Saoirse Ronan is no stranger to period dramas and today she joined the cast of a new one. The young Irish actress has signed on to play the title role in Mary Queen of Scots, the new film from screenwriter Michael Hirst. While the search is still on for a director, Hirst brings plenty of experience to the project, having written both Elizabeth and Elizabeth: The Golden Age as well as episodes of television shows such as The Tudors and Camelot.

Mary was crowned the queen of Scotland in the mid-16th century and had a very tumultuous time on the throne. After marrying the man that would end up becoming the king of France, her second husband was murdered and then she married the man that was suspected of orchestrating the killing. Believing that the queen was in on the conspiracy, her people revolted and she was locked in Loch Leven Castle. After managing to escape she fled to England to seek protection from Queen Elizabeth I, but that move ended up with her being executed for trying to assassinate Elizabeth. Not exactly a happy story.

Ronan made a name for herself with her Academy Award nominated role in the period drama Atonement, but in recent years she has spent more time playing a trained killer. Last year she starred in the Wright-directed thriller Hanna and she also recently starred alongside Alexis Bledel in Geoffrey Fletcher's Violet & Daisy, a movie about two teenage assassins who run into a client that's a bit more than they can handle. She is currently in producion on Kevin Macdonald's drama How I Live Now, but has a number of titles coming soon including the vampire flick Byzantium and the adaptation of the Stephenie Meyer novel The Host.

Working Title, which recently producer Wright's Anna Karenina is producing the film and according to Deadline the movie is aiming to go into production next year.

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