Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie engage in some historical political intrigue in the trailer for Josie Rourke's royalty drama Mary Queen of Scots. Fresh off their Oscar nominated performances in Lady Bird and I, Tonya, Ronan and Robbie play Mary Stuart and Queen Elizabeth I in Rourke's feature, which explores what happened when Mary returned to her native Scotland to reclaim her birthright, pitting her against her cousin (and - gasp! - fellow unmarried ruler) Elizabeth in a battle for more than one throne.
Fittingly, this real-life Game of Thrones was adapted for the screen by House of Cards creator Beau Willimon, who drew from John Guy's biography Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart. The second non-theater film directed by Rourke (the Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse), Mary Queen of Scots boasts a supporting cast that includes David Tennant (costar of Rourke's Much Ado About Nothing) as Protestant cleric John Knox and Humans' Gemma Chan as Elizabeth Hardwick, who manages a balancing act as Elizabeth I's confidante and Mary's keeper.
The first Mary Queen of Scots trailer is now online (courtesy of Focus Features), and it offers a sneak peek at the back-stabbing and political maneuvering to come in Rourke's royal drama proper. It's certainly a handsome period film judging by the trailer, with sets designed by Gina Cromwell (Downton Abbey, Outlander) and costumes from Alexandra Byrne - who, appropriately enough, landed an Oscar nomination for her efforts on Cate Blanchett's Elizabeth before she won an Oscar for Elizabeth: The Golden Age, a sequel that also touched on its namesake's "war" with Mary.
Focus Features is releasing Mary Queen of Scots in theaters at the start of December, putting it in a strong position to pick up some momentum in the awards race to come. In fact, it's one of two prestigious memoirs that focus on real-life women who fought against a patriarchal system (and are directed by women, no less) that the studio has scheduled to arrive that month, along with Mimi Leder's Ruth Bader Ginsburg memoir On the Basis of Sex.
Neither Ronan nor Robbie has ever shied away from playing complicated protagonists across a variety of genre movies and Mary Queen of Scots ought to serve as yet another example of their talent, if nothing else. If the film is well-received, the pair may even wind up back in the race for Best Actress once again, when next year's Academy Awards rolls around. Either way, this royal drama is one to keep an eye out for, towards the end of this year.
Source: Focus Features