Anonymous is a 2011 political thriller film directed by Roland Emmerich and written by John Orloff. The film is a version of the life of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, an Elizabethan courtier, playwright, poet and patron of the arts, and suggests he was the actual author of William Shakespeare's plays. It stars Rhys Ifans as de Vere and Vanessa Redgrave as Queen Elizabeth I of England. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2011. Produced by Centropolis Entertainment and Studio Babelsberg and distributed by Columbia Pictures, Anonymous was released on October 28, 2011 in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, expanding to theaters around the world in the following weeks. The film was a box office flop and received mixed reviews, with critics praising its performances and visual achievements, but criticizing the film's time-jumping format, factual errors, and the filmmakers' promotion of the Oxfordian theory of Shakespeare authorship.