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First Look At Keira Knightley, Jude Law & Aaron Johnson In Joe Wright's 'Anna Karenina'

by Kevin Jagernauth
January 31, 2012 10:33 AM
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Yawn. Another stuffy costume drama and adaptation of "Anna Karenina," a story we've seen played out more than once on the big screen and small. Who cares, right? Wrong. While the latest from Joe Wright, which sees him reteam with his "Atonement" and "Pride & Prejudice" star Keira Knightley, might seem like an easy lay-up, in the director's typical fashion, he's raising the bar. As was recently revealed in an extended profile in Empire magazine, Wright choose to make the production nearly entirely on a single stage, in a take that has been described as experimental, taking place in an "elastic universe" that will include toy trains and dollhouses standing in for exterior locations.

Well, out of the pages of the same issue come our first looks at Keira Knightley as Anna, Aaron Johnson as the blond haired and mustachioed Count Vronsky and Jude Law as Alexei Karenin. While the costumes may look conventional (and by that we mean, beautiful), the approach is anything but. Earlier this month Knightley told us the film would be a "much more theatrical version" of the story we've seen before, and nope, you won't be hearing any phony Russian accents, as the cast have all kept their native tongues.

The film is currently slated for a September 7th release in the U.K., and we'd wager a U.S. release will fall around the same time, and given that's right in the Venice/Telluride/TIFF scrum, a festival appearance of some kind seems likely.

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  • hobo | June 19, 2012 8:42 AMReply

    saw a pre release audience preview of this last night, terrible is all I can say, wanted to leave but as it was to guage audience reactions i stayed til the bitter end.

  • goose | March 12, 2012 7:21 AMReply

    no one carse about her

  • Keira Knightely jacket | June 2, 2012 7:26 AM

    Such a lovely post to share.

  • Gemini71 | March 7, 2012 11:08 AMReply

    I am still waiting for some feedback on me mentioning about Holliday Grainger being cast as The Baroness. Why won't someone, other than myself, acknowledge that she is one of the main cast members?

  • Gemini71 | February 22, 2012 12:03 PMReply

    Why has no-one commented on Manchester-born actress Holliday Grainger playing the part of The Baroness? Lots of feedback on Johnson, Knightley and Law. She is most definitely on her way to A-list stardom, and yet, none of the chat mentions her name.

  • emrysa | February 11, 2012 4:11 PMReply

    Oh!!! :O Mon Aaron est BLOND!!!!! Qu'est-ce qu'on lui a fait?! Heureusement qu'il est fantastique!!!! :D <3

  • Just me | February 9, 2012 3:41 PMReply

    I'd like to see this film.
    All that clever guys who reply with matching errors in English, I would like to see how you comment in Russian. Good luck :)

  • Paulina | February 5, 2012 4:31 AMReply

    OMG Vronsky looks awfull!

  • Gemini71 | February 4, 2012 12:55 PMReply

    Rising British starlet Holliday Grainger ('The Borgias', 'Great Expectations') is playing The Baroness. No images of her in this role, but I intend to search for some, as well as one or two showing her as Estella in the movie adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic novel.

  • Kanerwa | February 3, 2012 4:15 PMReply

    Johnson looks like Martin Gore from Depeche Mode in 80's , don't like it.But of course Keira is just stunning.

  • Drakosha | February 2, 2012 5:46 AMReply

    Keira Knightley is not Anna Karenina, Keira Knightley is a trash... (((

  • t4 | February 2, 2012 6:09 PM

    What is "a trash"? Come back when you learn better English.

  • Giovanna | February 2, 2012 2:57 AMReply

    Non vedo l'ora di vederlo!

  • russian2 | February 1, 2012 3:11 PMReply

    R u fucking crazy to portray Vronsky as unbelievable junkie after first shot? Who's idea was to give him the wig made of Mom's pussy hair?

  • get | February 1, 2012 5:03 PM

    Stay classy. JFC keep on embarrassing your country with these comments.

