A political thriller about who actually wrote the plays of William Shakespeare-- Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford-- set against the backdrop of the succession of Queen Elizabeth I, and the Essex Rebellion against her

  • 2 hr 10 minPG13HDSD
  • Oct 28, 2011
  • Drama

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Cast & Crew

  • Joely RichardsonActor

    For Joely, the theatre must be in her genes. Born in Marylebone, London, England, she is the daughter of director Tony Richardson and Vanessa Redgrave, granddaughter of Sir Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson, niece of Lynn Redgrave, and sister of Natasha Richardson, all actors. Former husband Tim Bevan is a producer. However the genes were slow - as a child she saw her older sister Natasha interested in acting but she was imagining a career in tennis. Her father put his foot down, and tennis was out. British by birth, she considers herself a sort of honorary Yank, having attended boarding school at Thacher in Ojai, California. Beginning in the '80s film became her life, from small parts in Wetherby (1985) to BBC dramas such as Lady Chatterley (1993) to today's Disney studio going to the dogs in 101 Dalmatians (1996).
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  • Rhys IfansActor

    Rhys Ifans was born and raised in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Wales, the son of teacher parents, Beti Wyn (Davies) and Eirwyn Evans. He was educated in two Welsh language schools - Ysgol Pentrecelyn, where his mother taught, and Ysgol Maes Garmon. During his childhood, Ifans showed an interest in performing and attended youth acting school. He went on to train at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. Ifans made his small screen debut as the host of Welsh children's TV show, Stwnsh. Various roles in theater and Welsh language television also followed. His breakthrough on the big screen came in the British hit Twin Town (1997), where he acting alongside his younger brother Llyr Ifans. More film success followed, notably as Hugh Grant's scruffy housemate in Notting Hill (1999). Other projects include Dancing at Lughnasa (1998) , Little Nicky (2000), Enduring Love (2004), Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010) and The Amazing Spider-Man (2012). In 2004, he played iconic British comedian Peter Cook in the TV film Not Only But Always (2004). His performance earned him an Emmy nomination and a BAFTA award for Best Actor.
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  • Vanessa RedgraveActor

