By Drew Taylor | The Playlist September 8, 2011 at 8:47AM
As Promised, Keira Knightley, Jude Law & Aaron Johnson To Star
Well, Joe Wright and Focus Features have locked down the cast for their lavish adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's classic novel "Anna Karenina," and it seems like a full house of talent – in addition to the already confirmed Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Johnson, Matthew Mcfadyen ("Pride & Prejudice") and Olivia Williams, the film has added Domhnall Gleeson ("Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows"), Alicia Vikander ("The Seventh Son"), Emily Watson, and Ruth Wilson (BBC series "Luther").
As wonderful as the assembled cast is, there are some notable performers who didn't make the cut. Andrea Riseborough, who was announced for the film back in June, seemingly didn't make the cut. Neither did Benedict Cumberbatch, James McAvoy and Saoirse Ronan, who Wright told us he was "waiting on" back in April while promoting his outstanding action movie "Hanna" (which just came out on DVD and Blu-ray - yay synergy).
Details about the technical crew were revealed as well, with Dario Marianelli, who memorably composed the music for Wright's "Pride & Prejudice," "Atonement" and "The Soloist," will provide the score (guess those hoping for revisionist Chemical Brothers will be disappointed); while certifiable genius Philippe Rousselot will be the film's cinematographer and Jacqueline Durran (who has worked on all of Wright's movies besides "Hanna") will provide costumes with Sarah Greenwood (another Wright regular) heading up production design. They will all be working from a script by the unstoppable playwright Tom Stoppard.
The film will adhere closely to the source material, with a 19th Century Russian setting and a tortured female protagonist, the titular character (to be played by Knightley). The release date has been tentatively delivered as "the second half of 2012," probably for maximum Academy Awards impact.
Part of us wishes that Wright, who did such a dynamite job with the modern globe-trotting espionage of "Hanna," would have followed that film with something just as cutting edge and contemporary. However, it seems he has gone back to his "Atonement" and "Pride & Prejudice" mode – stately, handsome, weepy historical drama that looks very pretty and wins lots of awards. We're sure it will be expertly put together and it's hard to argue with a cast this good, but we just wish he would concern himself -- for at least another couple of movies -- with the here and now.