  • tanya | February 1, 2012 2:29 PMReply

    u Anna bessmislennoe viragenie lica. vozmogno prosto neudachnoe photo. Karenin viglyadit naibolee ubeditelno.

  • tanya | February 1, 2012 2:35 PM

    Вронский просто страх божий

  • Marie | February 1, 2012 2:19 PMReply

    I'm a Russian and a fan Lev Tolstoy. An frankly, I think that if somebody wants to make a film from this classic novel, they have all the rights to. Hell, they can make it with puppets if they want, they can make it a comedy, anything. (They are making a Pride & Prejudice & Zombies flick, after all). It is their right, and if you don't like the idea, don't watch it.

    That being said, I do find these pictures silly . Not because "Foreign actors can't play Russians", but because I think that these people overpower the character. I don't see Anna, I see Keira Knightley in a fur hat. And fake-bald Jude Law still being, well, typical, good-looking Jud Law.

    But most importantly, I hope they do their best not to stoop to typical Hollywood stereotypes about Russian people. Which, unfortunately, they often do with high-budget films in order to please a more general audience (I guess).
    And please, no accents. Those are just plain ridiculous.

    p.s.: somebody please tell Keira, that if she continues to play in costume dramas, she must gain some weight, and not look like a starving peasant.

  • ec | February 1, 2012 5:07 PM

    Are you expecting these photos to move or something à la Harry Potter so you can get a ~sense~ of the characters? You have to be the only person in the world who thinks Jude Law is good looking here. Also, Marie, there are people who are naturally skinny in this world. I know it's hard to believe. Keira is pear-shaped, look it up.

  • PIPEC | February 1, 2012 2:04 PMReply

    Yobani v rot!!!!

  • ♥♥♥♥♥ | February 17, 2012 10:10 PM


  • ПИПЕЦ | February 1, 2012 2:03 PMReply

    йобанныййй в рооот!!!111111

  • s | February 1, 2012 12:34 PMReply

    I am so embarrassed to be Russian after reading some of these comments. I wish Joe Wright and the cast the best of luck, there is no reason why only Russians should be adapting this book.

  • ou | February 1, 2012 12:49 PM

    waits not "waites"
    "You can always act some Crazy Ivan there." I don't even understand what you're trying to say. Actually your entire comment is nonsensical. As is your rant below.

  • Siberian forester | February 1, 2012 12:42 PM

    There's no need in being embarrased. Emigrate any time, Hollywood waites for you. You can always act some Crazy Ivan there.

  • Siberian forester | February 1, 2012 11:43 AMReply

    Cool! One more Ivan Drago, one more Tatiana Romanova, one more Ivan Danko and general Turgenev. Such funny poor efforts, Western films about Russia are always next to nothing. Again and again: balalaika, vodka, samovar, cossacks - nothing more about Russia. Sorry, I've forgotten: who will act Stalin in this film? Will Stalin eat Dr. Zhivago? Shall we enjoy evil Vladimir the Khan of Universe trying to nuke democratic countries? Will Northern Koreans help Great Khan? Shall we loose our heart watching the brave attacks of courageous bear cavalry?

  • YEAH | February 2, 2012 2:50 AM

    Perfect comment! You made my day:) You forgot - all actors in this film have to be drunk and unshaven - even Anna Karenina.

  • S | February 1, 2012 12:41 PM

    You need to chill. The damn movie isn't even out yet and you're already trashing it?

  • fr | February 1, 2012 10:23 AMReply

    Does the Playlist have a spam/abuse policy because the comments by Graf Karenin, Grisha and Tolstoy are nothing but Russian swear words.

  • SOVIET | February 1, 2012 10:20 AMReply

    West actors can't play russians correctly, because they don't know anything about them.

    Offtop: There is a discrimination of cyrillic fonts!

  • j | February 1, 2012 12:29 PM

    What are we, a different breed of people or something next to Westerners? What is it that they can't play "correctly"?

  • JoJo | February 1, 2012 10:22 AM

    No, I think it's just more that we don't give a fuck about Russkies, so there's no point in learning anything about them.

