Filming has officially begun on the Focus Features and Working Title production of Mary, Queen of Scots, Focus Features revealed in a statement. The film stars Saoirse Ronan as the infamous cousin and political rival to Elizabeth I, to be played by Margot Robbie.
Josie Rourke is making her feature directorial debut with the film. Rourke is the artistic director of Donmar Warehouse, the non-profit theater in Covent Garden at which Sam Mendes and Michael Grandage have both previously served in the same role. She will be working with the Oscar-nominated Working Title producers from Les Miserables to bring the story to life.
Based on John Guy’s biography My Heart is My Own: The Life of Mary, Queen of Scots and adapted for the screen by Emmy award winning writer Beau Willimon (House of Cards), the story will follow the “turbulent life of the charismatic Mary Stuart.” Married to the King of France at 16, and widowed at 18, Mary soon returned to her native home of Scotland to reclaim her throne, only to find that Elizabeth had laid claim to its rule. From then on, the two young Queens entered years of political and romantic rivalry and in fascination of one another. Both were determined to rule absolutely while dodging forced marriages and when Mary laid her rightful claim of England, it powerfully threatened the sovereign rule of Elizabeth. With a simultaneous battle between Elizabeth’s Protestantism and Mary’s Catholicism, years of rebellion and betrayal followed that would change the course of history forever.
Joining Ronan and Robbie in the cast are Guy Pearce, David Tennant, Jack Lowden (Dunkirk), Joe Alwyn (Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk), Martin Compston (Sweet Sixteen), and Brendan Coyle (TV’s Downton Abbey).
Check out the film’s first image below of Ronan decked out in sixteenth century accouterments. The actress looks transformed, and if it is any indication on how the shoot will go, audiences are in for quite a realistic and somber portrayal. Ronan was last in the spotlight in 2015, Oscar-nominated for her performance in Brooklyn. She has become quite the go-to young actress for period drama and romance, making her the perfect choice for Mary, Queen of Scots.