As if my character was having some kind of spiritual fit
many times, I’d started out quite stony faced, to full fervour.”
Karen even ended up with additional responsibilities.
She said: “It’s such a huge movie, and they have to do everything from all the different angles. I had to do some accent coaching, too, in the end. I think I got to take 12 then I told the assistant director that I thought I maybe only had a couple more takes of me shouting with that kind of fervour. But we ended up doing it about 100 times.
“But I wasn’t complaining, it was a fantastic experience.”
Karen’s accent coaching involved her directing the baying mob in the correct pronunciation of a damning term for a female, not suitable for a family newspaper.
She said: “The voice There have been literally hundreds of plays, novels and even operas about her. It’s such a tragic story.
“She belongs as much to myth as history. She’s important to us on a cultural level. She’s almost akin to a character like Frankenstein’s monster, she exists on that level.”
Mary Queen of Scots is directed by Josie Rourke in her first film and, according to Liz, women can bring a fresh perspective to tales we may think we know.
“In general, I think women dramatists are more interested in internal conflicts as much as they are about characters in conflict with each other,” she says.
“For many female writers, they show women having arguments with themselves, and that for me could reflect the lack of power women have in real life.
“It shows maybe how women are more likely to doubt themselves, and doubting their right to even speak up for themselves.
“And that has been seen with what’s been going on in Hollywood recently – women doubted they even had the right to speak out against sexual predators.”
Whereas male audiences were once sceptical of films starring women, Liz says that outdated attitude is beginning to be left behind. “Nowadays men are more interested in their feminine side,” she explained. “That’s happened during my lifetime.
“Men are less threatened by women like Mary and Elizabeth, whereas before they were a bit afraid. We’re all interested in stories that appeal to
bits of ourselves.” coach came into my trailer and asked me to coach the 500 extras how to shout the line in a Scottish dialect.”
Karen landed the credited part after building up her acting chops while touring a trilogy of Shakespeare plays, both at London’s prestigious Donmar Warehouse and then in New York at St Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn.
“The response was incredible,” she said.
“To stand on a stage and have Meryl Streep applaud you, I was thinking, ‘I’m quite chuffed with this.’”
Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie attend the world premiere of Mary Queen of Scots Author Liz Lochhead