    On January 30, 1937, renowned theatre actor Michael Redgrave was performing in a production of Hamlet in London. During the curtain call, the show's lead, Laurence Olivier, announced to the audience: "tonight a great actress was born". This was in reference to his co-star's newborn daughter, Vanessa Redgrave. Vanessa was born in Greenwich, London, to Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson, both thespians. Three quarters of a century after her birth (despite numerous ups and down) this rather forward expectation has definitely been lived up to with an acclaimed actress that has won (among many others) an Academy Award, two Emmys, two Golden Globes, two Cannes Best Actress awards, a Tony, a Screen Actors Guild award, a Laurence Olivier theatre award and a BAFTA fellowship. Growing up with such celebrated theatrical parents, great expectations were put on both herself, her brother Corin Redgrave and sister Lynn Redgrave at an early age. Shooting up early and finally reaching a height just short of 6 foot, Redgrave initially had plans to dance and perform ballet as a profession. However she settled on acting and entered the Central School of Speech and Drama in 1954 and four years later made her West End debut. In the decade of the 1960s she developed and progressed to become one of the most noted young stars of the English stage and then film. Performances on the London stage included the classics: 'A Touch of Sun', 'Coriolanus', 'A Midsummer's Night Dream', 'All's Well that Ends Well', 'As You Like It', 'The Lady from the Sea', 'The Seagull' and many others. By the mid 1960s, she had booked various film roles and matured into a striking beauty with a slim, tall frame and attractive face. In 1966 she made her big screen debut as the beautiful ex-wife of a madman in an Oscar nominated performance in the oddball comedy Morgan! (1966), as well as the enigmatic woman in a public park in desperate need of a photographer's negatives in the iconic Blow-Up (1966) and briefly appeared in an unspoken part of Anne Boleyn in the Best Picture winner of the year A Man for All Seasons (1966). She managed to originate the title role in "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" the same year on the London stage (which was then adapted for the big screen a few years later, but Maggie Smith was cast instead and managed to win an Oscar for her performance). Her follow up work saw her play the lead in the box office hit adaptation Camelot (1967), a film popular with audiences but dismissed by critics, and her second Academy Award nominated performance as Isadora Duncan in the critically praised Isadora (1968). Her rise in popularity on film also coincided with her public political involvement, she was one of the lead faces in protesting against the Vietnam war and lead a famous march on the US embassy, was arrested during a Ban-the-Bomb demonstration, publicly supported Yasar Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and fought for various other human rights and particularly left wing causes. Despite her admirably independent qualities, most of her political beliefs weren't largely supported by the public. In 1971 after 3 films back to back, Redgrave suffered a miscarriage (it would have been her fourth, after Natasha Richardson, Joely Richardson and Carlo Gabriel Nero) and a break up with her then partner and father of her son, Franco Nero. This was around the same time her equally political brother Corin introduced her to the Workers Revolutionary Party, a group who aimed to destroy capitalism and abolish the monarchy. Her film career began to suffer and take the back seat as she became more involved with the party, twice unsuccessfully attempting to run as a party member for parliament, only obtaining a very small percentage of votes. In terms of her film career at the time, she was given probably the smallest part in the huge ensemble who-dunnit hit, Murder on the Orient Express (1974) and given another thankless small part as Lola Deveraux in the Sherlock Holmes adventure The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976). After a celebrated Broadway debut, she created further controversy in 1977 with her involvement in two films, firstly in Julia (1977) where she acted opposite Jane Fonda as a woman fighting Nazi oppression and narrated and featured in the documentary The Palestinian (1977) where she famously danced holding a Kalashnikov rifle. She publicly stated her condemnation of what she termed "Zionist hudlums", which outraged Jewish groups and as a result a screening of her documentary was bombed and Redgrave was personally threatened by the Jewish Defense League (JDL). Julia (1977) happened to be a huge critical success and Redgrave herself was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar, but Jewish support groups demanded her nomination to be dropped and at the event of the Academy Awards burned effigies of Redgrave and protested and picketed. Redgrave was forced to enter the event via a rear entrance to avoid harm and when she won the award she famously remarked on the frenzy causes as "Zionist hoodlums" which caused the audience to audibly gasp and boo. The speech reached newspapers the next morning and her reputation was further damaged. It came as a surprise when CBS hired her for the part of real life Nazi camp survivor Fania Fenelon in Playing for Time (1980), despite more controversy and protesting (Fenelon herself didn't even want Redgrave to portray her) she won an Emmy for the part and the film was one of the highest rating programs of the year. Her follow up film work to her Oscar had been mostly low key but successful, performances in films such as Yanks (1979), Agatha (1979), The Bostonians (1984), Wetherby (1985) and Prick Up Your Ears (1987) further cemented her reputation as a fine actress and she received various accolades and nominations. However mainly in the 1980s, she focused on TV films and high budget mini-series as well as theatre in both London and New York. She made headlines in 1984 when she sued the Boston Symphony Orchestra for $5 million for wrongful cancellation of her contract because of her politics (she also stated her salary was significantly reduced in Agatha (1979) for the same reason). She became more mainstream in the 1990s where she appeared in a string of high profile films but the parts often underused Redgrave's abilities or they were small cameos/5-minute parts. Highlights included Howards End (1992), Little Odessa (1994), Mission: Impossible (1996) and Cradle Will Rock (1999), as well as her leading lady parts in A Month by the Lake (1995) and Mrs Dalloway (1997). In 2003 she finally won the coveted Tony award for her performance in 'The Long Day's Journey Into Night' and followed up with another two Tony nominated performances on Broadway, her one woman show 'The Year of Magical Thinking' in 2007 and 'Driving Miss Daisy' in 2010 which not only was extended due to high demand, but was also transferred to the West End for an additional three months in 2011. Vanessa continues to lend her name to causes and has been notable for donating huge amounts of her own money for her various beliefs. She has publicly opposed the war in Iraq, campaigned for the closure of Guantanamo Bay, supported the rights of gays and lesbians as well as AIDs research and many other issues. She released her autobiography in 1993 and a few years later she was elected to serve as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. She also famously declined the invitation to be made a Dame for her services as an actress. Many have wondered the possible heights her career could have reached if it wasn't for her outspoken views, but being a celebrity and the artificial lifestyle usually attached doesn't seem to interest Redgrave in the slightest. Vanessa has worked with all three of her children professionally on numerous occasions (her eldest daughter, Natasha Richardson tragically died at the age of 45 due to a skiing accident) and in her mid 70s she still works regularly on television, film and theatre, delivering time and time again great performances.
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  • XAVIER SAMUELActor

