Filming has begun in England and Scotland on Mary, Queen of Scots, Working Title’s historical epic starring Saoirse Ronan as the eponymous (and eventually headless) monarch, with Margot Robbie following in Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench’s footsteps by taking on the role of Elizabeth I. Josie Rourke is making her directorial debut on the film, working from a script by Academy Award nominee Beau Willimon, from John Guy’s biography My Heart is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots.
Also squeezing themselves into Elizabethan hosiery are Jack Lowden (Dunkirk, England is Mine), Joe Alwyn (The Sense of an Ending, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk), Martin Compston (Sweet Sixteen, Line of Duty), Brendan Coyle (Downton Abbey, Me Before You), David Tennant (Doctor Who, Broadchurch) and Guy Pearce (Memento, LA Confidential, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert).
As the official synopsis says (and 16th century history largely agrees), “Mary, Queen of Scots explores the turbulent life of the charismatic Mary Stuart. Queen of France at 16 and widowed at 18, Mary defies pressure to remarry. Instead, she returns to her native Scotland to reclaim her rightful throne. But Scotland and England fall under the rule of the compelling Elizabeth 1. Each young Queen beholds her “sister” in fear and fascination. Rivals in power and in love, and female regents in a masculine world, the two must decide how to play the game of marriage versus independence. Determined to rule as much more than a figurehead, Mary asserts her claim to the English throne, threatening Elizabeth’s sovereignty. Betrayal, rebellion, and conspiracies within each court imperil both thrones – and change the course of history.”
We love a good historical epic – and even the occasional bad one. Hopefully this falls into the former category.