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March 14, 2008  3 comments 'Mary Queen of Scots'

In what could be a case of art imitating life, finding the right man for Mary Queen of Scots is proving more difficult than expected. A movie about Mary’s life, starring Scarlett Johansson, has been delayed because producers can’t find a suitable actor to play her third husband, the Earl of Bothwell.

In real life, Mary had problems with men, one in particular, her second husband, Lord Darnely, who burst into her room in the Palace of Holyrood House, threatened her and murdered her secretary, David Riccio.

Among those said to be in the running for the Bothwell role, are Clive Owen, Robert Carlyle and James McAvoy.

Former Rome star Kevin McKidd played a convincing Bothwell in a recent television version of the monarch’s life, but he is unlikely to get the film role.

The delay is now raising doubts that the film will make it into production in time to avoid a strike by members of the Screen Actors Guild at the end of June: “Scarlett is having trouble with who her profile leading man should be,” said a source: “The actors’ strike is also going to be significant. It could be after the summer before anything happens.

“Assuming a typical 60-day movie shoot, plus extra time for days off and re-shoots that might be necessary, few big-studio movies will start filming after the end of this month.”

Both the Irish Film Board and Scottish Screen stand to gain hugely from the £20million movie, which will be filmed at castle locations in both countries.

Directed by Philip Noyce, the film will be chronicle the life of Mary, particularly her strained relationship with Queen Elizabeth I of England, who eventually ordered her execution.

Scarlett, 23, said recently: “The script covers Mary’s return to Scotland from France and goes up to her death. I’m researching her now, reading books about her.

“Mary was a very complex, very interesting lady. She’s one of history’s most fascinating women.”

Possible location sites include Stirling Castle, where Mary spent her childhood.

Another is Dumbarton Castle, where she went into hiding, or her refuge at Inchmahome Priory, on an island in the Lake of Menteith.

Source: Daily Express, thanks Roberto!

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