  • Soviet | February 1, 2012 10:10 AMReply

    Ну они совсем охренели. Опять всё испоганят.

  • Graf Karenin | February 1, 2012 9:33 AMReply

    Kto, blyad`, vse eti ludi?

  • russian | February 1, 2012 9:26 AMReply

    fu$king bastards

  • NIKKI | February 1, 2012 7:57 AMReply

    18th Century +Jude Law= I'm there.

  • Anton | February 1, 2012 10:08 AM

    19th century

  • Grisha | February 1, 2012 7:03 AMReply

    Vot suki!

  • Tolstoy | February 1, 2012 6:10 AMReply

    Yobanny pisdez!

  • авпывап | February 1, 2012 1:35 AMReply


  • Вася | February 1, 2012 12:42 AMReply

    У Киры слишком английское лицо, остальные похожи на русских.

  • Jennie | January 31, 2012 9:12 PMReply

    Everyone looks stunning, especially Keira. I am very excited for this version of Anna Karenina, especially because I think Jude Law and Keira Knightley are going to kick ass in this!

  • dolorescraeg | January 31, 2012 8:14 PMReply

    i have seen several versions of anna karenia and this one looks to be visually stunning. amazing how cameleon like jude law is....great actor.

  • fdakfdjaklj; | January 31, 2012 5:42 PMReply

    wtf did they do with Vronsky...

  • viviana | January 31, 2012 5:02 PMReply

    I hope Wright will not ruin this book as he did with Pride and Prejudice. The only one that I really loved was Atonement.

  • JAS | July 9, 2012 4:33 PM

    Not sure he ruined the book so much as not read it or understood it. I wish he would steer clear of adapting classic literature.

  • katie | January 31, 2012 8:33 PM

    'Katie; may not have liked it, but there's no accounting for taste for people with low attention spans. LMAO that's cute. Yeah I lack the attention span for the BBC series. Give me a break, that miniseries is dated as hell, utterly miscast and dull. My taste is not inferior to yours for preferring the film version. One of my favorite movies is the TV version of Fanny and Alexander. How's my taste now, Andy?

  • Andy | January 31, 2012 8:14 PM

    'Pride' wasn't ruined, it was a clever adaptation like the way the recent Jane Eyre was - both didn't take away from the BBC mini-series versions though which were superior. 'Katie; may not have liked it, but there's no accounting for taste for people with low attention spans.

  • Katie | January 31, 2012 5:23 PM

    LOL "ruin the book." He breathed life and energy into that stale, dour story. Unless you like your Elizabeth matronly and perpetually pissed, he also improved on the BBC miniseries significantly.

  • Jess | January 31, 2012 5:13 PM

    I completely disagree, I thought Pride and Prejudice was beautifully shot and extremely well acted. Atonement was great depressing of a story as it was.

  • kim | January 31, 2012 3:38 PMReply

    Jude Law looks impressive. I can't wait to see this !

  • beeb | January 31, 2012 3:03 PMReply

    looks like a flop.

  • Jeff | January 31, 2012 5:47 PM

    What do you mean by flop, and how can you tell that it "looks like" one? The term "flop," when applied to motion pictures, generally refers to ones that are expected to have broad mainstream appeal yet do little business at the box office and fail to turn a profit. I doubt that an arty adaptation of classic Russian literature has its eyes on blockbuster status. How well it does will depend almost entirely on its critical and festival reception, which is of course impossible to gauge right now.

  • Crees | January 31, 2012 3:25 PM

    Looks glorious. Keira is perfect for the part of Anna, and Jude Law and Aaron Johnson are
    always exciting. I can't wait to see this movie.

  • James | January 31, 2012 2:09 PMReply

    Very excited by Wright's unusual take on the piece. Even more excited to hear there will be NO ACCENTS!!! Yes! So tired of American/English actors speaking English with goofy sounding affected foreign accents. Either shoot in the original language, or not at all. I LOVE the UK "Wallander" series for this same reason.

