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December 12, 2018 — By

THE NEW YORK TIMES – When Josie Rourke made her pitch to direct “Mary Queen of Scots,” about the royal rivalry between the Scottish ruler Mary Stuart and the English Queen Elizabeth I, she suggested thinking of the movie as a renaissance version of “Heat.” Like that thriller, which cast Al Pacino and Robert De Niro on opposite sides of the law, “what the film needed was a really great scene for two women to play opposite each other,” Rourke said.

Much of “Mary Queen of Scots” (due Friday) builds to that moment when Mary and Elizabeth finally meet — a cinematic flourish, as historians believe the two communicated only by letter. The film’s scene is the sort of centerpiece that only works if you know the women playing it are formidably matched equals offscreen, too. In casting Margot Robbie as Elizabeth opposite Saoirse Ronan’s Mary, Rourke found a pair so well-matched that they even competed against each other for last season’s best actress Oscar.

Ronan was nominated then for “Lady Bird,” a coming-of-age tale that signaled the 24-year-old actress’s interest in playing complicated young women, while Robbie was in the mix for her performance in “I, Tonya” as the disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding, proving the 28-year-old actress could play roles quite unlike her breakout bombshell in “The Wolf of Wall Street.” The two women sit atop Hollywood’s young A-list, but Ronan and Robbie both bristle at traditional notions of how an actress — or, for that matter, a queen — is expected to wield that power.

(Read the rest of the interview at the source)

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Photoshoots & Portraits > Photoshoots in 2018 > #022 The New York Times

December 6, 2018 — By

USA TODAY – Margot Robbie is being royally honest.

The star of “Mary Queen of Scots” (in theaters Friday in New York and Los Angeles, expands to additional cities Dec. 21) wasn’t simply in the market for a juicy part when she signed on to play Queen Elizabeth I opposite Saoirse Ronan, who takes on the romantic (and doomed) Scottish monarch.

She was trying to add to her girl gang.

I love all the dudes I’ve worked with, they’re amazing. (But) in real life I hang out with my girlfriends all the time,” says Robbie, 28. “I have a girl gang in New York, a girl gang in London, a girl gang in Australia. That’s who I hang out with. I have a lot of guy friends, too, but there’s nothing quite like the girl gang. And I was like, I never get to act with girls onscreen.

The dueling queen drama was thus coronated. “Mary Queen of Scots” examines the fraught relationship between the dueling Scottish royal and her English cousin during their 16th-century reigns. The younger Mary, who herself had reasonable claim to the English throne, married and produced a male heir, posing a two-pronged threat to Elizabeth’s reign. She was also a Catholic slandered by claims of sexual promiscuity and forced to flee Scotland.

It was the Protestant virgin Queen Elizabeth, who refused to wed and be usurped by a power-hungry husband, who ultimately gave Mary safe haven in England, only to later order her beheading, convinced her cousin was plotting against her.

The gender politics of the time put enormous pressure on women, especially women in positions of power (such as) Mary and Elizabeth, to have a male heir, because being male trumped everything,” says Robbie, who plays the wigged queen as she’s stripped of her beauty by a serious bout of smallpox. “It didn’t matter if you were born rightfully to be a queen. … People wanted stability, and in their minds, that had to be a male on the throne.

Amusingly, Robbie and Ronan spent more time getting to know each other during last year’s awards run (Robbie was nominated for “I, Tonya,” while Ronan was up for “Lady Bird”) than they did on the “Queen of Scots” set, where the long-distance royals shared just one scene. (In real life, the two queens never met.)

“That’s true!” Ronan says by email. “Laura Dern actually hosted a dinner for all of the Oscar nominees last year that Margot and I were both at, and we had such a lovely time – we all shared embarrassing stories and a lot of laughs.”

Girl gangs will continue to take center stage when Robbie returns to playing Harley Quinn in “Birds of Prey,” the upcoming “Suicide Squad” spinoff that starts shooting in January. Robbie is executive producing, and under her watch, Harley will be joined by Huntress, Black Canary and Renee Montoya.

