo); Scott Handy (Malcolm); Paul Shelley (Duncan); Suzanne Burden (Lady Macduff); and Christopher Patrick Nolan (The Porter).

In support of the presentation, www.WNET.ORG is offering a Teachers’ Guide for educators to utilize the PBS broadcast in classrooms around the country. Hosted on  the activity-based analysis of the play is illustrated by various lesson plans and activities. After the October 6 PBS broadcast premiere, the complete film will be available for viewing online at and

Macbeth was produced by John Wyver and Sebastian Grant, with Mark Bell as executive producer for the BBC; for Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is series producer, and David Horn is executive producer.

Great Performances is funded by the Irene Diamond Fund, Vivian Milstein, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, public television viewers and PBS.

Visit Great Performances Online at for additional information about this and other programs.

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I look forward to seeing this… let’s see… we get Shakespeare. and we get Sir Patrick!

Good deal!


Goosebumps in anticipation.

General Martok

Sounds awesommmmeeeeeeee


Bloody good show!


I remember once reading an interview that Stewart did, about how he compared sitting in the captain’s chair of the Enterprise to playing the part of a king in one of Shakespear’s plays. As a fans of Trek, I think we really lucked out when Mr Stewart decided to take the part of Captain Picard. The guy is truly a great actor.

Red Dead Ryan

Talk about a couple of folks who look great at their respective ages! (Paula Zahn, mid-fifties and Patrick Stewart, 70)

And I just might have to check out this “Macbeth” when it airs. Patrick Stewart proving once again how great of an actor he is and how lucky we Trek fans are to have him as Captain Picard!

Brian from OR

Looks good, will definitely be catching this when it comes on. The look of it reminds of “Richard III,” that started Ian Mckellen.


Really looking forward to this. Thanks for the preview!

If its anything close to last year’s Hamlet with Patrick Stewart and David Tennant, we are in for a real special presentation!


Sir Patrick Stewart, badass sandwich maker! Love it! :)

@9: Agreed. That production of Hamlet was one of the few times Shakespere really “clicked” for me, and it wasn’t because it was Captain Picard and Doctor Who, either. They were just that good.

4 8 15 16 23 42

#7 — That’s just what I thought, myself… I thought that movie adaptation of “Richard III” was pretty good. I’d definitely be into seeing this one — production values look pretty high.


Am I looking forward to this!! Macbeth may well be Shakespeare’s most exciting play. We’ve also had a number of film adaptations, but, as far as I know, none in recent years. About time for a new approach.
Having said that, the approach, as far as one can tell from the trailer, isn’t entirely new: it’s more or less the same as in Ian McKellen’s Richard III. (as was already remarked in 7 and 14). Now we have a Stalinism theme, in Richard III. we had a fascism/Nazi theme. But IMO it worked extremely well in McKellen’s film, so why not give the idea another try? (And I am usually quite skeptical about ahistorical versions of the royal dramas.)

Niall Johnson

Is it me, or does he look like Lenin in the poster?

Sotirios Moshonas

For Anselmo:

I agree with your comments. I wish David Tennant did make an appearance in “Macbeth”.

I am excited to see the television adaption of this famous Shakespearian Play. This looks very promising.

I also agree with CarlG and @11 comments.

For @12 – SuDHo’:

lIj jatlh ‘oH laj quvmoH! Qapla’

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Sotirios Moshonas

For Niall Johnson:

Sir Patrick Stewart did play Lenin in a 1974 BBC series entitled:

“Fall Of Eagles”

This classic series lasted only 13 episodes.

For more info, please visit this website address:

or for those who want to see when Sir Patrick Stewart was very young or being the sexiest man in 1992,

please visit this website address:

Thanks for everything.


14 — Kinda the point.

Still like Catspaw’s witches, though. Now, they were scary.


14: That was the idea, as the production was re-set in the Soviet Union. The costumes and set design were all Soviet inspired, the three witches were satanic army nurses, and there was a point where the cast began singing in Russian.

I saw this at BAM in Brooklyn, and it was phenomenal. Glad its coming to video!


