There’s some­thing about Mary… and the tourism boost her film will cre­ate

The Herald - - NEWS - PHIL MILLER ARTS COR­RE­SPON­DENT

SHE is one of the most fa­mous monar­chs in his­tory, whose life story re­mains a source of fas­ci­na­tion more than 400 years after her grue­some death.

Now that en­dur­ing in­ter­est in Mary, Queen of Scots, is set to bring a tourism boost to these shores.

A new movie about her life is to have its Scot­tish pre­miere in Ed­in­burgh tonight.

First Min­is­ter Ni­cola Stur­geon, will hold a re­cep­tion for the mak­ers of Mary Queen of Scots, and its star per­form­ers at Ed­in­burgh Cas­tle be­fore the film is screened.

And she has hailed tonight’s screen­ing as “an­other op­por­tu­nity to show­case Scot­land as a world-class lo­ca­tion for pro­duc­tions”.

Ms Stur­geon said: “Se­cur­ing film and TV pro­duc­tions of­fers sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fits to the Scot­tish econ­omy and job op­por­tu­ni­ties for our skilled crew.

“It’s good for tourism too as our stun­ning scenery fea­tures on screen.

“Through Screen Scot­land, we are in­creas­ing sup­port for the sec­tor and seiz­ing emerg­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to en­sure the in­dus­try in Scot­land con­tin­ues to go from strength to strength.”

Mary Queen of Scots, stars Saoirse Ro­nan as the monarch who was forced to ab­di­cate in favour of her one-year-old son James after a tu­mul­tuous reign last­ing just six years.

After an un­suc­cess­ful at­tempt to re­gain the throne, Mary fled to Eng­land, seek­ing the pro­tec­tion of her cousin, Queen El­iz­abeth.

Mary had once claimed El­iz­abeth’s throne as her own and was con­sid­ered the le­git­i­mate sov­er­eign by many English Catholics. How­ever, the Scots queen was held in cap­tiv­ity for 18 years be­fore she was ex­e­cuted at Fother­ing­hay Cas­tle in 1587, at the age of 44.

In the film, Mar­got Rob­bie takes on the role of Queen El­iz­abeth.

Di­rected by Josie Rourke, it also stars Jack Low­den, David Ten­nant, Martin Comp­ston and James Mcar­dle.

It was shot on a se­ries of lo­ca­tions across Scot­land, in­clud­ing Strath­don, Glen­coe, Glen Feshie, Black­ness Cas­tle and Sea­cliff, East Loth­ian.

The film’s Scot­tish pre­miere fol­lows Rob­bie’s Bafta nom­i­na­tion for Best Sup­port­ing Ac­tress in her role as El­iz­abeth, along­side Alexan­dra Byrne for Best Cos­tume De­sign and Jenny Shir­core for Best Make Up/hair.

There have been some sig­nif­i­cant devel­op­ments in the Scot­tish movie world in re­cent months.

Screen Scot­land, the new movie body, has backed a Leith ware­house as the lo­ca­tion for a po­ten­tial in­ter­na­tional film stu­dio com­plex – a busi­ness propo­si­tion which is now open to ten­der.

Mean­while, PSL Land Ltd has un­veiled a new lo­ca­tion for its own, pri­vately-funded film stu­dio propo­si­tion, and lodged a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion with Mid­loth­ian Coun­cil.

Fiona Hys­lop, the Cul­ture Sec­re­tary, has al­ready said she hopes the new film about Mary, Queen of Scots, will boost tourism to Scot­land.

It fol­lows an­other ma­jor Scot­tish his­tor­i­cal epic, Out­law King, about Robert the Bruce, which was also filmed in Scot­land.

Is­abel Davis, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor at Screen Scot­land, said: “We warmly an­tic­i­pate the pre­miere and re­lease of Mary Queen of Scots, in its his­toric home ter­ri­tory.

“Josie Rourke’s il­lu­mi­nat­ing por­trait of Mary and the swirl of po­lit­i­cal forces that de­ter­mined her fate is dra­mat­i­cally set off by Scot­land’s spec­tac­u­lar lo­ca­tions, pro­vid­ing UK au­di­ences with a richly ren­dered ac­count of our shared his­tory.”

Jenni Steele, Film and Cre­ative In­dus­tries Man­ager at Visits­cot­land, said: “Scot­land’s his­tory and cul­ture is a huge driver for vis­i­tors from across the globe, with the life of Mary, Queen of Scots, a fas­ci­nat­ing part of that.

“With its mix of po­lit­i­cal in­trigue and stun­ning im­agery of Scot­land, Mary Queen of Scots could of­fer fur­ther in­spi­ra­tion for vis­i­tors to ex­plore the coun­try and the many real his­tor­i­cal lo­ca­tions linked to the 16th-cen­tury monarch.”

With its mix of po­lit­i­cal in­trigue and stun­ning im­agery of Scot­land, Mary Queen of Scots could of­fer fur­ther in­spi­ra­tion for vis­i­tors to ex­plore the coun­try

„ Saoirse Ro­nan plays the ill-fated 16th-cen­tury monarch Mary, Queen of Scots.

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