  • brandy | January 31, 2012 4:16 PM

    Yeah, and then on the other hand, you get complaints of "why do all the Russians have British accents?" So there's no pleasing everybody. By the way, I do agree with you, though.

  • Sasha | January 31, 2012 2:01 PMReply

    What do you know about this novel? What is the main idea of the famous Tolstoy`s story? What will they show? How married woman felt in love to a man? But this story is not about it. Anna is not the main character of novel.
    Why did Keira Knightley get a role of Anna? Look at pictures of that age. She does not look like Russian lady.
    Once I saw American Evgeniy Onegin. I suppose it would be so awful as that Onegin.

  • SASHA | February 4, 2012 2:49 PM

    you didn`t answer my questions. So I can make a conclusion that you have not read this book. I would like to recommend you to read it in English. Unfortunately I don`t know the best issue in English. I hope you are agree that it is very important a translation quality. Also I like Russian adaptation of this story by Sergey Solovyov. It was produced in 2009 year. It might be in English. It is the best one that I have seen. I saw American version of 1935. It is very funny, believe me. And if you want, we can stop. It is ok =)

  • t | February 2, 2012 6:11 PM

    "And you are not quite polite though you are a fellow Russian" Yeah Russians are looking mighty polite with the comments on this page. Just stop.

  • Sasha | February 1, 2012 5:27 AM

    2 T

    Have you ever read this novel? What do you think about Levin? Do you know that Anna and Levin, they are like black and white? I`m interested in how they show his thoughts, emotions, values etc. Without it this movie would be just about an adultery.

    By the way, you are right. I`m Russian. And every foreign movie about Russia that I have seen was funny at the least. There were mistakes in words, abuses which meanings were awful, etc.

    And you are not quite polite though you are a fellow Russian =))))

  • Antom | February 1, 2012 4:15 AM

    Actually she may pass as Russian lady.

  • mAx | February 1, 2012 1:36 AM

    Tatyana Samoilova in the role of Anna Karenina

  • t | January 31, 2012 2:46 PM

    How about you watch the movie before you criticize the story they decide to focus on. Have you read the screenplay already? And what does a Russian lady look like exactly? It's obvious you're Russian and pissed non-Russians are adapting this story but really, get a grip and get over it. I say this as a fellow Russian.

  • georgina | January 31, 2012 1:47 PMReply

    Aaron Johnson as Alexei Vronsky looks too sugary. Anna to love such a sickly-sweet babe?
    But Jude Law is impressive, at least his image coincides with the one much discussed during literature lessons. Keira is also convincing despite her thinness. Anna is plump if to read the novel attentively.

  • Nik Grape | January 31, 2012 1:16 PMReply

    Looks and sounds fantastic. I relate to the over-directing statement below about Wright, so I hope he takes a more relaxed and less blatant approach with this classic story.

  • jhg | January 31, 2012 12:18 PMReply

    Gorgeous. Here's hoping Keira finally gets some much-deserved acclaim for this role, sick of her constantly getting shafted.

  • Huffy | January 31, 2012 11:55 AMReply

    Not a huge fan of Wright (he's got talent but he over-directs to a fault in every single movie) but this should at least put him back in his comfort zone of Pride and Prejudiced after his last two movies. Color me intrigued.

  • ANTON | February 1, 2012 4:18 AM

    Yes Hanna was really bad movie but Atonement is pretty good. I watched it and almost cry at the end.

  • OOGLE MONSTER | January 31, 2012 10:45 AMReply

    Wow Aaron Johnson looks strange but I'm SUPER STOKED for this. Joe Wright has quickly become one of my favorite new directors. Hanna is underrated and deserved more awards season love and Atonement is one of the best film adaptations in recent years. I think he will do a great job. Oscar 2013 here we goooo!

  • a sapphire earinged one | February 20, 2012 8:51 PM

    Jo Wright take on this masterpiece is an Amazing one. He is the best director to work with!!!
    It is a Fantastic Movie!!!

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