By Domenica Goduto
A star-studded Hollywood blockbuster about Mary Queen of Scots has been axed.
The £30 million movie, which had Scarlett Johansson playing the doomed Scottish queen, was due to start filming this year with the support of First Minister Alex Salmond.
Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson had already agreed to play the lead in the project, which was due to start filming in Scotland and Ireland later this year.
Australian director Phillip Noyce explained that the film’s demise was a result of the current economic climate.
He said: “Mary Queen of Scots was being financed by a company, Capitol Films, that essentially went broke – the film isn’t happening.”
Noyce, who has previously headed such successful films as Clear and Present Danger and The Bone Collector, visited Scotland several times in the past year to scout locations for Mary Queen of Scots.
First Minister Alex Salmond, a keen supporter of the project, offered to let the director film on location at Edinburgh Castle, where in 1556 Mary gave birth to her son, the future James VI of Scotland and later James I of England.
It was hoped that the film would boost Scottish tourism, attracting visitors to such key locations as Holyrood Palace, the site of Mary’s marriage in 1565, and Linlithgow Palace, where she was born in 1542.
Celia Stevenson, director of inward investment for Scottish Screen, said that losing the film was a blow.
She said: “It’s a tragedy when film projects are suspended.
“I am sure the movie would have been hugely popular but this financial climate proved to be too much for it.”
“What I can say is that the film will definitely be made at some point in the future.”