Wow!….It seems to be awesome!….Sir Patrick always great!!!


I’m entirely excited for this. I’d sort of pipe-dreamed being able to actually see it on-stage, but at any rate … PBS always has my back on these things.

That looks phenomenal.

Hat Rick

So, after seeing this, you need to ask yourself: Are you a PC or a Mac?



Ah, THE SCOTTISH PLAY, needs more Scotts in it yanno…..

– W –
* Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh heh *

USS Awesome

I saw it at the Brooklyn Academy of Music too and I was sitting at the front row! The stage was not elevated so it’s at the same level as the seats. In one scene Sir Stewart was standing in front of me speckling me with spittle as he performed a soliloquy. I thought about never washing my face.

Red Skirt

I’m sure Stewart is fantastic in this, but I gotta say, it makes about as much sense as him playing Romeo. I will be interested to see how they conform the story to this adaptation. MacBeth was a warrior. At his age, Stewart would make a much better Duncan. I can only imagine they’ve cut the material about his direct participation in the battle scenes and made him some sort of “general” who does not visit the front lines. Curious.


Macbeth’s beard: The moustache looks like Stalin’s huge moustache. But Sir Patrick’s bald head makes him look more like Lenin.

Re 25: On the other hand, we do not get Macbeth’s age in the play, do we? (I’m not 100% sure but I think not.) And one other point: it appears people were aging more rapidly (as far as their looks are concerned) several decades back. In particular if they lived through wars. I think a plausible age for Stewart’s Macbeth is around 50. A 50 year old general in the year, say, 1950, could look like Stewart and still do the stuff Macbeth does.

Hat Rick

Ian (“Magneto”) McKellen was Richard III in a 1995 movie of the same name, set to relatively modern times.

It looks like it’s Professor Xavier’s turn at bat.


@25: He was 56 when First Contact came out, and he still kicked butt convincingly, so never underestimate the power of the badass old guys. :)


Patrick Stewart is the best pure actor who has ever donned a Starfleet uniform. It is great to see he is not typecasted like others and still enjoys a successful career


Saw this on Broadway, and was very impressed!

Byron D.

This looks amazing, like a full featured production…

Capn Ron

Don’t touch that! You could blow up the entire feramantle drive unit.

Canon Schmanon

#25-Red Skirt – you are an ageist. Obviously too young to realize that many people beyond 50 years can still be physical. I just turned 50 myself and could still kick the butt of most of you young whipper snappers.

As for Mr. Stewardt, Star Trek has had many fine actors through the decades. Unfortunately, there are many fine actors out there, so a lot of the Trek performers found it difficult to break free and get other good roles. In Stewart’s case, he’s an exceptional actor, so he was bound to get other roles. You just can’t be THAT cool and not get work.

If “McBeth” is Sir Patrick, I know its going to be fabulas! I know what I will be watching at 9pm. And I’m happy they will encore it online. Can’t wait! Thank you Sir Pat for another winner.

Shannon Nutt

I was lucky enough to see Stewart on stage in London in November of 2007 – he was fantastic.

Red Skirt

#33, While few if any of Shakespeare’s plays give a specific age of its characters, MacBeth is a warrior. The whole point of being appointed Thane of Cawdor, is MacBeth felt that due to he and Banquo single-handedly defeating the enemy and saving the kingdom on the battlefield, he deserved more. Taken in context of the time, there would have been few if any 50 year old men alive, much less the greatest and most powerful warriors in the army. Even in Shakespeare’s time, the average life-expetancy for even the rich was only 35-45 years. Certainly a soldier could not have expected to live into his 50s, especially if he were still on the front lines. And Macbeth is based on an historical figure some 500 years earlier when life expectancy was even less.

That said, I am curious as to how this adaptation treats that aspect of the story. Certainly a 70 year old Stewart could play a general whose intellectual prowess single handedly defeated the army, and the dolt-of-a-king fails to reward him. But even if you think he can play 50 (and I don’t), it would be very hard to believe that even a 50 year old man could outfight and defeat an army of men half his age, even in the present day. That’s all.


