Emmerich talks ANONYMOUS - Thewlis, Redgrave and Ifans Sign on

For the last 25 years Roland Emmerich has pumped out features like clockwork, directing a movie every 2 to 3 years. So with 4 out of the 5 last films he's directed involving earth's destruction in some shape or form, with his latest, 2012, annihilating the entire planet, his next project may come as a bit of a surprise.

Emmerich will soon tackle the thorny theory that's circulated for the past 100 years that William Shakespeare’s plays were, in fact, written by Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, in Anonymous.

The director already has several members of the main cast of Elizabeth types  signed on, he told Empire:

We have Vanessa Redgrave as Queen Elizabeth; David Thewlis as William Cecil, old and young; and Rhys Ifans as 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 each of the characters is really good.


Ifans will be playing the key figure in this literary intrigue. 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 Elizabethan politics and the man widely thought to be the inspiration for Hamlet’s Polonius. 

Redgrave, the the legendary Oscar-winner actress has most recently seen in her recurring role on Nip/Tuck, and 2007's Atonement. Thewlis is most known for appearing in the last three Harry Potter films, and starred in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Ifans most recently starred in Pirate Radio, and will join Thewlis for the forthcoming installments of Harry Potter.

Emmerich went on to describe the intriguing details that make Anonymous worth trading in the CG TNT for live-action tea and tea:

It’s a mix of a lot of things: it’s an 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 labelled 'William Shakespeare'.

It's pretty intriguing, and I'm really interested to see if Emmerich has the ability to handle a story driven by... well, story. 

Anonymous will begin lensing in Berlin in March.

What do you think of ANONYMOUS? What do you think of the cast so far?

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