Ladybird star Saoirse Ronan is the latest actress to take on a period drama detailing the British monarchy and will appear as Mary, Queen of Scots in the upcoming self-titled film due out on Friday (18 Jan). The Oscar-nominated actress stars opposite Margot Robbie - who plays Elizabeth I - and has revealed the pair were kept apart so they could experience real shock at each other's radical transformations.

Saoirse RonanSaoirse Ronan is taking on the role of Mary, Queen of Scots

In the film Ronan plays the titular Mary, who is Queen of France at 16 and widowed at 18. She defies pressure to remarry; instead, returning to her native Scotland to reclaim her rightful throne.

However, Scotland and England fall under the rule of her cousin Elizabeth I - played by Robbie.

Ronan - who revealed she was just 18 herself when she signed for the role but didn't start filming until 23 because of all the historical research the film took - said both her and Robbie had asked for the separation.

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She said: "We asked for it [the separation], it was a cool experiment to stay apart, we didn't know what the other person looked like... we were revealed to each other the shock of seeing the visual of what they looked like.

"How we felt as actors after three weeks of being kept apart was how Mary and Elizabeth would have felt, it gave us so much adrenaline and emotion.

"I think sometimes you just have to take artistic license and go... the audience watched a film for an hour, they’ve followed these two women, you need that pay off...

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"Elizabeth, is this shell of her former self - she’s completely not human, Mary is bloody and dirty, it’s two women meeting who have been pushed to the very limit."


Talking about Mary, she said: "She was a great ruler, time in Scotland, she was this savvy politician."

She added that Elizabeth I and Mary never met, saying: "They could have got on so well."