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.
-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.
-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.
-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.