It’s the highest-profile project to date from LuckyChap Entertainment, Robbie’s production company with her husband, director Tom Ackerley, which focuses on promoting women in film “whether it’s female-driven stories or through female filmmakers,” she says.

For her first few years in Hollywood, Robbie felt the need to keep her mouth shut. “I just assumed that everyone knew stuff that I didn’t know, so therefore I shouldn’t have an opinion.” But then she realized “LA is literally the land of ‘fake it ‘til you make it.’ Everyone’s freaking out and winging it and pretending they’ve totally got it under control, and really they probably don’t. And then I thought, well, why not just give (producing) a try?

No one was pretending earlier this year when Robbie was vacationing in Morocco. She was with one of her girl gangs, and a friend suggested they try something rather mystic called a moon circle. “I rarely cry, I’m not really a wear-your-emotions-on-your-sleeve kind of girl,Robbie prefaces. But she says the oh-so-LA moon circle was different – and unexpectedly legit.

You make this circle and you pick cards, and it’s all about female power and finding power in unity and your sisterhood,” she says. “Honestly, kind of like the Friendsgiving idea where you go around and say what you’re thankful for, but a little more specifically angled to how sisterhood helps your life. And we were sobbing, me included, holding hands and just saying how much we love each other, essentially.

I tried to explain it to my husband when I got home, and he was just thoroughly perplexed,” she laughs. “And then not that long after, he said, ‘Can the boys do the moon circle too?’

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Photoshoots & Portraits > Photoshoots in 2018 > #021 USA Today


December 6, 2018 — By

On December 04, Margot Robbie was guest at ‘Good Morning America’, where she talked once again about the upcoming movie Mary Queen of Scots, her co-star Saoirse Ronan and the Harley Quinn movie.

Margot wore Isabel Marant lamia printed silk shirt and livia silk skirt, Isabel Marant archee suede and leather ankle boots, a Chanel bag and a pair of Louis Abel radix earrings in silver (always thanks to Dress Like Margot for the infos!)

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Public Appearances > Appearances from 2018 > Dec 04| Visits ‘Good Morning America’

Candids > Candids in 2018 > Dec 04 │Outside of Good Morning America in New York

December 6, 2018 — By

On December 03, Margot Robbie was guest The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where she talked about her upcoming movie Mary Queen of Scots but also the Harley Quinn one!

She looked gorgeous wearing a Brock Collection off-the-shoulder floral jacquard dress with Jimmy Choo Romy 100 shoes and Mizuki sea of beauty collection french wire white pearl fluid gold earrings (thanks to Dress Like Margot for the infos!)

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Public Appearances > Appearances from 2018 > Dec 03 │’The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon’ in New York City

December 1, 2018 — By

LOS ANGELES TIMES – From the moment she became queen of Scotland at 6 days old, the world never stopped scrutinizing Mary Stuart’s every move — or pitting her against Elizabeth I of England, the cousin whose throne she held a claim to by birth.

Executed at the age of 44, implicated in a plot to assassinate Elizabeth that historians debate to this day, it was her enemies who would write Mary’s legacy. So in the turbulent years of her controversial life, contemporaries wonder, who was the real woman known as Mary, Queen of Scots, and what led to her tragic undoing?

Put another way in director Josie Rourke’s forceful new biopic, “Mary Queen of Scots”: What if Mary and Elizabeth could’ve just sat down together and worked things out?

It’s a notion that occurred to Rourke, star Saoirse Ronan (“Lady Bird”), who plays the titular Scottish queen, and Margot Robbie (“I, Tonya”), who plays Mary’s cousin and political frenemy Queen Elizabeth I.

You don’t know how many times I thought, ‘If they just called out for coffee at the beginning of this movie … it would have been so different!’” said Robbie with a laugh, reuniting in Los Angeles with Rourke and Ronan for the first time since filming the period drama.

Cheekily, Ronan agreed. “Let’s just go to Starbucks,” she added, channeling Mary, Queen of Scots, by way of a flawless Valley girl accent. “Have a blueberry muffin, sort this … out …

Filmed on location 430 years after Mary’s grisly execution, “Mary Queen of Scots” brings the monarch’s story to life with a distinctly feminist aim, focusing on the defining years of the charismatic young Catholic queen with a fierce Ronan in the lead role.

