Shakespeare’s had a tough year. It’s not enough that anthropologists want to shoot lasers at his skeleton to find out if he smoked weed. Now the guy who directed Independence Day has made a movie reviving the “Shakespeare authorship question,” the literary world’s equivalent of Roswell UFO theories.
If you’re curious, the film is called Anonymous, the director is Roland Emmerich, and the trailer can be found here. It features a surprising amount of CGI and the tagline “We’ve All Been Played.” Its tale of passion and intrigue has already been compared to Shakespearean drama, by Roland Emmerich.
Abundant historical documentation attests that William Shakespeare, the glover’s son from Stratford-upon-Avon, wrote the plays credited to him. That hasn’t stopped baseless speculations to the contrary, although tellingly enough, they didn’t get started until several centuries after Shakespeare’s death. Proposed “alternative” authors have included Sir Francis Bacon and Christopher Marlowe, but nowadays most fringe believers prefer the 17th Earl of Oxford, a candidate first proposed in 1920 by a schoolteacher named J. Thomas Looney.
I don’t want to dignify “anti-Stratfordianism” with a refutation any more than I want to spend time fighting the claim that Elvis killed JFK. Certain arguments take a cheerful indifference to facts as their starting point. But for those who are genuinely interested, a patient, thorough debunking is available here.
My question is, if you’re Roland Emmerich and you’re trying to spin a blockbuster out of a conspiracy theory, do you really want the heart of the intrigue to be the Earl of Oxford? Why not at least make it the aliens instead? I’m not going to watch a two-hour film about the Looney hypothesis, but I’d watch one in which malignant space squids dictated Hamlet's soliloquies in the "DIIIIIEEE" voice from Independence Day.
[Anonymous screenshot via ScreenRant.]