October 28th 2011
  • Historical/Thriller,
  • PG-13,
  • 130 min,
  • Sony Pictures
  • Cast: Rhys Ifans, Vanessa Redgrave, David Thewlis, Jamie Campbell Bower, Joely Richardson, Derek Jacobi, Xavier Samuel, Rafe Spall, Mark Rylance, Edward Hogg, Tom Wlaschiha, Ned Dennehy, Sebastian Armesto, Tony Way, Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Julian Bleach, Paula Schramm, Amy Kwolek, Alex Hassell, John Keogh, Robert Emms, Sebastian Reid, Alexander Yassin, Trystan Gravelle, Isaiah Michalski, Vicky Krieps
  • Director: Roland Emmerich
  • Writer: John Orloff
  • Producers: Larry J. Franco, Robert Leger, Roland Emmerich
  • Co Producers: Christoph Fisser, Kirstin Winkler, Charlie Woebcken
  • Executive Producers: Volker Engel, John Orloff, Marc Weigert
  • Art Direction: Stephan O. Gessler
  • Costume Design: Lisy Christl
  • D.O.P.: Anna Foerster
  • Editor: Peter R. Adam
  • Makeups: Heike Merker, Björn Rehbein
  • Music: Thomas Wanker
  • Production Design: Sebastian T. Krawinkel
  • Set Decoration: Simon-Julien Boucherie


Set in the political snake-pit of Elizabethan England, Anonymous speculates on an issue that has for centuries intrigued academics and brilliant minds ranging from Mark Twain and Charles Dickens to Henry James and Sigmund Freud, namely: who was the author of the plays credited to William Shakespeare?

Experts have debated, books have been written, and scholars have devoted their lives to protecting or debunking theories surrounding the authorship of the most renowned works in English literature.

Anonymous poses one possible answer, focusing on a time when cloak-and-dagger political intrigue, illicit romances in the Royal Court, and the schemes of greedy nobles hungry for the power of the throne were exposed in the most unlikely of places: the London stage.

Basic Information

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Filming Locations: Brandenburg, Germany
  • MPAA Warning: Some violence and sexual content
  • Production Budget: $30 million
  • Production Companies: Studio Babelsberg Motion Pictures
  • Production Schedule: 22 March 2010 - 18 June 2010

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2011 Guide Analysis: "Having destroyed the world countless times over in big-budget disaster epics like "Independence Day," "The Day After Tomorrow," "Godzilla" and "2012", filmmaker Roland Emmerich is trying a change of pace with this "political thriller" exploring the Oxfordian theory that Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, was the real author of Shakespeare's plays. That authorship issue is set against the backdrop of the failed coup by Essex and the political turmoil at the end of the Elizabethan age.

"Band of Brothers" and "A Mighty Heart" scribe John Orloff actually penned the script for this back in 1998. While it received strong reviews, the project never took off because "Shakespeare in Love" had just been released. Then back in 2005 Emmerich read the script and the pair did further research and revision before finally getting the green light to go ahead and film it this year. Emmerich himself says his past financial successes allowed him essentially carte blanche on this $30 million project in terms of letting him cast whom he wants and being able to film the script without studio interference.

Emmerich's FX work has come in handy as all but one of the many exterior shots in the film is being done entirely with green screen and a computer-animated late 16th century recreation of London to be used throughout. Interiors were shot in Berlin on seventy hand-built sets and Orloff claims in an interview that while the movie "takes it as a given that he [Shakespeare] did not write the plays", the film is "stunningly accurate" in terms of historical events and the period recreation.

Yet "Anonymous" also incorporates the far more dubious 'Prince Tudor' theory that de Vere was the illegitimate son of Elizabeth I. Emmerich himself says in an interview that "When Shakespeare wrote 'Henry V', he made things up and we’re making things up too." Orloff says in the same piece "there is a point where you have to go with the emotional truth, not the literal truth, because the drama is the primary concern." Stunningly accurate huh?

Given more serious subject matter in the past, Emmerich proved himself a robust director with "The Patriot". Whatever the quality of this, it has already sparked op-ed pieces and quotes from professors and actors alike - talk that will only grow in the lead-up to the film's release."

Trailers & Clips

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Worldwide Release Dates

  • 6 October 2011: Greece
  • 21 October 2011: Finland, Norway
  • 28 October 2011: Canada, Ireland, UK
  • 3 November 2011: Germany
  • 11 November 2011: Spain
  • 17 November 2011: Russia, Singapore
  • 1 December 2011: Netherlands
  • 2 December 2011: India, Mexico
  • 7 December 2011: France
  • 16 December 2011: Sweden
  • 26 January 2012: Hungary
  • 2 February 2012: Hong Kong