Empire reports today that Rhys Ifans, 41, — who was Hugh Grant’s bizarre roommate, Spike, in the 1999 movie Notting Hill — will play Edward de Vere as Shakespeare in Roland Emmerich’s new film about the Shakespearean authorship intrigue, Anonymous.
In the Empire article, “Exclusive: Emmerich On Anonymous: Thewlis, Redgrave and Ifans Sign Up”, reporter Phil de Semlyen quotes Emmerich on the cast of Anonymous:
“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.”
Emmerich describes the film that will begin production in Berlin next month:
“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’.”
Ifans played Robert Reston in the 2007 film Elizabeth: the Golden Age and he will be Xenophilius Lovegood in the latest Hogwarts horror movie due out this year, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I. (Ifans photo above is from the set of HP & DH: Part I)
It would be difficult to overestimate the exposure that Emmerich’s venture will bring to the topic of Shakespeare authorship. Here is a list of some sites reporting on casting for Anonymous. (Click on names to read articles.)
London Evening Standard said February 19, 2010:
Jamie Campbell Bower, one of the stars of Twilight: New Moon, will be playing the role of the young Oxford when filming starts in March, while Rhys Ifans will act the courtier playwright as a grown-up. In an ingenious piece of casting, it seems Emmerich has secured mother-and-daughter actors Vanessa Redgrave and Joely Richardson to play Elizabeth I at various stages of her life.
March 2, 2010