Mary Queen of Scots film: everything you need to know

Saoirse Ronan as  Mary Queen of Scots . PIC: Liam Daniel/Focus Features via AP.
Saoirse Ronan as Mary Queen of Scots . PIC: Liam Daniel/Focus Features via AP.
0
Have your say

The hotly anticipated film Mary Queen of Scots will open in UK cinemas in just over a fortnight.

The story of Mary and her relationship with cousin Elizabeth I promises regal measures of betrayal, manoeuvring and tragedy with the film promising to re-examine the history of Scotland’s doomed ruler.

Here we look at the background to the film already tipped to be a serious Oscar contender.

The film, which is due to be released in the UK on January 18, begins in 1561 when Mary, played by Saoirse Ronan, returns to Scotland from France to reclaim her throne. PIC: Liam Daniel/Focus Features via AP.

The film, which is due to be released in the UK on January 18, begins in 1561 when Mary, played by Saoirse Ronan, returns to Scotland from France to reclaim her throne. PIC: Liam Daniel/Focus Features via AP.

-Mary Queen of Scots opens in UK cinemas on Friday, January 18. It has already opened in the US.

-Saoirse Ronan, 24, who plays Mary Queen of Scots, has been linked to the project since she was 18-years-old.

-Director Josie Rourke, who is artistic director of the Donmar Warehouse in London, said she was drawn to the project given Ronan’s involvement.

-It is Rourke’s first screen film.

Director Josie Rourke with actors Margot Robbie, who plays Elizabeth I, and Joe Alwyn, who plays the Queen's confidante Robert Dudley, on set. 'Credit:  Liam Daniel / Focus Features.

Director Josie Rourke with actors Margot Robbie, who plays Elizabeth I, and Joe Alwyn, who plays the Queen's confidante Robert Dudley, on set. 'Credit: Liam Daniel / Focus Features.

READ MORE: Mary Queen of Scots: 10 things you (probably) did not know

-The script was written by Beau Willimon who previously worked on House of Cards.

-The film is based on the biography Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart by Cambridge University historian John Guy.

-Guy said he was happy to see his work translated into the film given the understanding of the Mary story by Willimon.

-The film looks at the period from when Mary returned to Scotland from France in 1561 following the death of her first husband, Francis II.

READ MORE: Jewellery gifted by Mary Queen of Scots goes on show

-Actor Margot Robbie said she was first reluctant to play Elizabeth I as she felt she could not relate to a queenly figure.

-For her part, she spent three-and-a-half hours in prosthetics but said the experience fitted the ‘claustrophobia’ of her character and environment.

-Scenes from the film were shot in locations including Edinburgh, Glencoe and Seacliff Beach near North Berwick

-Ronan said the most challenging part of playing Mary I was riding her horse.

-David Tenant plays Protestant reformer John Knox. Martin Compston plays the Earl of Bothwell, Mary’s third husband.

-The costumes are designed by Alexandra Byrne, who won an Oscar for her work on Elizabeth: The Golden Age.

-The film has been criticised by some for depicting an entirely fictional meeting between Mary and her cousin, Elizabeth I.

-In reality, the pair never met although many letters were exchanged between the two.

-Rourke said the scene was in a “dramatic tradition” rather than rooted in historical fact, with many other versions of the Mary and Elizabeth story imagining such a meeting.

-John Guy, who advised the film production, said the controversial scene reflected the “mindset” that the two women wanted to meet.

-A meeting had been planned near Nottingham, but never went ahead due to conflict in France.