HitFix’s Gregory Ellwood recently sat down with “Anonymous” director Roland Emmerich to talk about the upcoming historical thriller, which puts forth a fictional account of the fringe theory that Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (Rhys Ifans), was the true author of the works of William Shakespeare (played here by Rafe Spall).
During their chat, Emmerich discusses the film’s struggle to make it to the screen in the decade since he first discovered the script by John Orloff (“Legend of the Guardians”, “A Mighty Heart”), including one false production start – thanks to budget and casting issues – several years ago.
Luckily, while working on his blockbuster hit “2012”, Emmerich realized that the magic of green-screen would allow him to create the scope he wanted for “Anonymous” within the limited budget he had to work with, and his cast ultimately filled out with impressive names including Ifans, David Thewlis, Xavier Samuel, Joely Richardson and acting goddess Vanessa Redgrave playing Queen Elizabeth I.
Speaking of Redgrave, Emmerich’s initial nervousness over approaching the actress gave way to relief when she not only accepted the part but approached the historical character exactly the way that he wanted – as a rotten-toothed, dementia-beset royal prone to unfastening her bodice at inappropriate moments.
You can watch the full interview above!
“Anonymous” opens this Friday, October 28th.