Frances McDormand believes 'The Tragedy of Macbeth' differs from the Shakespeare tale as the main characters are older.

The Oscar-winning actress will play Lady Macbeth in a new take on William Shakespeare's play - which features Denzel Washington in the titular role and is helmed by Joel Coen - and she suggested the older protagonists make a big difference on the project.

She told The Film Stage: ''I think a very important thing about Joel's adaptation is that we are not calling it 'Macbeth'. We're calling it 'The Tragedy of Macbeth', which I think is an important distinction.

''In Joel's adaptation, we are exploring the age of the characters and in our adaptation the Macbeths are older.

''Both Denzel and I are older than what is often cast as the Macbeths. We're postmenopausal, we're past childbearing age. So that puts a pressure on their ambition to have the crown. I think the most important distinction is that it is their last chance for glory.''

Both McDormand and Coen feel that the situation the characters are in means the movie could even be classed as a thriller.

The 62-year-old actress explained: ''It puts a very specific time pressure on the characters, but also on the storytelling, which I think is the real brilliance of the adaptation that Joel has done.

''There's a real suspense and a real ticking clock. The time is running out - not only for the characters, but also it propels the storytelling.''

Coen - who will be directing a film without his brother Ethan for the first time on the flick - added: ''Yes, [it can be considered a thriller]. I think that is something that I've always sort of felt when watching the play and also something that became more clear and more interesting to me as I was getting into it and doing the adaptation.

''It's interesting how Shakespeare sort of pre-figured certain tropes in American thriller and crime literature that were common in the early part of the 20th century. Which just had to do with, in crime novels, a story centred around a husband and a wife who plotted a murder.

''So that's something that Shakespeare is obviously doing in Macbeth that you see echoes of in crime fiction, in American anyway, in the early part of the 20th century. That kind of fiction I used to read as a kid. I thought it would be interesting to bring certain aspects of that to the production of the movie.''