By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist June 3, 2011 at 2:22AM
Benedict Cumberbatch Out, Choosing To Do Brit WWI-era Mini-series
It's been a while since we've heard anything on Joe Wright's "Anna Karenina" -- mostly because the press rounds for "Hanna" have ended -- but today comes a fresh bit of casting news about the film. But before we get to that, let's just re-cap for a second shall we? Last fall, came first word that Keira Knightley would re-team with her "Atonement" and "Pride & Prejudice" director for the film. Then, this spring, Jude Law and Aaron Johnson came aboard with Joe Wright later saying that Kelly Macdonald and Benedict Cumberbatch had joined the film, and that he was waiting on Saoirse Ronan and James McAvoy to confirm.
Well, as the Daily Mail reports, there have been minor tweaks, adjustments and additions to the film. First off, it appears that Cumberbatch's commitments to the upcoming WWI-era British television miniseries "Parade's End" -- in which he'll co-star with Rebecca Hall and appear in nearly ever scene -- will prevent him from taking part in "Anna Karenina" so Matthew Macfadyen will step in instead. Additionally, the cast has been beefed up by Andrea Riseborough, Olivia Williams and Domhnall Gleeson all joining.
So, the way it stands now, this is how the casting will play out. Knightley is slotted in the lead role of Anna, with Law as her husband Alexei Alexandrovich Karenin. Macfadyen will play Oblonsky, with Madonald as his wife Dolly. Johnson will play Anna's lover Vronsky with Williams playing Countess Vronskaya, his mother. Gleeson will play Levin and finally, Ronan will play Kitty, Dolly’s sister. No mention of McAvoy who we presume has moved on. Either way, the cast coming together on this is very strong and we're excited to see what they'll pull together.
The film has a script from Tom Stoppard who has tackled the epic story and whittled it down to a two hour film. The plan is for "Anna Karenina" to go in front of cameras in September, with lensing to take place in Britain and Russia.