Of course, it helped that he had his two-time leading lady Keira Knightley in the film -- indeed, he’d had her in mind from the start. But (perhaps unsurprisingly, given that she was nineteen on “Pride & Prejudice,” their first collaboration), he also found himself working with a new Knightley: “She’d developed into the woman she was born to be,” Wright says. “Incredibly strong, powerful, unafraid and I wanted to bear witness to that on screen. Also her sexual awareness had developed. She was far sexier than she had been as a girl, do you know what I mean? She was this woman and i thought that was something that i hadn’t seen in her before. “
As for what's coming next, Wright says "The Little Mermaid" is still something he hopes to adapt for the screen, but don't expect it soon, as it's still deep in the discovery phase and he hasn't cracked it creatively. "Yes, that’s certainly something we’re working towards, but I’ve absolutely no idea how to do it," he laughed.
One project Wright tried to mount in 2009 was an adaptation of Alex von Tunzelmann's book "Indian Summer: The Mountbattens, Nehru and the Dying Days of the Raj," about the end of British rule in India in 1947, starring Cate Blanchett. Delayed at the time over budgetary and Indian government concerns, the director says it’s not likely coming back. “That one went by the wayside,” he said, doubtful of its return. “We found ourselves in a position with the Indian government -- they have to read every script for every film to be shot in India-- and they weren’t so keen on portrait that we were painting of of with Jawaharlal Nehru [the first independent prime minister of the country].”
Whatever Wright ends up doing next, “Anna Karenina,” like “Hanna” before it, suggests a filmmaker increasingly willing to march to the beat of his own drum (read our review here). And that’s always an exciting thing to see. “Anna Karenina” is out in the U.K. now, and will be released in the U.S. on November 16th. - Interview by Julian Carrington