Shakespeare supporters blast controversial new film ''Anonymous'' which questions the authenticity of some of his most famous works. Cindy Martin reports.
"To be or not to be…" but that's not really the question. The real issue is whether William Shakespeare actually wrote his plays or whether someone else did so. It's a debate that's been raging for more than 150 years. Now new film "Anonymous" by director Roland Emmerich brings the controversy to the big screen. The movie purports that actually the Earl of Oxford, played by Welsh star Rhys Ifans, is the real author of such memorable plays as "Romeo and Juliet" and "Hamlet". Honorary President of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Stanley Wells calls the theory complete nonsense. SOUNDBITE: Stanley Wells, Honorary President of The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, saying (English): "There's no evidence whatever, the whole thing is a fabrication. It's conspiracy theory. It's been going on for about 150 years. It didn't start long after Shakespeare died, nobody doubted Shakespeare's authorship and his works in his lifetime. If you go to the church here you'll see a monument to William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon with inscriptions one in Latin the other in English praising him as a great writer." At the movie's London Film Festival premiere on Thursday (October 25), Ifans and director Emmerich defended the film. SOUNDBITE: Rhys Ifans, Actor, saying (English): "The bigger the spanner we put in the complete works, the better. It needs it. You know -- every great piece of writing, this is a great piece of writing and this film celebrates that. You know -- there is no, absolutely no definitive answer as to who the author -- of these works are you know. All we're doing is proposing a very valid and convincing candidate. I challenge any Stratfordian to come up with a better one." SOUNDBITE: Roland Emmerich, Director, saying (German): "I was a little surprised at how big the reaction in England was. I always thought there would be a strong reaction in England, but I would have never have thought that it would be that strong. In a way I welcome that because this is partly what I wanted to achieve with the film, to encourage this discussion and that people are talking about it, and in that way I actually feel quite good about it." The movie also stars Joely Richardson and David Thewlis amonst others. "Anonymous" will be out on Friday (October 28) in both the U.S. and UK. Cindy Martin, Reuters