The company said on Friday [10] it had come on board to co-finance with Film4 See-Saw Films’ Shakespeare adaptation and will launch sales in Cannes.

StudioCanal will also distribute the drama in the UK, France and Germany. Screendaily reported exclusively that Michael Fassbender and Natalie Portman will star in the story of desire and ambition, which is set to commence shooting in the UK in January 2014.

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Justin Kurzel will direct and Iain Canning and Emile Sherman of See-Saw Films produce. See-Saw developed the project with Film4.

“We are very pleased to be financing Macbeth which deftly brings contemporary themes to an iconic story,” said StudioCanal chairman and CEO Olivier Courson.

“Justin Kurzel is a rare and distinct talent all of us at StudioCanal have admired for some time and are happy to be able to accompany him in this film.

“We are also thrilled to be working with the great producing team at See-Saw who have brought together such wonderful talent including Michael Fassbender and Natalie Portman. We look forward to distributing the film in our European territories and commencing international sales this coming week at Cannes.”

“StudioCanal and Film4 are the perfect partners for us on Macbeth, having responded so quickly and passionately to the material,” said Canning and Sherman.

“Like us, they are committed to Justin Kurzel’s energetic and modern-themed take on a timeless story. With Michael Fassbender and Natalie Portman, we have two of the finest actors of their generation, playing two of the most celebrated roles of all time. We couldn’t be more excited.”

Film4 head Tessa Ross added: “We’re delighted to be partnering with our great colleagues at See-Saw and at StudioCanal on this wonderful project. Justin is an exceptional director and the prospect of his visceral and urgent work, together with the work of these two extraordinary performers, is very exciting.”