    Xavier Samuel was born on December 10, 1983 in Hamilton, Victoria, Australia. He is an actor, known for Love & Friendship (2016), Fury (2014) and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010).
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  • David ThewlisActor

    David Thewlis was born David Wheeler in 1963 in Blackpool, Lancashire, to Maureen (Thewlis) and Alec Raymond Wheeler, and lived with his parents above their combination wallpaper and toy shop during his childhood. Originally, he came to London with his band Door 66, however he changed his plans and entered Guildhall School of Drama. He had minor roles in films and TV until he took the main role in Naked (1993). The film won him several awards including the New York Critics Award. He has since been in many other films including DragonHeart (1996), Restoration (1995), Black Beauty (1994) and he took the part of Professor Remus John Lupin in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) and it's sequels. Recently, he starred in the third season of FX's Fargo (2014). He lived with the British actress Anna Friel from 2001-2010. They have a daughter, Gracie Ellen Mary, born July 9, 2005.
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  • Derek JacobiActor

    Preeminent British classical actor of the first post-Olivier generation, Derek Jacobi was knighted in 1994 for his services to the theatre, and, in fact, is only the second to enjoy the honor of holding TWO knighthoods, Danish and English (Olivier was the other). Modest and unassuming in nature, Jacobi's firm place in theatre history centers around his fearless display of his characters' more unappealing aspects, their great flaws, eccentricities and, more often than not, their primal torment. Jacobi was born in Leytonstone, London, England, the only child of Alfred George Jacobi, a department store manager, and Daisy Gertrude (Masters) Jacobi, a secretary. His paternal great-grandfather was German (from Hoxter, Germany). His interest in drama began while quite young. He made his debut at age six in the local library drama group production of "The Prince and the Swineherd" in which he appeared as both the title characters. In his teens he attended Leyton County High School and eventually joined the school's drama club ("The Players of Leyton"). Derek portrayed Hamlet at the English National Youth Theatre prior to receiving his high school diploma, and earned a scholarship to the University of Cambridge, where he initially studied history before focusing completely on the stage. A standout role as Edward II at Cambridge led to an invite by the Birmingham Repertory in 1960 following college graduation. He made an immediate impression wherein his Henry VIII (both in 1960) just happened to catch the interest of Olivier himself, who took him the talented actor under his wing. Derek became one of the eight founding members of Olivier's National Theatre Company and gradually rose in stature with performances in "The Royal Hunt of the Sun," "Othello" (as Cassio) and in "Hay Fever", among others. He also made appearances at the Chichester Festival and the Old Vic. It was Olivier who provided Derek his film debut, recreating his stage role of Cassio in Olivier's acclaimed cinematic version of Othello (1965). Olivier subsequently cast Derek in his own filmed presentation of Chekhov's Three Sisters (1970). On TV Derek was in celebrated company playing Don John in Much Ado About Nothing (1967) alongside Maggie Smith and then-husband Robert Stephens; Derek had played the role earlier at the Chichester Festival in 1965. After eight eventful years at the National Theatre, which included such sterling roles as Touchstone in "As You Like It", Jacobi left the company in 1971 in order to attract other mediums. He continued his dominance on stage as Ivanov, Richard III, Pericles and Orestes (in "Electra"), but his huge breakthrough would occur on TV. Coming into his own with quality support