@25 Redskirt

Did you have the opportunity to see Stewart’s Macbeth in the UK or NY in 2007-2008?

I ask, because as one who was fortunate enough to see the play 3 times, Stewart’s portrayal remains with me as one of the most hauntingly disturbing characterisations I’ve ever seen on stage.

There is nothing in Shakespeare’s text that marks Macbeth as being of a certain age, however you are correct insofar as the fact is that for the past 30 years the role has been played by younger actors.

Stewart had a bit to say about this a few years ago. There are good interviews still available on NYT and the Guardian for example, about how the character knows he’s getting older but he has a young (trophy) wife driven by ambition. Macbeth’s actions make a great deal of sense in this light.

As to your issue about age and real life, Julius Caesar conquered the known world in his fifties.


re 36: The point about average lifespan is a common fallacy. This average includes a tremendously high child mortality. But once you made it into adolescence and then adulthood, you had pretty good chances of living past 50. Also, a nobleman had a much better natural life expectancy. If he wasn’t killed in battle, he had a good chance of living longer because of better food and shelter, not having to do hard farming work, etc.

re 37: Interpreting Macbeth’s actions in the light of his trophy wife is an interesting point.

Red Skirt

#37, no I haven’t seen his Macbeth. As I said, I fully expect his performance to be powerful. But Stewart’s comments to the NYT and the Guardian are his conceit. That’s not in the play. But it’s a good one.

#38, my point about Macbeth is not whether or not men could live past 50 in the 11th Century. But rather what Shakespeare intended and wrote. Macbeth WAS a warrior, a “captain” in title, he fought shoulder to shoulder on the front lines with his troops, so despite being nobility, unlikely to live to be a ripe old age. In fact, Shakespeare makes him almost superhuman, able to destroy an entire army of men, just he and Banquo. While Caesar fought for his life at 50, he did not single handedly defeat his enemies, but mostly directed his armies to do it for him. Macbeth was intended to be young. The historical Macbeth took the throne at 40. Certainly Stewart at 70 could not realistically portray this version of Macbeth as written by Shakespeare, any more than Mel Gibson could pull off Braveheart in his current condition. But that does not diminish him in the role, or the message of the play. It’s simply a matter that must be dealt with in the text by the dramaturge. And I am merely curious how they’ve done it.

Anna Maria

I wish Macbeth would be broadcasted in Italy too…You are all so lucky out there and I feel isolated! Sigh…
Sir Patrick is and will always be a master in his craft, he is the only reason my 8 years old son loves Shakespeare! Only for this I am a lifetime fan of him and of Sir Ian, I am grateful to them, they have become almost relatives for us and they teach a lot to my son!


Re 39: OK, fair points.

In the end, my view is that this production takes a lot of artistic license by setting the story in the 20th century. Stewart/Macbeth’s age is only a small matter in the light of the other liberties the production takes.


@41, the staging and set design are modernised, but NO artistic licence has been taken with the text itself which remains as Shakespeare wrote it and is is delivered as such by the actors.

Are you suggesting that the only legitimate productions of Shakespearean drama (or Ibsen for that matter) are those set in the time period and place in which the playwright himself/herself existed or originally set the tale?

Surely, that would produce museum pieces of minimal interest to future generations.


Re 42: No, I don’t. It’s in post 13 above. Regardless of the question whether one does or doesn’t like ahistorical productions, I consider setting Macbeth in the 20th century artistic license. Artistic license as such is neither good nor bad, IMO. If it works, it’s good, if not, not.

“Surely, that would produce museum pieces of minimal interest to future generations.”

I’m not so sure that’s a sure thing. Why wouldn’t future generations be interested in a look into the past? That can be an exciting experience. Personally, I prefer both approaches existing side by side.


@43 Holger, I think you’ll like this production. If it’s half as good as what we got in Chichester, then London, then BAM then Broadway, then filmed – I think you might be in for a treat.


My favorite captain along with Sisco


Saw this in London and it was breathtaking! It will be interesting to see how the production feels on film.