Michael Fassbender leads Macbeth cast on UK premiere red carpet


Michael Fassbender has led the cast of Macbeth on the red carpet as it received its UK premiere in Edinburgh.

The Hollywood A-lister plays the title role in the new film adaptation of Shakespeare's tragedy which is out in cinemas next week.

He stopped to talk to fans, sign autographs and pose for selfies as he made his way to the screening at the Scottish capital's Festival Theatre.

Marion Cotillard, who plays Lady Macbeth, was not on the red carpet but David Thewlis, who takes on the role of King Duncan, and Paddy Considine, playing Banquo, were in attendance.

Fassbender said: "It is great being in Edinburgh, it's exciting to have the premiere here in Scotland.

"We were lucky enough to film a bit up here and I was here in 2006 doing a play at the Fringe Festival so I love being back.

"I love the city - its architecture and the really great people."

Considine, who had never taken on a Shakespearean role before, said it was a daunting experience at first.

"From the perspective of other actors you feel like you're being judged before you've even done it, but you just have to go for it," he said.

"I just made sure I knew the verses and turned up on time. You've got a character, so just play the character - that's it. All that other stuff is a distraction.

"I was afraid of Shakespeare but it was amazing how much it opened up, and when you see through the verses you see gold there and you're like, 'wow, this isn't the puzzle I thought it was going to be' - it's a really beautiful thing."

Thewlis described how he approached taking on a character who is brutally murdered.

"I actually quite look forward to being murdered. Doing the dramatic scene and to be murdered so beautifully by Michael Fassbender. I had more blood poured on me than I've ever seen in my whole career.

"I was well soaked and bruised by the end of the day but it was good fun.

"The film translates rather beautifully. Justin Kurzel (the director) has turned it into a real visual spectacle which is what you should do. We kept the original text - not the whole play, obviously - and that has been adapted and is really a stunning piece of cinema in terms of the visuals."

He added: "It's called the Scottish play and Scotland is undoubtedly one of the stars of the movie. The reason it is so beautiful is because it's so damn beautiful up here. I'm glad to be here - I've not been up for six years and I always love being here. I could honestly live up here - I love it."

The movie, directed by Australian director Kurzel, features the landscape of the Isle of Skye and tourism bosses are hailing its potential to attract thousands more visitors to Scotland.

Tourism body VisitScotland has already produced a new online Macbeth locations guide highlighting places on Skye where filming took place as well as places associated with the play.

Malcolm Roughead, the VisitScotland chief executive, said: "This wonderful new Macbeth movie is fantastic for Scottish tourism.

"We are delighted to see Scottish tourism businesses capitalising on this outstanding opportunity and hope that the film will lead to thousands of visitors coming to Scotland to tread the same ground as the man, the myth and the legend."

Scotland's Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: "I'm delighted Shakespeare's iconic story of Macbeth has been transformed for modern audiences on screen.

"The production showcases the stunning scenery of the Isle of Skye. I'm confident Macbeth will draw new and returning visitors to Scotland from around the globe."