Prepare yourself for a literally royal rumble. In “Mary, Queen of Scots,” last year’s big Oscar contenders Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie face off as two of history’s most compelling queens in a tale of intrigue and desire that hasn’t lost its shine, even nearly five centuries after the events it follows first unspooled.
The period drama explores the turbulent life of Ronan’s Mary Stuart, who became Queen of France at age 16 and widowed at 18. Robbie plays Mary’s biggest rival, her cousin Elizabeth I. Each young Queen is fearful and fascinated by the other, but their loyalty to their countries is threatened when Mary asserts her claim to the English throne.
Even independent of her run-ins with Elizabeth, Mary’s life was a wild one, marked by bad marriages, literal explosions, and a tangled family tree that all but guaranteed that she’d spend her entire life dealing with court politics and problems. She became queen when she was just six days old, and the next forty-four years of her life never let up on the drama.
“Mary, Queen of Scots” is the feature directorial debut of Josie Rourke, artistic director of The Donmar Warehouse. “House of Cards” creator Beau Willimon wrote the script based on John Guy’s acclaimed biography “My Heart is My Own: The Life of Mary, Queen of Scots.” The screenwriter earned an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2012 for co-writing George Clooney’s “The Ides of March.”
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The supporting cast includes Jack Lowden, Joe Alwyn, Martin Compston, Brendan Coyle, David Tennant, and Guy Pearce. Check out the first trailer for “Mary, Queen of Scots” below.
Focus Features will open “Mary, Queen of Scots” in the U.S. on December 7.