‘Anonymous’ Trailer: A History Lesson From Roland Emmerich

Published 4 years ago by , Updated March 3rd, 2014 at 7:06 am,

Rhys Ifans in Anonymous Anonymous Trailer: A History Lesson From Roland Emmerich

The full-length trailer for Anonymous has been released. Those of you who have always wondered what Shakespeare in Love directed by Roland Emmerich might look like, this is your movie.

Anonymous is the Independence Day director’s take on the longtime conspiracy theories about the real author of William Shakespeare’s collective works. Does it even need to be said that everything in this film (the subject matter, production design, soapy drama) looks to go over the top?

Extravagant productions are Emmerich’s trade, though he is usually more concerned with destroying city landscapes and national monuments (see: ID4, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012) than stylishly recreating Elizabethan era architecture and clothing. Nonetheless, that is exactly what Anonymous looks to offer, as the footage unveiled so far has done a good job of teasing the look and design of the film’s early 17th century setting – as well as its hard-boiled conspiracy plot.

Here is an official synopsis for Anonymous:

Experts have debated, books have been written, and scholars have devoted their lives to protecting or debunking theories surrounding the authorship of the most renowned works in English literature.”Anonymous” poses one possible answer, focusing on a time when cloak-and-dagger political intrigue, illicit romances in the Royal Court, and the schemes of greedy nobles hungry for the power of the throne were exposed in the most unlikely of places: the London stage.

Now, check out the full-length trailer for Emmerich’s period drama below:

Rhys Ifans (Amazing Spider-Man) stars in Anonymous as Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford, who uses the young William Shakespeare (Rafe Spall) as a pawn in a power struggle – set against the backdrop of the succession of Queen Elizabeth I (Oscar-winner Vanessa Redgrave) and the 1601 Essex Rebellion against her. The rest of the cast will be filled out by stars like Jamie Campbell Bower (Camelot) as a young Edward, David Thewlis (the Harry Potter franchise) as William Cecil, and Joely Richardson (Nip/Tuck, The Tudors) as Princess Elizabeth Tudor, fittingly enough.

Despite the overblown nature of this trailer (what with the “blood and ink” motif and the use of Radiohead’s “Everything In Its Right Place”), Anonymous looks kind of intriguing – if a bit silly. Ifans, Redgrave, and Thewlis tend to be good no matter what film they appear in, which bodes well for Emmerich’s latest. Not to mention, again, the striking visual design.

Best to approach this one with caution, though, since trailers for Emmerich’s films have a tendency to make them look better than they actually are. That’s not exactly shocking, though, since he’s always been more about the flashy spectacle – and less so, substance – which benefits from the standard trailer format.

Anonymous will arrive in U.S. theaters on October 28th, 2011.

Source: Columbia Pictures

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  1. I actually think this looks very interesting. I love the blood and ink motif, along with the Radiohead song it just fits into the intrigue and betrayal that this story is all about. Yes it looks quite stylized but at least it’s not a drab period piece that all these movies turn out to be(pride and prejudice, Shakespeare In Love…etc) looking forward to it!

  2. I’m just tired of the stupid “theory” that Shakespeare didn’t write the plays. It doesn’t hold water.

    • Yes it does.

      • No, it doesn’t. It’s completely foolish. None of the arguments hold any water.

        • I don’t think you heard him. Yes they do.

          • There is actually credible evidence that Shakespeare may not have written the plays, that it may have been an educated noblemen (or woman, gasp!) that wrote them but wished to remain “anonymous”, as it were. However, there is also just as much and just as credible evidence that one William Shakespeare DID, in fact, write them, thus leading to one of the biggest academic debates of all time, and thus it shall remain because we arent likely to ever know for sure.

  3. Would it be so difficult to direct a faithful film adaptation of a Shakespeare play rather than attempt to stoke interest through wild speculation?

    • I agree. Unfortunately studios today seem more interested in re writing history, passing conspiracy as fact or massacring i.e. previous classic films.

  4. I believe James Cameron said Hollywood was running out of ideas. It’s trailers like this that make me think that’s not true. This looks incredibly interesting.

  5. Looks pretty over the top and dull tbh

  6. Call this a heretical statement, but he wasn’t actually that good (or at least not very interesting…& I read alot of old classical literature!). Still, the movie looks watchable. Think I’ll check it out on Netflix…ya just never know….

    • Enough people have clearly thought the exact opposite that nearly five hundred years later literally dozens (if not hundreds) of quotations from his plays and poems are used as common parlance to express universal themes, Goldilocks! To the extent where people will use them as epigrams without even necessarily knowing where they come from. Or maybe he’s just had good PR. :-)

      • Sorry, overshot by a century or so there.

  7. Roland needs to give up films like these and get back to making another Stargate.

  8. There is no chance in hell of me ever wasting 2 hours of my life on this movie. I’m sorry I spent 2 minutes reading about it.

  9. Shakespeare was the pen name for Francis Bacon.

    • That’s that, then.

    • Who is Kevin Bacon’s great great great great grandfather

    • And if you could prove that, you’d be famous for the rest of time

  10. I’m impressed. Did anyone say anything about incest between mother and son? in the other trailer you can see some risque scenes. Are we going to see a sex scene between mother and son?

  11. yesss simon_parx there is effectively a mother-son incest.

  12. This is definitely a interesting topic and sounds like a great idea for a film but…. Roland Emmerich? Really? I predict a few Razzies in this films future. But with my track record this will end up sweeping the Oscars haha.

  13. I just recognised the actor playing Shakespeare is Rafe Spall. He was excellent as the psycho gangster in the BBC Drama “The Shadow Line”. That, along with the slick trailer, makes me interested in this film. About time a Shakespeare story had a bit of balls!

  14. The works of “William Shake-speare” are more enjoyable and understandable when understood as flowing from the pen of Edward de Vere then they are when thought of as being written by “William” “Shakspere”, who was the child and the parent of illiterates. The greatest works of literature were not written by the bug-eyed freak on the frontispiece of the first folio. Come on. They are the products of the most educated man of his day – the Earl of Oxford.

  15. That Shakspere of Stratford wrote the Shakespeare canon is a legend, propped up with sympathetic speculation. That Edward de Vere wrote the Shakespeare canon is a hypothesis, backed with a tremendous amount of ‘co-incidence’ and biographical support. It probably does not interest the dvd a night viewer with no interest in English history. But if and when the truth of who wrote the plays and poems of Shakespeare comes out in a reasonable form, it will rearrange our history of Elizabeth I, her chief minister William Cecil Lord Burghley, his daughter Anne de Vere, de Vere’s cousins the fighting Vere’s, Francis and Horatio, and his father John de Vere, who was assassinated by Elizabeth’s lover Robert Dudley, Lord Leicester. In order they appear in Hamlet as Gertrude, Polonius, Ophelia, Francisco, Horace, the elder Hamlet, and Claudius the murderer. Don’t bet against this issue, regardless of any sensationalist character of the Emmerich film.