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Susanne Bier To Direct Saoirse Ronan In 'Mary Queen Of Scots'

by Kevin Jagernauth
August 13, 2013 6:07 PM
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While we continue to wait for Susanne Bier's "Serena" — you remember, the Depression-era drama starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper that was shot forever ago and it is still under wraps — it looks like the director is gearing up yet another project. You may recall that over a year ago it was announced that Saoirse Ronan was going to star in "Mary Queen Of Scots" (not to be confused with the film hitting TIFF)...and then not much else was heard. Well it looks like it has found a helmer in Bier.

The director is in talks to direct the flick, with Penelope Skinner ("How I Live Now") working on the script with the previously announced Michael Hirst ("Elizabeth"). Ronan will obviously take the juicy leading part, the queen of Scotland, who married a first cousin, who wound up being murdered, then hooked up with the guy accused of setting up the killing, leading to an an uprising and imprisonment in Loch Leven Castle. Mary also attempted to assassinate Queen Elizabeth, leading to her execution. So, definitely lots to dive into for director and star alike.

No word yet on when this might shoot, but the wheels seem to be turning once again on this one, so we'll keep an ear and eye out. Also brewing for Bier is a re-team with Lawrence on "The Rules Of Inheritance" and an adaptation of "This Beautiful Life."  [Screen Daily]

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More: Mary Queen Of Scots, Susanne Bier

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  • Dave | September 12, 2013 5:45 PMReply

    Jennifer Lawrence is overrated. Saoirse Ronan and Shailene Woodley are ahead of her in the acting department.

  • Farah X | August 17, 2013 1:40 PMReply

    Jennifer Lawrence actually died in 2o11 in a boating accident and the new actress receiving all this acclaim is a clone. Bier is one of the few people who has become intimately close with this new clone.

  • Mark | August 15, 2013 10:03 PMReply

    Saoirse's comments about Jennifer Lawrence (and Emma Stone) >
    "It’s an interesting time to be a young actress, she says. ‘A lot of the films that are being released right now are centred on young women and strong women. I’d love to work with Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone because they are fantastic. I think it is a good time to be in the company of other people who don’t want to sexualise themselves or objectify themselves."

    Hmmmm...sounds like at least SHE"S a fan of Jennifer's.

  • Jen | August 15, 2013 6:31 AMReply

    okay why are we even using the term 'blowhard'

  • Ova | August 15, 2013 5:59 AMReply

    Wow, look at the Lawrence blowhards here. Pot. Kettle. Black.

    Her Oscar win is a joke. To perform that badly and still win an Oscar at that age must mean she's paid her dues. That means sexual favors. I've lived the life there, that's how things are run over there. Every mediocre actress could have done the same delivery. Sorry to burst your bubble folks. That bikini magazine spread prior was a dead give away.

    Can't say I've seen Ronan do anything raunchy like that. She doesn't need it, she's talented enough but Hollywood will find a way to corrupt her too.

  • Bert | August 17, 2013 9:56 AM

    Ova, You must have a very sad, sick life that you need to spread lies and rumors about a young woman who is both respected and loved by peers and critics alike, and who, by all accounts is one of the nicest people in a very tough industry. As a psychologist, I must ask, have you sought therapy?

  • Tony | August 16, 2013 1:33 AM

    You must've not read all the Saoirse blowhard comments.

  • Tony | August 15, 2013 3:36 AMReply

    Like I said, look at all these Ronan blowhards. The article wasn't even comparing the two actresses, but Ronan fans had to make it into an argument. For this, I hope How I Live Now is met with mixed reviews just to piss all you blowhards.

  • Lea | August 14, 2013 10:36 PMReply

    The amount of ignorance in this post... You people don't even bother checking your facts.

  • Jim | August 14, 2013 10:47 PM

    I'm game. What facts?