work in Man of Straw (1972), The Strauss Family (1972) and especially the series The Pallisers (1974) in which he played the ineffectual Lord Fawn, Derek's magnificence was presented front and center in the epic BBC series I, Claudius (1976). His stammering, weak-minded Emperor Claudius was considered a work of genius and won, among other honors, the BAFTA award. Although he was accomplished in The Day of the Jackal (1973) and The Odessa File (1974), films would place a distant third throughout his career. Stage and TV, however, would continue to illustrate his classical icon status. Derek took his Hamlet on a successful world tour throughout England, Egypt, Sweden, Australia, Japan and China; in some of the afore-mentioned countries he was the first actor to perform the role in English. TV audiences relished his performances as Richard II (1978) and, of course Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (1980). After making his Broadway bow in "The Suicide" in 1980, Derek suffered from an alarming two-year spell of stage fright. He returned, however, and toured as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company (1982-1985) with award-winning results. During this period he collected Broadway's Tony Award for his Benedick in "Much Ado about Nothing"; earned the coveted Olivier, Drama League and Helen Hayes awards for his Cyrano de Bergerac; and earned equal acclaim for his Prospero in "The Tempest" and Peer Gynt. In 1986, he finally made his West End debut in "Breaking the Code" for which he won another Helen Hayes trophy; the play was then brought to Broadway. For the rest of the 80s and 90s, he laid stage claim to such historical figures as Lord Byron, Edmund Kean and Thomas Becket. On TV he found resounding success (and an Emmy nomination) as Adolf Hitler in Inside the Third Reich (1982), and finally took home the coveted Emmy opposite Anthony Hopkins in the WWII drama The Tenth Man (1988). He won a second Emmy in an unlikely fashion by spoofing his classical prowess on an episode of "Frasier" (his first guest performance on American TV), in which he played the unsubtle and resoundingly bad Shakespearean actor Jackson Hedley. Kenneth Branagh was greatly influenced by mentor Jacobi and their own association would include Branagh's films Henry V (1989), Dead Again (1991), and Hamlet (1996), the latter playing Claudius to Branagh's Great Dane. Derek also directed Branagh in the actor's Renaissance Theatre Company's production of "Hamlet". In the 1990s Derek returned to the Chichester Festival, this time as artistic director, and made a fine showing in the title role of Uncle Vanya (1996). More heralded work of late include profound portrayals of the anguished titular painter in Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon (1998), the role of Gracchus in the popular, Oscar-winning film Gladiator (2000), and sterling performances in such films as Two Men Went to War (2002), Bye Bye Blackbird (2005), The Riddle (2007), Endgame (2009), The King's Speech (2010), Jail Caesar (2012), and as the King in Cinderella (2015). Continuing to mesmerize on the stage, he has turned in superb performances in "Uncle Vanya" (2000), Friedrich Schiller's "Don Carlos" (2005), _A Voyage 'Round My Father (2006), "Twelfth Night" (2009) and the title role in "King Lear" (2010). On the British TV series front, he has commanded more recent attention in the title role of a crusading monk in the mystery series Mystery!: Cadfael (1994), as Lord Pirrie in Titanic: Blood and Steel (2012), as Alan in Last Tango in Halifax (2012), and as Stuart Bixby in Vicious (2013). He and his life-time companion of three decades, Richard Clifford, filed as domestic partners in England in 2006. Clifford, a fine classical actor and producer in his own right, has shared movie time with Jacobi in Little Dorrit (1987), Henry V (1989), and the TV version of Cyrano de Bergerac (1985).
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