You know her as Harley — but soon she could be Her Majesty.
One of the most in-demand actresses in Hollywood today, Margot Robbie, may be about to take on a whole new challenge. In Suicide Squad, she took the DCEU by storm as the greatest love of the Clown Prince of Crime — but now she's set her sights on a throne far greater than that of the Gotham underworld. According to Entertainment Weekly, Margot Robbie is currently in talks to play the role of Queen Elizabeth in Josie Rourke's Mary Queen of Scots.
Time For Another Starring Role
One of the most tumultuous times in British history, the 1500s saw a desperate battle for the throne of England. These were the days when the royal family had nigh-on unlimited power. Henry VIII had schismed with the Catholic Church over divorce, creating a deep — and bloody — divide between Catholics and Protestants. The country was torn down the middle, with the Tudor and Stuart families both seeking the throne. Trust me, Game of Thrones has nothing on British history!
Saoirse Ronan has been cast for the title role, but it seems Margot Robbie will be her opposite number: Queen Elizabeth. Elizabeth is a legendary figure in British history, ruling at a time of great change for the nation; this was the age of William Shakespeare and explorer Sir Francis Drake. But her reign was a difficult one, with the French allying with her rival Mary, and fanning the bitter relationship between Scotland and England.
A Story That Truly Matters
This is probably one of the most famous tales in British history, with Vanessa Redgrave and Glenda Jackson taking on the main roles in the 1971 classic Mary, Queen of Scots. Michael Hirst, director of this latest film, is no stranger to the era; he won an Oscar for his earlier film, Elizabeth, and is no doubt hoping to repeat the experience. He has a penchant for romanticizing the tale in just such a way as to reach the greatest audience, as proven by Showtime's The Tudors.
In Britain, Mary and Elizabeth are polarizing figures. As David Forsyth, senior curator at National Museum Scotland, observed:
"In Britain, she's divisive. Mary continues to have her supporters and detractors who take up quite polar positions. Because there are important episodes where the historical evidence is deliberately tampered with, missing or lost, people can weave their own narratives. In Europe she's seen as possibly a Catholic martyr."
It's a perfect time to tell this 400-year-old tale. In the contemporary United Kingdom, the vote to leave the European Union has created fresh new divisions. These are being capitalized on by a resurgent Scottish Nationalist Party, making that cultural and historic gulf between Scotland and England all the more visible. This film may be casting back to a story centuries old, but many of its themes resonate even to the present day.
What's more, it seems as though Michael Hirst is aiming to gather a skilled cast. Saorise Ronan shocked the world in her debut film Atonement, aged only 13 at the time. She's proven skilled at complex, multi-layered characters, and is sure to flourish as she portrays the troubled Queen of Scots. Meanwhile, Margot Robbie is one of Hollywood's current A-listers, again due to the breadth of her range and her ability to handle complex characterization. If Robbie does indeed sign up for #MaryQueenOfScots, then I'll be very surprised if we're not in for a classic.
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One thing's for sure: Margot Robbie has a remarkable range. From playing Jane in The Legend of Tarzan to starring as Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad, the actress is determined to keep herself busy. Now, it seems, she may well be set to join an elite group — and literally become Hollywood royalty.