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'Anonymous' revives the Shakespeare debate


'Anonymous' revives the Shakespeare debate

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Hark! You can hear the sound of feathers being ruffled from here over Roland Emmerich’s ‘Anonymous’. The German-born director has had another pop at one of Albion’s dearest myths, William Shakespeare.

In fact he is merely having the temerity to follow a long line of scholarly debate on the authorship of Shakespeare’s work — Hollywood style.

Emmerich has a reputation in Britain after ‘The Patriot’, so expressing surprise at the London premiere was perhaps disingenuous.

“I was a little surprised at how big the reaction in England was. I always thought it would be a strong, but I would never have thought that it would be that strong. In a way I welcome that because it’s partly what I wanted to achieve with the film, to encourage discussion and have people talking about it. So I actually feel quite good about it,” he claimed.

And we have a Welshman playing the Earl of Oxford! Thank goodness it is Rhys Ifans.

“There is no, absolutely no definitive answer as to who the author of these works are you know. All we’re doing is proposing a very valid and convincing candidate. I challenge any Stratfordian to come up with a better one,” said the actor.

Well Rhys, there are plenty of Stratfordians ready to pick up that challenge.

Shakespeare’s birthplace is up in arms, removing pub and street signs bearing any reference to its most famous son in protest against the movie. In Stratford the Bard is sacred, his defenders legion, and the mighty chorus raises against the false claims made; plus what would happen to tourism if there were ever any proof?

“There’s no evidence whatever, the whole thing is a fabrication. It’s conspiracy theory. It’s been going on for about 150 years. It didn’t start long after Shakespeare died, nobody doubted Shakespeare’s authorship and his works in his lifetime. If you go to the church here you’ll see a monument to William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon with inscriptions, one in Latin the other in English, praising him as a great writer,” says the honorary president of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Stanley Wells.

A good controversy never hurt a movie’s ticket sales either, did it Roland?

“There’s many reasons but — there’s a couple of main reasons for example that he didn’t left [sic] one book in his will in his testament — that there’s not one letter or manuscript in his own handwriting, that his two daughters were, like, illiterate, that his son-in-law, you know, who could write and wrote a diary, never mentions once his father-in-law that — he was a famous writer,” says Emmerich.

With plenty of swords and big hats it is sure to be a fun romp, and it is coming to a screen near you.

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