Backed by the producers of the Oscar-winning “Elizabeth” and “Elizabeth: The Golden Age,” which starred Cate Blanchett, and scripted by “House of Cards” creator Beau Willimon, the Working Title and Focus Features film is part political thriller, part chamber drama. It marks the film directing debut of theater veteran Rourke, who also serves as the artistic director of London’s Donmar Warehouse theater.

In its humanistic portrait of the two women, the film suggests that the headstrong Mary and the fearful Elizabeth might have bolstered each other and even found solace in their shared challenges had politics, religion and male advisors on both sides not kept them at odds.

I think there was so much that they could have met in the middle on if they could have been allowed to sit down together,” said Ronan. “But of course, that was the reason they were kept apart. It served the men around them.

It was enough of a battle for Mary and Queen Elizabeth I, Europe’s only female rulers, to keep their thrones and their heads; to follow their hearts freely was another matter entirely. The constraints of Mary’s station and the machinations of men, Rourke’s biopic argues, meant her life was never entirely hers to live.

Marriage, babies, religion,” Ronan mused. “Everything was a pawn. Everything you wore. Everything you said.

The Irish Oscar winner had been attached to a Mary, Queen of Scots, project for years, drawn to the idea of playing a rare figure in cinema — a Celtic queen. But when she began diving into research with Rourke at the helm, using historian John Guy’s biopic “Queen of Scots: The True Life of Mary Stuart” as a guide, Ronan said, “it became incredibly current.

Married at 15 to the future King of France and widowed three years later, the film finds Mary, age 19, returning home to Scotland to reclaim her throne — only to be drawn into bad marriages, worse husbands and a never-ending series of conspiracies hatched by enemies intent on snatching her crown.

Meanwhile over in England, her cousin Elizabeth struggles with similar anxieties, under pressure to marry and bear a successor to her crown — but remains terrified of making any life choices that might lead to her own deposition.

Elizabeth’s very early life, living in fear of her life — this is what today would be considered, frankly, child abuse, also putting aside the fact that her father executed her mother,” said Rourke. “If she was alive now she would be in therapy for 14 hours a day.

The indivisibility between their sexual and romantic lives, their bodies and power … one of the things that stuns me is that even these two women, who are crown heads of Europe, have to fight for the right to make the choices they want to make with their bodies,” added Rourke.

At first, Robbie admits, she hesitated to take on the role of Elizabeth, whose personal insecurities lead her to tread cautiously with Mary, the only other reigning queen on the scene who by birth has a rival claim to England’s crown.

I probably wasn’t listening in school because I seemed to skip all the Renaissance period,” the Australian star joked. “Initially when Josie and I spoke about the project I said, ‘I think you should hire an actress who has a degree or a master’s in history, because it ain’t me.’

But,” the actress smiled, “she made a really good case.

Robbie signed on and began devouring historical material about Elizabeth and the Renaissance era. “In my head that’s like, gilded halls and old white-headed people, and it sounded really boring to me — and then Josie starts speaking about it, John Guy started telling me about it and it was just this explosion of color and life,” said Robbie.

There was the medieval period, grim and gray, and suddenly trade lines open up and there’s music and color and materials and food coming from all over the world — and there are teenagers running empires!Robbie added. “I just never thought about this time period like this.

It was paramount to Rourke that she cast her historical drama with diversity in mind, selecting Gemma Chan to play Elizabeth’s lady in waiting Bess of Hardwick, Ismael Cruz Cordova in the heartrending role of Mary’s private secretary David Rizzio, and Adrian Lester as England’s ambassador to Scotland, Lord Randolph.

This is partly because of my background in theater, but I was really clear with Working Title and Focus, and they were very supportive, that I was not going to direct an all-white period drama,” explained Rourke. “That’s it. It’s just not a thing I was going to do. It’s not a thing that I do in theater and I don’t want to do it in film.

Bess of Hardwick, as played by “Crazy Rich Asians” actress Chan, “is such a badass,” Robbie volunteered. “She should have her own movie. She had like six husbands who all mysteriously died, a.k.a. she probably murdered them and then she’d go and marry a richer one! We actually shot in one of her castles.

