— Ellie Broughton

Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly: “I just wanted to prove her wrong”

“Lady Macbeth” might be a familiar name to British opera audiences. Dmitri Shostakovich’s adaptation is, to date, the likeliest way for audiences in the UK to come across the story originally told in a Russian novella Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (1865). Shostakovich’s opera was also featured in Julian Barnes’ novel The Noise of Time, a factor that’s sure to draw fresh interest to a run at the Royal Opera House next year.

Apart from a Polish production from the 1970s, Lady Macbeth has never hit the silver screen before. But last year Alice Birch wrote a new adaptation, taking the first half of the story and relocating it to Northumberland. This atmospheric new drama focuses on a young woman, isolated in a loveless marriage and driven to shocking violence. The film, praised by leading UK critics including Cath Clarke and Guy Lodge, is studded with incredible performances by newcomers Florence Pugh, Cosmo Jarvis, and Naomi Ackie. Among stunning interior and landscape shots that heighten a powerful and compelling narrative, questions about the power of the female gaze wait at the film’s core.

I talked to Lady Macbeth’s producer Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly about the film, creating a collaborative environment on set and colour-blind casting. Read more on thefword.org.uk.