Forget 9/11, the JFK assassination and the allegedly staged moon landing. It’s been hundreds of years and we still don’t know without a doubt who actually wrote Hamlet.
That’s the thesis of Roland Emmerich’s new film, Anonymous, which isn’t about the conscientious online collective but rather the long-running pop-cult conspiracy surrounding William Shakespeare’s authorship of works credited to him.
“I believe that a man from Stratford was not the true author,” disaster porn auteur Emmerich said in the Wired.com video interview above. “What’s known about William Shakespeare is that he was, you know, a money-lender…. He was a play-broker…. He was accused of hoarding grain in a time of famine.”
The Bard’s authorship first came into question in the 19th century, as his unforgettable plays went mainstream. Since then, the topic has become the unholy grail of Shakespeare studies, because anybody who could prove the Bard was a fraud would become an overnight sensation capable of invalidating centuries of dense research and diverse reboots.
Emmerich knows this well, and concocted his period thriller to push the subject further into the mainstream. The PG-13 Anonymous, which opens Friday, will likely create “a lot of noise from the literary departments all over America and the world,” he said. “There’s like a literary establishment naturally who doesn’t want to have this question even asked.”
Watch the interview above, in which Emmerich and Anonymous screenwriter John Orloff talk more about the subject, and let us know in the comments below where you stand on The Bard and Emmerich’s take on the matter.