Saoirse Ronan to Play MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS

Irish actress to play the Scottish monarch.

Saoirse Ronan (‘The Host,’ ‘Hanna’) has closed a deal to play the title role in the Michael Hirst-scripted period drama ‘Mary Queen Of Scots.’

Crowned the Queen of Scotland before her first birthday, Mary later became Queen Consort when her first husband, Francis II, became King of France. After she was widowed she married her first cousin, Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, but their union was unhappy and Darnley was found murdered in his garden a couple of years after their wedding. When she quickly married James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, the man suspected of orchestrating Darnley’s killing, an uprising against the couple resulted in her imprisoned in Loch Leven Castle. Mary was forced to abdicate her throne to her year-old son, James, and after a failed attempt to wrest back the throne, she fled for the protection of her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I of England.

Claiming to be “the rightful queen” of England, a view embraced by Catholics, Mary soon ran afoul of her cousin and was perceived as a threat. Elizabeth had her confined to a number of castles and manor houses throughout England. After 18 years and 9 months in custody, Mary was tried and executed for her involvement in plots to assassinate Elizabeth.

Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner will produce through Working Title. The producers are out to directors and plan to shoot the drama next year.

Ronan will next be seen starring alongside Gemma Arterton in Neil Jordan’s highly-anticipated vampire thriller ‘Byzantium.’