  • Steve | August 14, 2013 10:04 PMReply

    @Amanda First of all, you need to get your facts straight. You trash How I Live Now, but the film won't officially screen until its world debut next month at TIFF. And BTW, the only reactions I've read from those who have seen advanced screenings have been tremendously positive. A woman who writes for The Guardian and has contributed to The New York Times said the film was brilliant and Saoirse was "phenomenal."

    She was by far the best thing about The Host, and especially in the cave section, her screen presence was quite powerful, and she excelled despite being saddled with some truly silly dialogue and a poorly conceived voice-over technique. And I guess you've forgotten JL's performance in X-Men.

    V&D was a niche art-house film in which the two female characters were presented with little expository background, but they both did well with the roles in what was a strange mash-up of a film.

    Your description of her acting is frankly ludicrous. Simply put: she is the best film actress of her generation. Being about four years younger than JL, she hasn't had the opportunity to play some of the better roles available to actresses who're a little older. However, I've seen all her films, and her natural acting ability is off the charts. And no one else has her unusual almost otherworldly screen presence.

  • Jacque | August 15, 2013 3:37 AM

    >>Simply put: she is the best film actress of her generation"

    I'm not sure if that's an achievement or not granted how casting is done.

  • ONELOVE | August 14, 2013 6:34 PMReply

    Winston, you don't belong here let the adults talk.

  • Jacque | August 15, 2013 3:39 AM

    If you're going to call out Winston, then you should probably call out the rest because their acting equally as childish.

  • Manny | August 14, 2013 6:30 PMReply

    Whoa, easy here folks. Both are good actresses. People must realize Ronan doesn't live in Hollywood, she does everything from her home base in Ireland and that includes auditioning where Lawrence lives in Hollywood like almost every other actress. It's very if not extremely impressive to score such high caliber roles and not even use her own accent in a movie to date.

    It might be better for her to move to Hollywood and have equal opportunities as Lawrence. The Hunger Games would have been a success with any other actress at the helm, the books are a world wide phenomenon. She was very good in Winter's Bone and the nod was deserved.

    To anyone who claims either one is mediocre or can't act is just lashing out. Fanboys are pathetic. Anyone who can judge objectively can see both are talented.

  • Jacque | August 16, 2013 1:26 AM

    @ Jackie:

    Considering, I think, that both don't read for the same roles due to age what you say is inaccurate. If you want a better comparison, then compare Emma Watson vs JLaw. I doubt anyone Saoire's age was actually considered for American Hustle or Serena or SLP.

    If you want a potential Oscar bait role, then Mary Queen of Scot may be one of them.

    Again, let's practice some common sense on both sides. It'll help move the discussion.

  • Jackie L | August 15, 2013 6:51 AM


    Jennifer gets the Oscar-baity roles, while Saoirse does not.

  • Jacque | August 15, 2013 3:43 AM

    >>It's very if not extremely impressive to score such high caliber roles and not even use her own accent in a movie to date.

    Probably because her past roles, to date, haven't called for her natural Irish accent.

    >>It might be better for her to move to Hollywood and have equal opportunities as Lawrence.

    That doesn't make any sense due to what you said about her getting high caliber roles despite living in Ireland.

    Can't fanboys practice common sense around here?

  • Narkel | August 14, 2013 7:26 PM

    Great comment Manny, especially what you said about Ronan living in Ireland. Overall, I agree with you. Both talented in their own unique ways.

  • Ted | August 14, 2013 6:18 PMReply


    Nuff said.

  • Kat | August 14, 2013 6:16 PMReply


    You say Ronan is good and then you bad mouth her even to the level of

    You even name movies that haven't even come out yet which meams you haven't even watched them. I've never seen her overact in anything, not her style at all. I for one am looking forward to her future, with that much talent lots of awards are waiting for her and more importantly riveting performances.

    I see Winston fell for the PR machine.

