Something Wicked This Way Comes — Macbeth's Ethan Hawke and Jack O'Brien Talk Motivation and Myth

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21 Dec 2013

Jack O'Brien
Jack O'Brien
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Longtime collaborators Tony winner Jack O'Brien and Tony nominee Ethan Hawke, director and star, respectively, of Lincoln Center Theater's Macbeth, talk with about taking on the Scottish Play.


"This isn't my first time at the rodeo," Jack O'Brien said while discussing his latest project — William Shakespeare's Macbeth.

And it certainly isn't. O'Brien, a three-time Tony winner, has numerous and varied theatrical credits under his belt, having served as the artistic director of the Old Globe Theatre from 1981-2007, as well has having directed the Broadway musicals The Full Monty and Hairspray, and the dramas The Coast of Utopia and The Invention of Love. 

O'Brien, who has also directed Two Shakespearean Actors, is currently directing the Scottish Play at Lincoln Center, starring Ethan Hawke as the titular antihero.

"This is about the fourth time I've been near the play," he said. "I've come to it over a long journey, and it gives me comfort to know I'm very secure."

Hawke is no stranger to Shakespeare either, having played the titular role in the film adaptation of "Hamlet." He also stars in the upcoming "Cymbeline" and said he hopes to one day take on the role of King Lear on screen.

Nor is this O'Brien's first time directing Hawke, who starred in the O'Brien-helmed Henry IV and The Coast of Utopia, also at Lincoln Center.

"In Jack, we have a leader," Hawke said. "I feel you can't take on one of these great plays without a leader. You need somebody who's walking you through the dark forest with a torch. You need somebody who knows what the hell they're doing."

The Lincoln Center production is just the latest staging of the Scottish Play to be seen in New York, following the one-man adaptation starring Alan Cumming, as well as the long-running immersive experience, Sleep No More, and the upcoming Macbeth, starring Kenneth Branagh, which will play the Park Avenue Armory beginning May 2014.


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