The Earl of Oxford Edward de Vere
Played by Rhys Ifans (older) and Jamie Campbell Bower (young)
Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, was a soldier, scholar, venture capitalist, world traveler, playwright, poet, patron of the arts, and champion jouster - in short, he was a true Renaissance man. Many believe that he is the true author of the plays attributed to William Shakespeare.
• As a young man, to young Queen Elizabeth: Oxford was wildly popular at court - he and the Queen shared a love for dancing, literature, and theater. Court gossip sometimes implied that they were more than friends.
• As an older man to older Queen Elizabeth: After an affair with her majesty's Lady of the Bedchamber, Oxford was banished from court. Desperate to regain the favor of the Queen and to repay his mounting debts, Oxford took measures unheard of for a nobleman.
• To the Earl of Southampton: The Earls of Oxford and Southampton shared a love for the arts and theater. Both men had lost their fathers at a relatively young age, giving them another shared bond. But some historians are convinced that the two share an even deep connection.
• To William Shakespeare: If Shakespeare is not the author of the plays, who is it? Many believe that Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford is the best candidate.
Rhys Ifans (Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford) is one of Britain's finest contemporary actors. He was born and raised in Wales, attending youth acting schools at Theatre Clwyd, Mold, and appeared in many Welsh language television programs before embarking on his film career.
His breakout performance came in 1999 in Roger Michell's Notting Hill, opposite Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, for which he received a BAFTA nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role. Prior to that, Ifans starred in Charles McDougall's Heart, Kevin Allen's Twin Town (along side his brother Llyr Evans), Anthony Hopkins' August and Karl Francis' Streetlife.
Since 1999, Ifans has appeared in more than 20 films, including Andy Hurst's You're Dead; Clare Kilner's Janice Beard 45wpm; Edward Thomas' Rancid Aluminium; Dominic Anciano's Love, Honour and Obey; Ed Bye's Kevin and Perry Go Large; Howard Deutch's The Replacements; Steven Brill's Little Nicky; Michel Gondry's Human Nature; Ronny Yu's Formula 51; Mike Figgis' Hotel; Lasse Hallström's The Shipping News; and Shane Meadows' Once Upon A Time in the Midlands.
More recently, Ifans starred in Noah Baumbach's Greenberg, with Ben Stiller; Gregor Jordan's Informers; Jaco van Dormael's Mr. Nobody; Jeff Balsmeyer's Danny Deckchair; Shekhar Kapur's Elizabeth: The Golden Age; Peter Webber's Hannibal Rising; Francesca Joseph's Four Last Songs; Martha Fiennes' Chromophobia; Roger Michell's Enduring Love, which earned him a nomination for Best British Actor Award by Empire magazine; and Mira Nair's Vanity Fair.
On television, he played the role of Peter Cook in Terry Johnson's "Not Only But Always," for which he won the BAFTA for Best Actor. He also appeared in "Shakespeare Shorts"; "Trial and Retribution"; "The Two Franks"; "Judas and the Gimp"; "Night Shift"; "Spatz"; "Burning Love"; and "Review." In 2005, Ifans made a guest appearance for the rock band Oasis in the video for their single "The Importance of Being Idle," for which he accepted their award for Video of the Year at the 2005/6 NME Awards. He also starred in James MacDonald's "A Number."
In the theater, he has appeared at the Donmar Warehouse in Robert Delamere's "Accidental Death of an Anarchist," Patrick Marber's "Don Juan in Soho," and Michael Sheen's "Bad Finger"; at The National Theatre in Matthew Warchus' "Volpone" and Roger Michell's "Under Milk Wood"; at the Duke of York Theatre in Hettie Macdonald's "Beautiful Thing"; at The Royal Court Theatre in James MacDonald's "Thyesters"; and at the Royal Exchange in Braham Murray's "Smoke" and Ronald Harwood's "Poison Pen."