Denzel Washington Teams With Jake Gyllenhaal For Shakespeare Classic

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

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Denzel Washington and Jake Gyllenhaal have both gotten mileage out of becoming action stars: Washington has turned his Equalizer films into an action franchise to rival John Wick, and Gyllenhaal is fighting in everything from the MCU to the upcoming Road House remake. Now, however, these actors have decided to reach deeper into their talents as actors to bring to life one of the greatest plays from history’s greatest writer. Both Denzel Washington and Jake Gyllenhaal will headline the upcoming Broadway production of Othello.

The Bard On Broadway

If you’ve never experienced this Shakespeare play, though, you’ve probably got a big question: what is Othello (whose full title is The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice) actually about? The title character is a talented military general who is married to young Desdemona without her father’s knowledge. Life seems to be good for this soldier, but when a malicious junior officer named Iago starts plotting against his master in order to drive him into a jealous rage, we are left with a story that unflinchingly examines race, racism, violence, and identity.

Denzel Is Othello

Given those crunchy themes, it’s not hard to see why Denzel Washington and Jake Gyllenhaal would be interested in leading this Broadway production. As you’ve probably figured out, Washington will play the title role, and Gyllenhaal will play the malevolent Iago.

Waiting For Fair Desdemona

The two have the right age gap to convincingly portray a general and his ensign (Washington is 69, and Gyllenhaal is 43). No other casting details have currently been announced, though we’re excited to see who will end up playing Desdemona, the young lover who ignites a passion in Othello that threatens to destroy them both.

A Veteran Director

In addition to the powerful talents of Denzel Washington and Jake Gyllenhaal, we’re excited about this upcoming Broadway production thanks to the vision of its director. Veteran director Kenny Leon is bringing this Shakespearean story to life, and he is best known among theater fans for his Tony-winning revival of the Lorraine Hansberry play A Raisin in the Sun back in 2014. Incidentally, that play also starred Denzel Washington, so we are certain that Leon knows how to get the best out of such a gifted actor.

Darth Vader Was Othello

Speaking of theater fans, one notable fact about this upcoming production is that it will be the first Broadway production of Othello since 1982. Incidentally, that play also featured two iconic actors who were best known for genre work. In it, Darth Vader actor James Earl Jones played Othello, and Christopher Plummer (best known to Star Trek fans for his later portrayal of General Chang in The Undiscovered Country) played Iago.

Othello Arrives Next Year

We’re confident that Denzel Washington and Jake Gyllenhaal will be able to measure up to such an iconic previous Broadway production, but when will fans be able to see each actor chewing the scenery, Shakespeare style? Othello is going to premiere in Spring 2025 at one of the (currently unnamed) Shubert theaters. Be sure to get your tickets as soon as possible…otherwise, you’ll deal with scalpers so annoying that you won’t need your own Iago to be driven into a murderous rage.