Director Josie Rourke Turned to Abbey Road Studios to Mix the Soundtrack for ‘Mary Queen of Scots’

“Mary queen of scots,” the period drama about the life of Mary Stuart, played by Saoirse Ronan, and that of her English cousin Queen Elizabeth I, portrayed by Margot Robbie, may mark Josie Rourke’s feature film directorial debut, but as the artistic director of London’s prestigious Donmar Warehouse, where she’s staged acclaimed and groundbreaking productions, she’s no stranger to dealing with sound and music.

“In theater, sound is so important,” she says. “One of a director’s most basic functions is telling whether an actor on stage can be heard. So we spend a lot of time thinking about acoustics, and then also how music functions in a scene. And while film is such a visual medium, I think music and sound are even more important in movies, and how you use them to help tell the story.”

Rourke says that her initial vision for the soundtrack was inspired by the music of composer Max Richter — “and specifically his famous Vivaldi ‘The Four Seasons Recomposed’ piece, which breaks down a famous work and reassembles it in a way that allows you to hear it afresh, and also links the past and present. And he’s also able to bring out deep, deep emotion from what is essentially minimalist music. That’s why I wanted him for this, and why he was perfect.”

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