Roland Emmerich's Next is 'Anonymous' About Shakespeare
Yep, you read that right. Believe it or not, before apocalyptic German director Roland Emmerich gets to the Foundation Trilogy, he'll be directing a little period piece called Anonymous next, starting this March in Berlin. Empire is reporting the news this morning, including casting as well. Anonymous is a film about the theory that William Shakespeare's plays were actually all written by Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford. So the guy behind such epic movies as Independence Day, Godzilla, The Day After Tomorrow, and 2012, is exploring a little Shakespeare in his next feature film. Does that make any sense to you? Read on!
Emmerich also revealed that Vanessa Redgrave (Deep Impact, Atonement, "Nip/Tuck") will play Queen Elizabeth, David Thewlis (Remus in the Harry Potter movies) will play William Cecil, both old and young, and Rhys Ifans (The Boat That Rocked) will play the Earl of Oxford. "It's a true English cast and I'm really proud of it. There's 12 main characters and 20 or 30 other characters, and [all] of the characters [are] really good," Emmerich said. Oxford, a playwright, poet and patron of the arts, fell under the "influential shadow" of Robert Cecil, the Queen's secretary of state, a key player in politics and the man widely thought to be the inspiration for Hamlet's Polonius, hence the theory. Emmerich explains how he'd describe Anonymous:
"It's a mix of a lot of things: it's a historical thriller because it's about who will succeed Queen Elizabeth and the struggle of the people who want to have a hand in it. It's the Tudors on one side and the Cecils on the other, and in between [the two] is the Queen. Through that story we tell how the plays written by the Earl of Oxford ended up labeled 'William Shakespeare'."
Having studied plenty of Shakespeare over the years in school, I'm familiar with the claim that the Earl of Oxford is actually the one who wrote his plays (even though I've never believed it). However, Emmerich is the last person on the planet (pun intended) that I'd expect to direct a movie about that literary conspiracy. I'm surprised that even he has any interest in this story. That said, he has rounded up a fairly impressive cast, and if anything this might give Emmerich the chance to work on his directing in a more focused setting (as in, not while destroying the entire world). I guess we'll just have to wait and see how he does. But I can tell you it feels out of place saying that we may see an Emmerich movie at a film festival soon. Thoughts?