Look at Adrian Lester,” Rourke said of the Olivier Award-winning actor and OBE recipient. “He knows more about Shakespeare than most academics. It’s ridiculous that part of his heritage as an English classical actor doesn’t get translated to screen. Why miss out on that talent and the ability of those amazing actors to tell their stories?

Blending handsome production design with out-of-the-box execution — much of the film’s period dress was crafted from denim by costume designer Alexandra Byrne, who won the Oscar for 2007’s “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” — the film paints Mary as not only a confident and clever strategist but, socially speaking, radically inclusive.

As political walls close in around her she finds comfort and support in her loyal coterie of handmaidens and lone male confidant Rizzio, whose homosexuality Mary embraces even when he betrays her trust. They are, in today’s parlance, as Ronan put it, “her hashtag-squad.”

That’s not to say young Mary doesn’t have plenty of growing pains along the way. Brushing off pressure from her advisors to marry for political gain, she marries the first guy she falls for. Ultimately, Mary must navigate her own ego as it becomes clear that the only ally she might have in the world is Elizabeth.

You have to remember, she’s a girl. She’s a 19-year-old girl. She’s the same age as, like, Lorde!” Ronan exclaimed, comparing Mary, Queen of Scots, to the “Royals” singer. “It was really important to see these two women kind of go head to head, but it was also lovely to see them both with their own women in their private lives too.

While historians agree the two queens likely never met in person, even as Mary fled Scotland and sought refuge in England under her cousin’s protection, “Mary Queen of Scots” builds toward a cathartic construction that also marks Ronan and Robbie’s sole shared onscreen moment.

Even though they only meet once in the movie, they’re so present in each other’s imaginations,” said Rourke, who deftly directs a fictional covert countryside meeting between the two women whose juxtaposed lives intersect in the film’s most electric sequence.

To prepare for the meaty 12-page scene, the actresses avoided each other on set during filming so that their first moment laying eyes on the other would be captured on-screen.

“It was my first scene and Margot’s last scene, and it was the scene that I had drilled the most before we started rehearsals,” remembered Ronan. “We rehearsed it once for an hour before we started shooting, and it just felt right straight away. We knew what this was. I got to explore who Mary was, every aspect of her and every shade.

Likewise, doing that scene made the movie the experience it was for me, and the moments leading up to that define Elizabeth,” agreed Robbie. “I think she lacked the courage to stand up and do and say some of the things that Mary actually did … I think she both admired her for that, and was scared for her.

When they finished the scene, the two stood in a lengthy embrace. “I remember we said afterward, ‘I’ve had you in my head the whole time — you’ve been there with me,’” said Ronan, turning to Robbie. “And when I went off to do the rest of the film she was there, I had a little Margot on my shoulder.

Humanizing these legendary heads of state reminds us that figures like Mary were people too, they say. Monarchs — they’re just like us! That’s what I love about ‘Veep,’” raved Ronan of the HBO series. “It’s so genius because it’s like, ‘Oh, they are just people. And they are [messing] up every day. They are making mistakes all the time.’”

Mary and Elizabeth’s stories resonate even more strongly through a modern lens, added Ronan, pointing to how two of the most prominent women leading European politics today are scrutinized.

It’s such a timely story right now especially in the U.K. because you’ve got Nicola Sturgeon up north and you’ve got Theresa [May] down south,” she said. “You’ve got these two women that are very, very different standing for very different things, but they’re strong and they’re doing their thing. To have a film like this come out now is so perfect.

Telling the political and emotional truths of women like Mary and Elizabeth in ways never before tackled on stage or screen is entirely the point, suggested Rourke, who said her work in theater shares the same goal of bridging lessons of the past with issues of today.

I’ve done a ton of Shakespeare plays, and we would never look at an old play and not try and work out how that speaks to the present,” said Rourke. “And I think sometimes an old story is the best way to talk about what is happening right now.

Gallery Links

Photoshoots & Portraits > Photoshoots in 2018 > #019 Los Angeles Times

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