Queen Elizabeth I had a huge spy network, known as “Watchers”. One of her best spies used the moniker 007 to sign his letters, something author Ian Fleming would later use when writing the James Bond series.
The project was originally announced four years ago, when the idea was that Susanne Bier would direct. However, Bier has since moved on to other things: she brought John le Carré’s The Night Manager to the screen, turning it into a mega-hit for BBC TV. And there have been unconfirmed reports that she will direct the next James Bond film.
Mary, Queen Of Scots will mark Rourke’s film-making debut. She has been artistic director of the Donmar since early 2012. Before that, she ran the Bush theatre in West London, and she worked as an assistant director at the Donmar when Sam Mendes was running the Covent Garden-based venue.
Rourke’s predecessors at the Donmar — Mendes and Michael Grandage — have also gone on to film-directing, while continuing to work in the theatre.