07/12/2018
Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

History Scotland's exclusive interview with Mary Queen of Scots director Josie Rourke

53a0f371-9efd-41bd-b2ab-59fc724f0b38

Josie Rourke, director of Mary Queen of Scots, talks to History Scotland about the challenges of portraying Mary’s reign on screen.

History Scotland's new Mary Queen of Scots souvenir magazine contains exclusive interviews with Josie Rourke, Dr John Guy (whose books the movie is based upon) and actress Eileen O'Higgins, who plays Mary Beaton.

Here, Josie talks to us about the challenges in portraying Mary's on-screen journey from beautiful young queen to middle-aged prisoner of Elizabeth I of England: 'The film follows the years of Mary’s life from her return to Scotland up to the battle of Langside. There is then an imagined scene, based on the two queens' correspondence, in which Mary meets her cousin secretly to ask Elizabeth for help.

'This imagined scene is the heart of the film. Mary Queen of Scots begins with Mary’s execution, and flashes back in time to tell its story. We see this scene twice, at the beginning and end of the film. At the beginning of the film, we see the backs of Elizabeth and Mary. At the end of the film, we see their faces, and hear Elizabeth speaking in her mind, writing a letter she cannot send, to her cousin. In that imagined letter, she tells us that "in her mind’s eye" she will always see Mary as the young woman, whose portrait she first looked upon over twenty years ago.

'So, by this device, we see Elizabeth age into her power, and Mary remains the young woman we’ve followed through the film. Beau Willimon [who
wrote the screenplay] and I looked for ways to reflect how these two women were immortalised by their choices and their fates.'

Read more of the interview, including the reasons behind Josie's decision to portray a real-life meeting between the two queens, in History Scotland's 'Mary Queen of Scots' magazine.

(image copyright Focus Features, all rights reserved)

QUICK LINK: Actress Eileen O'Higgins on filming her favourite scene from the movie

Mary Queen of Scots magazine

Back to "Mary Queen of Scots" Category

07/12/2018 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

Geologist John Playfair died - On this day in Scottish history

On 20 July 1819, Scottish geologist John Playfair died. ...


Scottish author A J Cronin was born - On this day in history

Scottish author A J Cronin was born on 19 July 1896. ...


Was Aberdeen the birthplace of Scotch whisky? Exciting new 16th-century find

Historians have uncovered the earliest ever reference to a still for distilling Scotch whisky which suggests ...


Actor John Stuart was born - On this day in history

Scottish actor John Stuart was born on 18 July 1898. ...


Other Articles

17th-century gold armorial ring found at Loch Lomond to go to auction

A 17th-century gold armorial ring found by a metal detectorist who has also discovered a rare Richard III of ...


Large number of finds at battle of Waterloo site in dig led by Professor Tony Pollard, University of Glasgow

A team working at the Waterloo battlefield in Belgium have uncovered uniform buttons from the Scots Guards ...


Economist Adam Smith died - On this day in history

Scottish economist Adam Smith died on 17 July 1790. ...


105 Shetland fishermen were lost in the Bad Day - On this day in history

On 16 July 1832 over 100 Shetland fishermen were killed in a storm. ...