EXCLUSIVE: Penelope Skinner working on script with Michael Hirst. Saoirse Ronan attached, as previously reported.

Working Title has confirmed to ScreenDaily that Oscar-winning director Susanne Bier is in talks to direct biopic Mary Queen of Scots.

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As previously reported, Byzantium and Hanna star Saoirse Ronan is attached to play the eponymous Queen Mary, who famously attempted to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I in the 16th century.

Acclaimed playwright Penelope Skinner, who recently wrote on Kevin Macdonald drama How I Live Now, also starring Ronan, is working with The Tudors and Elizabeth writer Michael Hirst on the script, with Working Title aiming for a 2014 shoot.

Queen of Scotland between 1542-1567, Mary Stuart famously tried to overthrow her cousin Elizabeth I, Queen of England, a move which was supported by many Catholics but saw her condemned in later life to years of imprisonment and finally execution.

Her turbulent life included a marriage to the King of France, the murder of her second husband and subsequent marriage to a suspect in his murder, her abdication from the Scottish throne after an uprising, and imprisonment in both Scotland and England. After 18 years of imprisonment Mary was eventually found guilty of plotting to assassinate Elizabeth, and was subsequently executed.

Bier, whose drama In a Better World won the Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards and Golden Globes in 2011, most recently directed Depression-era drama Serena. Set for release later this year, Serena reunites Silver Linings Playbook stars Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.

UK production powerhouse Working Title is currently pushing Stephen Hawking drama Theory of Everything, Baltasar Kormakur’s Everest, Stephen Frears’ Lance Armstrong biopic and Joe Wright’s reboot of The Little Mermaid.

In-demand Ronan, who is also in Ryan Gosling’s How to Catch a Monster and Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, was Oscar nominated for her performance in Atonement.

British playwright Skinner, behind critical stage hits Fucked, Eigengrau and The Village Bike, has also written episodes of Channel Four series Fresh Meat.

Thomas Imbach’s biopic of Mary, also titled Mary Queen of Scots, debuted this week at the Locarno Film Festival.