Finding sisterhood amid the corsets in ‘Mary Queen of Scots’

LOS ANGELES – There’s nothing quite like a corset when it comes
to channeling female frustration.

So say Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie, who also had horses,
blustery winds, wigs and rain to deal with when filming the
royal historical movie “Mary Queen of Scots,” out in US movie
theaters on Friday.

Yet the 2 actresses said they welcomed the battles with the
elements when making the movie about the true-life rivalry
between 16th century Queen Elizabeth I of England and her
distant cousin Mary Stuart.

“The costumes were incredibly made. Those corsets – you feel
like you can’t breath sometimes. It’s very helpful when you are
feeling frustrated with your male advisers, to feel that
shortness of breath,” said Robbie, who plays Elizabeth.

“Mary Queen of Scots” has sisterhood and frustration aplenty as
the 2 young royals wrestle with politics, plots, power, love,
and their scheming male advisers.

It is one of several movies winning attention as Hollywood’s
awards season swings into gear that is headlined by 2 or more
women. It is also directed by a woman – Britain’s Josie Rourke
but was made before the #MeToo movement fueled demands for more
female voices in Hollywood.

Ronan, playing the headstrong Mary who claimed both the
Scottish and English thrones some 450 years ago, said she loved
filming outdoors.

“I loved being on a horse. When you are having to deal with the
elements and a corseted costume and animals, it informs the
performance,” the actress said.

Despite feeling a connection because of their positions of
female power, the 2 royals were lifelong rivals.

“Elizabeth gave England the longest period of peace…but I
think as a person, she lost everything – her womanhood, her
humanity,” said Robbie. “I think she so badly wished she could
behave the way Mary did sometimes.”

The film contains only one (imagined) scene when they meet, and
Mary begs Elizabeth for her help and protection.

Robbie said that after the 2 actresses deliberately kept
themselves apart during weeks of shooting, the scene was

“To see Mary standing there, young and fierce and asking for
help and knowing I wasn’t going to give it, was
heart-breaking,” she said. “I was sobbing. It was a really,
really emotional moment for me.”

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