A pair of Academy Award-nominated actors become royal rivals in Mary Queen of Scots, starring Saoirse Ronan as French queen Mary Stuart and Margot Robbie as Scottish and English ruler Elizabeth I. The period drama from director Josie Rourke (artistic director of London’s Donmar Warehouse) and writer Beau Willimon (The Ides of March, House of Cards) is based on John Guy biography Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart.
Ronan’s charismatic French ruler, widowed at 18, chooses not to remarry, resolving instead to return to her native Scotland and reclaim the throne that is rightfully hers, thereby testing her amicable family ties to her cousin Elizabeth I—a relationship, not unlike Scotland and England’s, that resembles sisterhood, a bone-deep connection that is nonetheless fraught. Two women ruling a society made for men, their friendship blossoms into a rivalry with the power to decide the fates of nations, leading to a conflict that will change the shape of history itself.
There’s smart money on Mary Queen of Scots as a name to know come awards season—that was clear even before the arrival of today’s transportive trailer, which reveals the film’s artful cinematography, its impeccable costuming and makeup, and most importantly, the powerful performances of its dueling leads. Ronan’s Mary Stuart exudes earnest, yet unafraid passion, while Robbie’s steely and regal Elizabeth allows no doubt that she’s a force to be reckoned with.
Mary Queen of Scots also stars David Tennant, Guy Pearce, Jack Lowden, Joe Alwyn, Gemma Chan, Martin Compston, Ismael Cordova, Brendan Coyle, Ian Hart, Adrian Lester and James McArdle. The film opens in select theaters on Dec. 7. See the first trailer below.