Crowned By Chance Cover Story

Taylor Roberts as Lady Macbeth
photo by Scott Elmquist

Hollywood Calling: Crowned By Chance

by Richard Foster

With a Virginia license plate reading “LADY MCB,” the 30-foot-long stretch limo is parked in the brick-paved driveway of a tony Cary Street Road estate. The gaping maw of its open trunk provides a handy receptacle for the many corpses that stack up in Macbeth’s wake, which on this afternoon includes Roukin. He cracks a joke about “spooning” while he folds himself into the trunk alongside his similarly bloodied “Turn” co-star Daniel Henshall.

Back in 1999, Angus Macfadyen was playing Orson Welles in director Tim Robbins’ “Cradle Will Rock,” when Vanessa Redgrave innocently asked him, “Do you think Orson’s ‘Macbeth’ is any good?”

“I just looked at her and I said, ‘You said the word,’” Macfadyen recalls.

It’s a long-held superstition among thespians to refer to “Macbeth” as “the Scottish Play,” in fear that doom and disaster will follow the mere mention of Shakespeare’s 1606 masterpiece inside a theater or during the staging of a play.

“She looked at me and said, ‘You don’t believe in that nonsense, do you?’” But by the end of the day, Macfadyen says, “somebody had almost cut their thumb off and the entire day’s filming … got overexposed.” Fortunately, no such plagues have beset the Richmond-based shooting of Macfadyen’s 2015 indie feature film of “Macbeth” — perhaps because most of the movie was filmed within the confines of a black, 1997 Lincoln Town Car stretch limo.

Originally owned by a Texas oil mogul, the limo was acquired from a seller in Powhatan County through a Craigslist ad spotted by Macfadyen. This is an avant-garde re-imagining of the Shakespearean tragedy — written and directed by Macfadyen, best known for his role as the conflicted Scottish nobleman Robert the Bruce in Mel Gibson’s “Braveheart,” which won the 1996 Academy Award for best picture. He also appeared in the “Saw” horror franchise but says wryly that bringing up that role is “a saw point” for him.

His film also features several of his fellow cast members from AMC’s Revolutionary War espionage drama “Turn: Washington’s Spies.” Filmed in the Richmond area, “Turn” features Macfadyen as the burly, obsessive Scottish guerrilla warrior Robert Rogers. Macfadyen shot “Macbeth” around the filming of “Turn’s” second season, which recently wrapped and premieres in April.

“To me, the limo represents our fate, constantly moving,” says Taylor Roberts, who plays Lady Macbeth. A film noir buff, she patterned her performance after silver-screen femmes fatales such as Ava Gardner in “The Killers.”

“We are really only trapped in this small, moving thing once we’ve done the deed and killed the king,” Roberts says. “After that, there is no turning back. It’s a one-way street ‘all the way to the end of the line,’ as they say in ‘Double Indemnity.’”

read more at Style Weekly

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