Varietyis reporting that Phillip Noyce has signed on to direct Scarlett Johansson in Mary, Queen of Scots, a long talked-about project that will focus on the Roman Catholic Scottish queen who conspired in the Babington Plot to murder her cousin, Elizabeth I, and was eventually beheaded as a traitor in 1587. It's hard to understand what the excitement could be in telling this tale again -- we've seen it innumerable times in the past few years, right up to last year's bloated disaster Elizabeth: The Golden Age, in which the character was played by the hugely talented Samantha Morton. I also can't be the only one who thinks the casting here is bizarre in the extreme. Johansson is not a bad actress, but can she really play a French-accented monarch from the Elizabethan age? Isn't that something of a stretch? I guess we'll find out. The Variety story also says nothing about how this impacts Noyce's involvement in the Amelia Earhart biopic he's supposed to be helming.
The word from Hilary Swank's own mouth last month was that her Oscar-bait biopic of the doomed flying ace was set to begin filming in February -- so how is Noyce going to start helming Mary, Queen of Scots in April? Obviously something is screwy here. Numerous outlets have been reporting Noyce's commitment to the Earhart biopic over the last couple of months, but details about the project -- including official confirmation about basic cast and crew details -- have not been forthcoming. It certainly can't be true that Noyce is filming a major show like an Amelia Earhart biopic in the same season as Mary, so maybe his involvement was never so firm in the first place or he just dropped out of one and moved to the other. Such has been known to occur.