Several aspects of this week's new release "Anonymous" are unexpected. From the controversial plot to Roland Emmerich turning away from big-budget action to tell a story about Shakespeare, much of it should surprise audiences, but one of the most interesting choices made by the creators of the film was the actor in the lead role, Rhys Ifans.
Known in the US for his smaller, oddball roles like Xenophilius Lovegood in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1" and as Curt Connors in "The Amazing Spider-Man," Ifans may not seem like the natural fit for the role of the Earl of Oxford, and when the actor sat down with MTV News' Josh Horowitz, he talked about his struggle to secure the lead in "Anonymous."
Ifans said that the first step was meeting director Roland Emmerich in his home in London and answering a question. "I read the script, and he asked me which role would I kind of be interested in. I told him, 'If I assume you are kind of a run of the mill director, you would offer me the part of Shakespeare—which Rafe Spall plays flawlessly and brilliantly—but if you were a brave and courageous director you would maybe consider me for the part of an English aristocrat who wrote the complete works of Shakespeare.'"
But Emmerich and the studio was still unsure of casting Ifans, but according the actor, the casting director stepped in to assure that he could handle the role. "I remember the casting director at the time telling Roland, 'No, honestly Roland, I've seen him in the theater. He does really good posh. He's very good at being posh,'" Ifans said.
"Anonymous" hits theaters today (Oct 28).
Are you interested in seeing Rhys Ifans in a more dramatic role? Let us know in the comments below and on Twitter!