Director Roland Emmerich has made a name for himself for his disaster films and now he's going in a much different direction and has a cast lined up as well. Empire is reporting that Vanessa Redgrave, David Thewlis and Rhys Ifans have joined 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."

The new film centers on a centuries-old theory that William Shakespeare's plays were actually written by Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford. Here's how Emmerich himself described the film to the site.

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'."

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