Mary Queen of Scots

Margot Robbie and Saoirse Ronan's Game of Thrones

BY: Claire Connors

As the title implies, Mary Queen of Scots is the story of the other girl who would be Queen, Mary Stuart, great niece of Henry Vlll. The timing couldn’t be more perfect for a female driven power play such as this, especially under the direction of Josie Rourke, the creative mind and art director behind the Donmar Warehouse, the leading performance art theater in London.

The film takes place during a time when female rulers were few and far between. 16th Century Great Britain, however, had two strong, willful women playing their own version of Game of Thrones. And who else to step into these breath-defying costumes than two of our greatest performers today? Academy Award-nominee Margot Robbie (I, Tanyatakes on the role of a syphilis-riddened, pox-marked Elizabeth l, Henry’s Protestant daughter. And the gorgeous twice-Oscar nominated Irish actor, Saoirse Ronan (Ladybird), is the doomed Mary, the Catholic daughter of the King James V of Scotland.

This isn’t the first film version of this amazing battle for the crown. 1971’s Mary Queen of Scots starred Vanessa Redgrave as the beautiful and brilliant Mary, hellbent on ruling both hers and her cousin’s homeland. The great Glenda Jackson, fresh off her PBS series Elizabeth R, reprised her role of the conniving Queen Lizzie who had no intensions of giving up her crown, especially to her rival.

Both films take huge historic liberties to create the dramatic tension between the two women, mainly creating scenes where they meet. In reality, the two monarchs never set eyes on each other.

It’s a sad, torrid tale of two female rulers trying to run their courts while still being manipulated by the men surrounding them. Yes, there’s lot of sex: Elizabeth, determined not to marry, took on many lovers, including her favourite, Robert Dudley (Joe Alwyn). And Mary, whose attractive husband Lord Darnley (Jack Lowden) was murdered while she was six months pregnant, waxes on to her ladies in waiting about the pleasures of marriage. But it’s really all about the relationship between the two women who were equals above all men and should have co-ruled their countries together.

Mary Queen of Scots opens on December 7th.