Saturday, June 4, 2011


Jude Law
Director Joe Wright is no stranger to literary adaptations. "Pride & Prejudice" and "Atonement" look great on his resume, although, to be honest, his version of the Jane Austen novel doesn't even come close to the 1995 BBC mini-series starring Colin Firth. Then again it's kind of hard to defeat 6 hours of faithful narrative. Now, Wright has taken on the task of adapting Leo Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina". Not an easy task at all, as the movie has had countless big screen and TV adaptations, two of the more recent being the 2000 TV mini-series starring Helen McCrory and Kevin McKidd and the 1997 movie starring Sophie Marceau, Sean Bean and Alfred Molina.

Keira Knightley
So far the movie has  barely even finished the casting process, with all the key roles accounted for. Wright's favorite actress, Keira Knightley (worked together on both of his previously mentioned movies), has signed on to play Anna, while her "Pride and Prejudice" co-star Matthew Macfayden will play her brother, Prince Stepan Oblonsky. Jude Law is set to play Alexei Karenin, Anna's husband, and Aaron Johnson ("Kick-Ass") got the part of Count Vronsky, Anna's lover. Other unknown roles have been assigned to Saoirse Ronan, Olivia Williams (both have worked with Wright on "Hanna"), Kelly MacDonald ("Boardwalk Empire", "Trainspotting"), Andrea Riseborough ("Happy-Go-Lucky", "Made in Dagenham") and Domhnall Gleeson ("Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows", "True Grit").

Wright clearly has a talented cast on his hands, though I'm still on the fence about Knightley. Knowing the director's previous works, it should be a lavish production filled with excellent art direction, a lush score and beautiful cinematography. Remains to be seen just how faithful he can stay to the source material with the limited running time and pacing issues that a cinematic project involves (the novel is about 800 pages long). Filming begins this fall, in Russia and the UK.


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