Scarlett Johansson to star as Mary, Queen of Scots in historical movie

American actress Scarlett Johansson is to play red-haired monarch Mary, Queen of Scots, in a historical film epic.

The deal was announced Thursday by production company Relativity Media at the Cannes Film Festival.

The film will be directed by James Curran ("The Painted Veil") and written by Jimmy McGovern (gritty UK TV crime drama "Cracker.")

The producers said the film would see Mary "battle political enemies, scheming allies, and affairs of the heart in her quest to reunite the warring tribes of her native Scotland."

Mary, a Roman Catholic, ruled Scotland from 1542 to 1567, but her designs on the throne of England - ruled by her Protestant cousin, Elizabeth I - led to her downfall and beheading at the age of 42.

Johansson, 22, has appeared in films including "Lost in Translation," "The Girl with a Pearl Earring," "Match Point" and "The Black Dahlia."