“Anonymous” with Derek Jacobi – Shakespeare Who?

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Release Date: 30 September 2011
Genre: Drama
Cast: Rhys Ifans, Vanessa Redgrave, David Thewlis
Directors: Roland Emmerich
Writer: John Orloff
Studio: Sony Pictures

Anonymous is based on the fringe idea that Shakespeare’s works weren’t actually written by Shakespeare but rather by another famous Elizabethan. The most popular candidate is Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, (it’s known as the Oxfordian theory of authorship and has been pretty comfortably discredited) and it’s he who will be named as the author of Shakespeare’s poems and plays in Emmerich’s film.

{IMAGE COURTESY: Indie Movies Online} A political thriller about who actually wrote the plays of William Shakespeare– Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford– set against the backdrop of the succession of Queen Elizabeth I, and the Essex Rebellion against her.

The film is to be set among the Tudors and the Cecils, who are squabbling over who will succeed Queen Elizabeth on the throne of England. The argument regarding succession provides the backdrop for the explanation as to how and why the Earl of Oxford wrote Shakespeare’s plays and poems. But lest you think the excitement ends there, not only did de Vere write Shakespeare’s work in this undertaking, he was also the illegitimate son of Queen Elizabeth I. Who then goes on to have an affair with her as an adult. Cer-azy!

Vanessa Redgrave is to step into Queen Elizabeth’s jewelled slippers, David Thewlis is to play William Cecil (both old and young, apparently), Rhys Ifans will be the Earl of Oxford and Edward Hogg is Robert Cecil, the Queen’s secretary of state (a key player in Elizabethan politics and the man thought to have inspired Hamlet’s Polonius).

While talking to Empire magazine, Emmerich had this to say regarding his cast: “It’s a true English cast and I’m really proud of it. There are 12 main characters and 20 or 30 other characters, and each of the characters is really good.” That’s cleared that up then.

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