What you may need to know:
1. Saoirse Ronan REALLY likes doing period dramas. After almost winning her Oscar in last year’s grungy drama Lady Bird, she’s back on home turf in the meaty role of Mary Stuart, 16th-century ruler of Scotland who briefly attempted to usurp Elizabeth I. She was first announced for the role way back in 2012.
3. As with that movie, you can see here her continuing effort to be “taken seriously as an actor” (I say that in all seriousness) through the use of makeup and prosthetics that play up Lizzy’s skin condition, (*googles*) which was a result of her contracting smallpox in 1562.
4. The screenplay is by Beau Willimon, creator of Netflix’s House of Cards. Of all the things that have been said about that show, I don’t recall it being singled out for its silky dialogue.
5. There’s Guy Pearce at 1.46, one of the most underrated and underused actors out there. Should be in more things, and better things. David Tennant is in there somewhere too, concealed beneath a great big bushy beard. Not sure if Lord Flashheart will make an appearance.
6. Directed by Josie Rourke, who is making her screen debut after a strong 20-year theatre career.
7. I have a vague recollection of seeing a drama about this historic rivalry before, but nothing about it other than that. Anyone?
8. This trailer walks a peculiar line between historical thriller and a starchy period drama, but seems to try a little hard on both counts without really taking off. Two proven terrific leads will make it worth a watch, but there’s always a risk that they’re better than the material.
Doug’s verdict: Lavish.
Release date: January tbc (in time for awards season)
Previously: The Envelope, Please