Saoirse Ronan has been on the hunt for an Oscar about as long as Kate Winslet was back when she gained notoriety for appearing in awards-bait. We might suggest that the younger actor has had the stronger and more varied career, but we don’t want to die at the hands of rabid Titanic fans. Anyways, her latest project, Mary Queen of Scots saw its first trailer release on Wednesday night, and shows Ronan as the almost-monarch going up against Elizabeth 1, as played here by Margot Robbie.
We heard that the working title for this movie was Mary v. Elizabeth: Dawn of Royalty, and we’ve got to say that the first trailer seems to confirm that. Perhaps they’ll find out that they both have aunts named Anne or something (we’re joking, y’all). It’s a fine enough trailer, especially if you enjoy Scottish accents. Take a look:
Well, this looks like your garden-variety prestige picture, so there’s really not that much to say about it. Both Robbie and Ronan are excellent actors, and we’re sure it’ll be fine, no matter what. So, let’s spend the last little bit of this news piece highlighting a cool piece of cinema history: Albert Clark’s 1895 short film The Execution of Mary Queen of Scots, which you might have seen in any number of History Channel documentaries about the monarch and the end of her life. It features one of the first edits in all of film, meant to disguise the moment when the actor is replaced by a mannequin right before she’s beheaded, and frankly, it’s still excellently done. It’s barely 15 seconds long, but it gets to the heart of this matter in a swell fashion:
There’s something to be said for the narrative expediency of the early cinema, eh? Anyways, here’s a synopsis:
“Mary Queen of Scots” explores the turbulent life of the charismatic Mary Stuart (Ronan). Queen of France at 16 and widowed at 18, Mary defies pressure to remarry. Instead, she returns to her native Scotland to reclaim her rightful throne. But Scotland and England fall under the rule of the compelling Elizabeth I (Robbie). Each young Queen beholds her “sister” in fear and fascination. Rivals in power and in love, and female regents in a masculine world, the two must decide how to play the game of marriage versus independence. Determined to rule as much more than a figurehead, Mary asserts her claim to the English throne, threatening Elizabeth’s sovereignty. Betrayal, rebellion, and conspiracies within each court imperil both thrones — and change the course of history.”
Mary Queen of Scots hits theaters on December 7.
Featured image by Liam Daniel via Focus Features.