  • Ellie | August 14, 2013 5:31 PMReply

    J-Law is a decent actress, but miscast as Katniss in my opinion. She's too old and too nourished for the part. She doesn't look hungry at all. Saoirse would have been a better fit, she lean and very athletic. She's a good actress, she's great in what I've seen from her up to now. She's already displayed much more range and versatility compared to J-Law so it's kinda odd Jennifer already won an Oscar for a role that didn't require good acting at all, her performance really disappointed me after all the hype. I can name a dozen performances at least last year which were much better but that's Hollywood.

    I can easily see Saoirse Ronan tackling this character down to the core, I hope Bier makes it worth while.

  • winston | August 14, 2013 6:04 PM

    I love how a film is a major critical and box office success but supposedly someone else would have been "better". Maybe next we can replace RDJ in Iron Man.

  • Liz | August 14, 2013 3:42 PMReply

    Both Lawrence and Ronan are amazingly talented. I really don't understand this need to run down one actress to build up another, you don't see articles on young male actors with these sort of comments.

  • Felicity | August 16, 2013 3:47 AM

    A very good point Liz! Each actress has her own screen presence so one can't compare them. Let us afford them the dignity that male actors are given.

  • Real | August 14, 2013 5:54 PM

    I was about to post the same thing. It's ridiculous how people pit actresses each other this way.

  • Tony | August 14, 2013 2:49 PMReply

    Look at the Ronan blowhards here. It's one thing to appreciate her talent it's another to act like a blind sheep.

  • Jacque | August 15, 2013 3:30 AM

    @ Amanda:

    I do agree that Saoirse was rather inconsistent in The Host and quite bad in Byzantium. How I Live Now hasn't been released yet, so unless you saw an advance screening I can't take your word on it. Out of all her movies released this year, V&D was my favorite.

    I don't really agree on the "weird girl shtick." She has her limitation as an actress, though, when it comes to emoting and she routinely goes for "the stare." She's turning into a female version of Ryan Gosling. That's not a good thing due to how much she's heralded and revered for her acting.

    Also, Saoirse didn't audition for THG. She just read the script so it's ironic that you comment on a post calling out the Ronan blowhards yet you come across as J. Law blowhard.

  • Amanda | August 14, 2013 5:37 PM

    Seriously! 1000x likes for this comment.

    Saiorse is good, but not that great. She hasn't impressed in anything since Hanna, she may very well be just a talented kid star. she hasn't transitioned to a good adult role yet. And if the people below want to talk about sub-par acting, I will direct them to the Host, or Byzantium, etc. How i live now and Violet and Daisy were snores.

    Ronan is limited- she has her own weird girl shtick that she does in every movie. And her line readings come off CW esq. She has weird and compelling facial features, but she over acts a lot. Not natural. Her host performance was worse than anything Lawrence has ever done. Ross didn't decide on Ronan because she probably delivered a tanker audition.

  • Maria | August 14, 2013 10:03 AMReply

    Lawrence is overhyped and overrated. Don't get tricked by the Hollywood pr machine, just look at what's in front of you and judge for yourself. Ronan runs circles around every actress in her age range and that includes Jennifer Lawrence. Ronan just has it, it's easy to spot.

  • Bert | August 17, 2013 10:14 AM

    @JMP: Thanks for your bloviated and narcissistic critique, but for opinions on Lawrence's acting, I'll stick with the professional critics, producers like Harvey Weinstein, and peers, such as Donald Sutherland, Charlize Theron, Jody Foster, Michael Caine, Jack Nicholson, Marion Cotillard, Robert DeNiro, ... well, you get the picture. But rest up, your Mom will be calling you up from the basement for supper soon.

  • Alex | August 14, 2013 6:17 PM

    I understand some of you guys love Jennifer because she is funny and everything that's why I'm not going to bash Jennifer to make Saoirse win this "argument". But it's interesting how some of you talk about Saoirse being "typecast" with weird chicks. Yes, because her character in Atonement are exactly like The Lovely Bones, How I Live Now or Hanna.

