Mary Queen of Scots
Bow To No One
Directed By
Produced By
Tim Bevan
Eric Fellner
Debra Hayward
Screenplay By
Beau Willimon
Based on
Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart
by John Guy
Edited By
Chris Dickens
John Mathieson
Working Title Films
Focus Features
Perfect World Pictures
Distributed By
Focus Features (United States)
Universal Pictures (International)
Release Date
15 November, 2018 (AFI)
December 7, 2018 (United States)
January 18, 2019 (United Kingdom)
125 minutes
$25 million

Mary Queen of Scots is a 2018 historical drama film directed by Josie Rourke and written by Beau Willimon, based on John Guy's biography Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart. The film stars Saoirse Ronan as the eponymous character and Margot Robbie as her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I, and chronicles the 1569 conflict between their two countries. Jack Lowden, Joe Alwyn, David Tennant, and Guy Pearce also star.

Mary Queen of Scots had its world premiere on closing night of AFI Fest on 15 November 2018, and is scheduled to be released in the United States on 7 December 2018, and in the United Kingdom on 18 January 2019. The film received generally positive reviews, with praise for the performances and costumes but criticism towards the script and several historical inaccuracies.


Mary Queen of Scots explores the turbulent life of the charismatic Mary Stuart. 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. 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.


  • Saoirse Ronan as Mary, Queen of Scots, the Queen of Scotland and Elizabeth's cousin.
  • Margot Robbie as Queen Elizabeth I, Mary, Queen of Scots' cousin and the Queen of England and Ireland.
  • Jack Lowden as Lord Darnley, Mary, Queen of Scots' second husband.
  • Joe Alwyn as Robert Dudley, Queen Elizabeth's counselor and lover.
  • David Tennant as John Knox, a Protestant cleric.
  • Guy Pearce as William Cecil, advisor to Queen Elizabeth.
  • Gemma Chan as Elizabeth Hardwick, a friend and confidante of Elizabeth I and keeper of Mary, Queen of Scots.
  • Martin Compston as Earl of Bothwell, Mary, Queen of Scots' third husband.
  • Ismael Cruz Córdova as David Rizzio, Mary's close friend and confidant.
  • Brendan Coyle as Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox, father of Lord Darnley
  • Ian Hart
  • Adrian Lester
  • James McArdle as the Earl of Moray, Regent of Scotland
  • Maria-Victoria Dragus as Mary Fleming, a Scottish noblewoman, childhood friend and half-first cousin of Mary, Queen of Scots.
  • Eileen O’Higgins as Mary Beaton, attendant of Mary, Queen of Scots
  • Alex Beckett as Walter Mildmay, English Chancellor of the Exchequer


The film was originally planned to be a Scarlett Johansson vehicle, scheduled to begin shooting in the summer of 2007 on a $25–30 million budget. After Johansson dropped out, the film languished in development hell for several years before on 9 August 2012, it was announced that Saoirse Ronan would play the title role of Mary Stuart. On 21 April 2017, Margot Robbie was cast to play Queen Elizabeth I, and that the film was scheduled to commence principal photography in August 2017. The film based on John Guy's biography My Heart Is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots would be produced by Working Title's Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, and Debra Hayward. Josie Rourke was announced to direct the film from an adapted screenplay by Beau Willimon. On 13 June 2017, Jack Lowden was announced to play Lord Darnley, while Joe Alwyn was announced to play Robert Dudley. On 22 June 2017, it was reported that Martin Compston was cast in the film to play James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell, the third husband of Stuart. On 23 June 2017, German-Romanian actress Maria-Victoria Dragus had also joined the cast to play Scottish noblewoman and childhood friend of Stuart, Mary Fleming, marking her English-language debut. On 17 August 2017, Brendan Coyle, David Tennant, and Guy Pearce joined the cast. On 18 August 2017, Gemma Chan joined the cast. On 22 August 2017, Ismael Cruz Córdova was cast to play David Rizzio, Mary's close friend and confidant.

Focus Features will handle the domestic rights while Universal Pictures will handle the international distribution. The crew on the film includes Academy Award winners costume designer Alexandra Byrne, hair and make-up designer Jenny Shircore and editor Chris Dickens; Emmy Award-winning production designer James Merifield; and BAFTA Award-winning cinematographer John Mathieson.


Principal photography began on 17 August 2017, in various locations around the United Kingdom, including Scotland.


It had its world premiere at the closing night gala of AFI Fest on 15 November 2018 in Los Angeles, CA. The film is scheduled to be released in the United States on 7 December 2018, and in the United Kingdom on 18 January 2019.

Critical response

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 82% based on 34 reviews, with an average rating of 7.2/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Mary Queen of Scots delivers smartly crafted period political thrills while offering a brilliant showcase for the talents of its well-matched leads." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 71 out of 100, based on 13 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result
Satellite Awards February 17, 2019 Best Motion Picture - Drama Results pending
Best Supporting Actress Margot Robbie Results pending
Best Costume Design Alexandra Byrne Results pending

External links

Mary Queen of Scots on IMDb




MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS - Official Trailer HD - In Theaters December

Official Trailer

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