By James Marsters

It's a very mature rumination on evil...


I have a dream of filming the Scottish play because I think that of all of his plays, being the shortest one, being that fifth act fragments into a lot of separate scenes which for the stage, and a lot of separate locals, different countries, which on the stage is a headache. I've seen directors just about have an aneurysm over about how to make that clear. But for film it's perfect.

And I also feel like I haven't seen a production of "Hamlet" or "Macbeth" ever on stage or on film that I really agreed with. And I feel like I have an understanding of it which is based in the text, which is very simple, and which I think the audience will really respond to, and I think that if I'm given my chance, that I can make a "Macbeth" that people would understand.

But in all honesty, I'm not to the stage of my career yet, that just having my name attached to a Shakespeare piece could necessarily generate the money. I don't really want to go for it until I have the power to produce it.

I don't necessarily want to direct it 'cause I also want to act in it, and that would be too dicey to act in a Shakespeare as well as direct it, and if you have any doubts about that Branagh's "Hamlet". He's a great actor and he's a great director but both together... someone should have said "Kenneth calm down".

So I want to have the power to sit down with the director and say "this is what scene one is about, this is what it's not about. This is scene two. If you agree with me let's talk about coming onboard as my director, if you don't let's keep, keep interviewing people", and I'm not quite there yet.

(Chicago Flashback - May 2003)

JUNE 6, 2004 - James told the attendees at Moonlight Rising that he's got the financing ($50,000,000) for his dream project — to film his favorite play ever, Macbeth.

AUGUST 29, 2004 - Unfortunately, James said at Vulkon San Francisco Slayer that the project "is now off because the financing is shaky on that." He believes, however, it will be eventually made and is continuing to write it.

My favorite Shakespeare play is "Macbeth," and I would very much love to direct (it). The play points up that the common person shares more with the beasts than we like to admit. It is a big challenge to keep him the hero right up until the middle of the fifth act, when he does become the functional villain. Until that moment, you have a hero who's committing atrocities, and that's not something that people are used to. To make it work as an actor, you have to respect him and to use yourself and to realize that the reasons that he commits these murders is from ambition, which is one of the most universal human feelings. I'm very ambitious. I want the world. But it also can lead, if one's not careful, to cutting moral corners. (Kansas City Star - September 1999)


In the speech of 'Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Tomorrow', [it's] understanding that he's not whining and he's not sad, he's absolutely without emotion. When you see how low that the main title character sinks, that speech is all about that life is absolutely worthless, meaningless. There's no meaning at all. And then you understand that he's not whining about anything, he's just commenting on the way he sees life. He starts as such an energetic and life-filled character, and then he journeys and comes to that point at which he's no longer the hero, he's the villain. In order to commit the crimes he did, he had to cut out his own soul... he had to numb himself as so many murderers do. It's weird that Shakespeare knew that. But that was the ultimate price. For committing the acts that he did out of ambition was that he had to turn off his own connection to real life to protect himself. So when his wife dies, when he hears that his wife is dead, he's just like 'Well, she should have died tomorrow, we would have had more time for that tomorrow.' That's probably my favorite part of the play because actually it requires no acting at all. You get to that and it's the big abyss of the role, you just have to sit there and say it. You just say it very simply. It's so disturbing. (11th Hour - December 1999)


What I'd like to do with "Macbeth"? Just do it right. Just do a "Macbeth" where Macbeth doesn't wuss out in the second act. And just go to hell with some courage. Do a "Macbeth" where Lady Macbeth isn't a bitch, but, in fact, a good person. Then they both go insane because they do evil, but they go insane for different reasons. You know, just do it like it's written. No one's done it well. I don't get it! It's such a great play. It's so simple, really. (Fangoria - August 2001)


Who would I pick to play Lady Macbeth. Someone beautiful, and innocent and very young. Someone naïve, someone who would be forgiven for making that mistake. The worst thing about Lady Macbeth if you see her on stage is that she is played as a castrating bitch. Because it weakens both of them. Because Macbeth looks like he's taking it, that he's whipped, and Lady Macbeth, by the time you get to that damn spot nobody cares. But if she's an innocent, who doesn't want to think about what she's doing- she always says if you don't think about it Macbeth, it wont be bad, which is wrong. But if she's an innocent and loses her husband because of he can't tell her the secret killings that he's been doing, then she loses everything and it drives her insane then you have something. So someone around twenty, something like that.


Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are a very happy couple, very sexy with each other and everything. She’s a wonderful wife, and they decide to commit murder, which is the only way to become king of Scotland. In Scotland at the time it was not- it was not a kingship handed from father to son. It was done, who ever killed the guy would be king. And so he decides to kill the king but not on the battle field. So that sets these chain of events going that he has to keep murdering people to retain power and he shuns her away trying to protect her but they lose their whole relationship. And he cuts himself out psychologically to try to deal with this evil he’s forced to do and he ends up dead inside. And we hear a scream of stage and he says…"go find out what that is". They guy leaves and the king just tells the audience "you know I just can’t even really feel anything, things that used to just make my hair stand on end do nothing for me anymore I just don’t feel anything". The messenger comes back and says what the noise was.  "The queen, my lord, is dead". And so he kinda shrugs, and everyone’s waiting for the howl, everyone’s waiting for the "oh my god I’ve lost my wife!" but he just says:


Shakespeare, by the way, did not believe a word of that. That was his, you can really get depressed by that monologue thinking Shakespeare actually was thinking that. But that’s not what he was thinking at all. That was his, his character going straight to hell. That’s the voice from hell. Yeah. (Creation Con - March 2003)


You know, with that play I really... this is going to sound... OK, there's one play in the world I feel like I know exactly why he wrote it and I don't think I need to ask him any questions about it. I really think I know, uh, what was going on in his world and... you see the thing about Macbeth is... The Catholics had tried to kill the King. It was the gunpowder... the Guy Fawkes incident... and they put a bunch of gunpowder underneath Parliament when the King was going to speak to Parliament. So the whole Royal family was there along with the King and all the politicians, and the Catholics were going to blow the whole thing up. The King discovered it at the last moment and defused the bomb himself, but for a long time after that Catholics were even more persecuted than they usually were in Protestant England. The Catholics actually held a mass the night before the attempted murder, which to the Protestant mind was a black mass being that they were trying to kill the King so everyone's blaming Catholics at the time calling them devil worshippers and everything else and so Shakespeare writes a play where the guy does go in league with the Devil and yet the reason that he may be evil on Earth was his own decision. (DragonCon - August 2003)


Yeah, sure. I'll just do the thing… OK, uh, this is the most depressing monologue in Shakespeare. This is not philosophy that Shakespeare actually believed, but it is a reflection of a lead character having carved away his soul to hold onto power… that's the great thing about the play… what it says about how murderers… people who do heinous things have to cut away their psychology so they can live with themselves and you go down that road far enough and you really can't feel anything any more and if you read any interviews with any serial killers — I did, to do the role — it's something they talk about a lot. So at the end of the play… at the beginning of the play we see Lady Macbeth and Macbeth just almost having sex on stage, that's how hot they are for each other. Then we watch them go through this journey where they decide to do evil. At the end of the play, Lady Macbeth dies and Macbeth has just said "I can't feel anything anymore" and then there's a scream off stage. Dude goes checks it out, comes back and says, "The Queen, my Lord, is dead." We're all holding on for the reaction to Macbeth and all he says is:


(DragonCon - August 2003)