    And Winston if you want some legit critics of Ronan's work you should go and check out that Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg cast Saoirse based on just one video tape audition. Do some research on Peter Weir, Joey Wright, Susan Sarandon, Roger Ebert, Carey Mulligan, even the autor of Atonement said he only liked the first part of the movie, and that Saoirse's performance was so good that now he definitely pictures Saoirse as Briony.
    You're counting millions of fans? Talk about sheep mentality. We know Lawrence is definitely more famous. Does that make her better that other actresses? Obviously she has more fans than Kate Winslet or Tilda Swinton, hey even Kristen Stewart has lots of fans, give her an Oscar too! C'mon you gotta be kidding with that idea.

  • Winston | August 14, 2013 5:55 PM

    JMP-So all those critics, fans and the Academy were wrong?LOL. I love in particular how you present yourself as an authority. I'm sure you have many stellar accomplishments.

  • Winston | August 14, 2013 5:51 PM

    Ronan fans really need to get over the inferiority complex. Ronan had a chance to play Katniss and Jennifer won the part easily. Gary Ross would not have made the movie without her. Instead we saw Ronan in The Host. We keep being told how great Ronan supposedly is, whereas with Jennifer we see it over and over. Now far be it from me not to listen to anonymous internet blowhards, but I'll take the word of her peers, directors, producers, critics and millions of fans over laughable know-it-alls who don't have a clue.
    With someone as talented and accomplished as Jennifer you get haters and jealous people. Their loss.

  • Steve | August 14, 2013 1:45 PM

    We have a number of talented young film actresses working at this time Maria, but Saoirse is very special. She has incredible natural acting ability and an unusual and powerful screen presence. I have high hopes for this project and How I Live Now.

  • jmp | August 14, 2013 1:30 PM

    Agreed . Jennifer Lawrence is highly overrated lightweight actress with a relentless PR machine that is very cumbersome. It is hilarious to see her obsessive teen fans hijacking every comment board to sing her praises , yet she is a limited movie star with a very narrow range . On film, she has serious problems with line readings , acting techniques , facial expressions , and her acting is flat and wooden . The poor girl needs to know how to act with her eyes and learn how to delve into a character . Lawrence repeatedly struggled and distracted me with her performance in Silver Linings Playbook , because she never had a firm grasp of her character ( maybe not all her fault ) , her bad line readings ( her big scene opposite Robert DeNiro was dreadful & embarrassing to watch & hear ) , and her horrid Pennsylvania accent .

    Now , Saoirse Ronan is a supernaturally gifted dynamo . She knows how to deliver a line , and she can easily bring riveting drama , intelligence , and complexity to anything . Saorise is always compelling to watch. Jennifer Lawrence truly needs to ask her for some acting tips . No way in hell , could Jennifer deliver the brilliant performances that Saorise displayed in Atonement & Hanna . I still don't understand why Gary Ross didn't Ronan for The Hunger Games ?

    @ Gracey , I concur . I don't comprehend Jennifer Lawrence's Oscar win , besides the fact that her hype machine was running full blast ? Hopefully , it will not bite her in butt , the way it did Gwyneth Paltrow. Naomi Watts or Emanuele Riva deserved to win Best Actress this year .

  • Jules | August 13, 2013 10:52 PMReply

    @SAMNYC....Serena hasn't been released anywhere, AT have you seen it...where did you see it????. If you have, then please give us details. Otherwise, I'm just going to believe that you must be so full of SHIT that you'd float.

  • Markunator | August 15, 2013 1:26 PM

    @Laura Her performance in "The Host" was likely due to shitty writing and directing. She IS a VERY talented actress.

