Star sees gen­der pol­i­tics in royal rum­ble

Mar­got Rob­bie talks about the pres­sure that women in power ex­pe­ri­ence

StarMetro Edmonton - - DAILY LIFE - An­drea Man­dell LIAM DANIEL/THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS thes­tar.com/movies

BEV­ERLY HILLS, CALIF.—Mar­got Rob­bie is be­ing roy­ally hon­est.

The star of Mary Queen of Scots (now in lim­ited re­lease) 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 du­elling queen drama was thus coro­nated. Mary Queen of Scots ex­am­ines the fraught re­la­tion­ship be­tween the du­elling 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 Guy Pearce stars as William Ce­cil, left, and Mar­got Rob­bie em­bod­ies Protes­tant vir­gin Queen El­iz­a­beth in Mary Queen of Scots.

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.”

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