Roland Emmerich and Edward de VereRoland Emmerich, whose name forever will be linked to two of the most popular science fiction films of the late 20th century, 'Stargate' and 'Independence Day,' has set his sights on a more prosaic subject: William Shakespeare.

After destroying the Earth in '2012,' which will open Nov. 13, the famed disaster-movie director is going to destroy "the image of Shakespeare," according to a report at IGN Movies. His next project will be 'Soul of the Age,' a drama that explores the controversial theory that Edward de Vere (pictured), the 17th Earl of Oxford, was the true author of the works of Shakespeare. The film, written by John Orloff ("Band of Brothers"), is scheduled to begin shooting in March. Roland Emmerich and Edward de VereRoland Emmerich, whose name forever will be linked to two of the most popular science fiction films of the late 20th century, 'Stargate' and 'Independence Day,' has set his sights on a more prosaic subject: William Shakespeare.

After destroying the Earth in '2012,' which will open Nov. 13, the famed disaster-movie director is going to destroy "the image of Shakespeare," according to a report at IGN Movies. His next project will be 'Soul of the Age,' a drama that explores the controversial theory that Edward de Vere (pictured), the 17th Earl of Oxford, was the true author of the works of Shakespeare. The film, written by John Orloff ("Band of Brothers"), is scheduled to begin shooting in March.

It's certainly a change of pace for the German-born director, whose biggest subject so far has been 1998's 'Godzilla.' But the director is no newcomer to controversy: His 'The Day After Tomorrow' came in for much criticism because of its endorsement of theories about global climate change. This outing will certainly ask Emmerich to ground himself with more earthbound theories. The debate over Shakespeare and his work has raged on for centuries; in addition to de Vere, Sir Francis Bacon and Christopher Marlowe have been put forth as possible authors of the bard's work.

According to Emmerich, the "very well-researched" script is a political thriller that takes place in Elizabethan England. There will be a few historical liberties taken for dramatic purposes, Emmerich said. Like maybe Shakespeare was the original 'E.T.'?

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