VOD Spotlight: Exploring the mystery of Shakespeare in “Anonymous”

Better known for destroying worlds with films such as Independence Day and 2012, director Roland Emmerich creates a historic one in the dramatic thriller Anonymous. The film supports the theory that someone else wrote Shakespeare’s plays — a debate among scholars of the Bard for years. Here, it’s postulated to be Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford, (Rhys Ifans, pictured). A poet and playwright, he is among the most popular candidates to have authored Shakespeare’s works.

In a seven-minute trailer for the film, Emmerich lays out 10 reasons why he believes that Shakespeare was a fraud. These are certainly compelling. But even those who would debunk the theory will find much to like in this period drama that looks at Shakespeare’s world as well as the machinations of royalty and commoners alike.

To make the world of Elizabethan England as authentic as possible, production designer Sebastian Krawinkel traveled to London to visit galleries and museums, and scoured books on the subject. Director of photography Anna J. Foerster used new technology capable of filming in very low light so the film could take advantage of the actual atmosphere of candles and firelight. A stickler for detail, Emmerich worked to present the era as accurately and beautifully as possible, though liberty was taken with the interior of the Globe Theatre, for which there are no historical drawings.

“Anonymous” is available starting Feb. 7 on Video On Demand. Check your cable system for availability.

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