EXCLUSIVE: Working Title has attached Saoirse Ronan to play the title role in Mary Queen Of Scots, a Michael Hirst-scripted period drama. Working Title partners Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are already talking to directors, and aim to begin production next year.
Crowned the queen of Scotland before she was a year old, Mary added to that pedigree when her first husband became France’s king and she became queen consort in 1559. Despite that auspicious start, things didn’t go well from there. She later married her first cousin, a bad match that ended with his murder. When she quickly married the man suspected of orchestrating the killing, an uprising against the couple resulted in her imprisoned in Loch Leven Castle. Forced to abdicate her throne to her year-old son, she failed in an attempt to wrest back the throne and fled for the protection of her cousin, England’s Queen Elizabeth 1. If you’ve seen Elizabeth or any movie about that period, you know how well that worked out for Mary, who’d once claimed to be the rightful queen of England, a view embraced by Catholics. Once she was perceived as a threat by her cousin, Mary was confined and ultimately executed for complicity in a plot to assassinate Elizabeth.
It becomes another high profile project for Working Title, which wrapped the Joe Wright-directed Anna Karenina, with script by Tom Stoppard and Keira Knightley and Jude Law starring; and Les Miserables, the screen version of the worldwide musical hit directed by Tom Hooper and starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway.
Ronan, whose breakthrough came in her Oscar-nominated performance in Atonement, has wrapped the adaptation of Twilight Saga author Stephenie Meyer’s The Host, and Neil Jordan’s Byzantium, and she’s currently shooting the Kevin Macdonald-directed How I Live Now. She’s repped by CAA and McFarlane Chard.