  • laura | August 14, 2013 5:40 PM

    "Now , Saoirse Ronan is a supernaturally gifted dynamo . She knows how to deliver a line , and she can easily bring riveting drama , intelligence , and complexity to anything"

    yeah, we all saw this compelling acting and complexity in the Host. Get over yourself.
    Lawrence hasn't delivered a bad performance yet, at least to the world at large. No bad reviews. If Serena tanked, its likely because of the bad script and director. And lawrence is set to work with Bier again so it can't be that bad on her end. Oh , and btw which would behoove Ronan to stay away as well.

  • SAMNYC | August 13, 2013 9:05 PMReply

    having seen Suzanne's latest film, SERENA...which is seriously so bad.. many feel it's UNRELEASABLE...I can't believe she's somehow managed to get another gig.

  • Bert | August 17, 2013 10:12 AM

    @ SAMNYC: As Serena has not been shown in any venue anywhere, we assume that you are a liar.
    @JMP: Thanks for your bloviated and narcissistic critique, but for opinions on Lawrence's acting, I'll stick with the professional critics, producers like Harvey Weinstein, and peers, such as Donald Sutherland, Charlize Theron, Jody Foster, Michael Caine, Jack Nicholson, Marion Cotillard, Robert DeNiro, ... well, you get the picture. But rest up, your Mom will be calling you up from the basement for supper soon.

  • Mark I | August 13, 2013 9:53 PM

    Been looking forward to this movie for a while. Please tell...what is so "bad" about it? Story? Direction? Acting? Never been a fan of Cooper, but after Silver Linings Playbook, I had hopes for him. Susanne Bier has been hit or miss for me. Any details would be helpful.

  • yemka | August 13, 2013 9:25 PM

    When did you see it? Spill the beans! I've been dying to hear more.

  • kindred spirit | August 13, 2013 7:41 PMReply

    It's confirmed that Magnolia does not hold the distribution rights to SERENA. Might want to update your article.

  • kindred spirit | August 13, 2013 7:40 PMReply

    Isn't she directing J. Law's next film as well (the one Lawrence is producing)? Something similar to Eat Pray Love? Anyway- Ronan is a superb actress who really really needs to stay away from kitschy material like The Host. And who else thinks Serena is a huge stinker? No word, no official release date, does it even have a studio behind it?

  • Jill | August 13, 2013 10:21 PM

    "Ronan is a superb actress who really really needs to stay away from kitschy material like The Host."

    Oh please. You probably were one of the people who thought it was crap project to begin with without inching towards the middle of objectivity.

  • Real | August 13, 2013 7:11 PMReply

    I so want to support a female director but I have found all of Susanne Bier's English language work so disappointing.

    What's with the sudden resurgence of interest in M anyway? Her life was certainly interesting but she was such an idiot.

  • LeonRaymond | August 13, 2013 7:01 PMReply

    I don't know how old Saoirse Ronan is but she is such a powerful actress with such a deep well that she can run circles around so many actresses of her age range and beyond and easily blow away Jennifer Lawrence who I feel is awesome but Saoirse is on another planet in terms of how she is bring something no one can seem to tap into on screen!!

  • Jackie L | August 15, 2013 6:57 AM

    I love Saoirse as much as you do, but really? Do you have to make this an argument?

  • Gracey | August 14, 2013 7:54 AM

    Saoirse does have something but a lot of recent performances have been disappointing. Jennifer is thoroughly overrated and her Oscar win is the worst since Paltrow. I watched SLP with a group of people who don't really pay attention to celebrity and when i said that was the best actress winner they were shocked. It would be no bad thing for Serena to come out and show people that she isn't the most amazing actress in the entire world. The overhyping is too much.

  • Narkel | August 14, 2013 1:10 AM

    Both are very good, I like Lawrence, especially on Winter's Bone and she's very likeable but Ronan as you said, is an amazing talent. To share screen time with Ed Harris, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Susan Sarandon, etc., is not an easy task and she did it perfectly.

  • Winston | August 14, 2013 12:20 AM

    Lawrence blows Ronan away. Ronan is limited with limited charisma.

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