While director Joe Wright has his teenage-assassin flick "Hanna" ready to kick some ass in theaters this weekend, he's already got his eye on his next project, an adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's classic "Anna Karenina." There has been plenty of movement in recent weeks on the project. He’s already got longtime collaborator Keira Knightley on board, and Aaron Johnson and Jude Law are also vying for roles. In addition, Saoirse Ronan was also rumored and we had been hearing about the possibility of James McAvoy as well. And it looks like they weren't just idle whispers.
We caught up with the director this week to chat about "Hanna" and we couldn't help but ask about "Anna Karenina" and the always forthright helmer confirmed some of the names above, but tossed in a couple of new ones and revealed that he's waiting to hear back from Ronan and McAvoy.
"Keira's confirmed, Jude Law's confirmed, Aaron Johnson's confirmed, Kelly Macdonald's confirmed, Benedict Cumberbatch is confirmed. I'm still waiting on Saorise and James," Wright said to us though he noted, "I'm not sure about James, he recently just had a baby so [he's busy]."
Macdonald has been making her mark over the past few years, and her profile has risen considerably of late, first by her turn in "No Country For Old Men" and more recently with her work in the acclaimed HBO hit series "Boardwalk Empire." The same goes for Cumberbatch who is lining up one helluva 2011, currently performing in Danny Boyle's stage production of "Frankenstein" and he's got Steven Spielberg's "War Horse" and Tomas Alfredson's "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" both due in theaters this year.
There's no word yet on the roles being lined up for Ronan, McAvoy, Macdonald or Cumberbatch. But they would join Knightley who has the lead role with Law playing her husband Karenin and Johnson as her lover Vronsky. As we guessed a few days ago, we think Ronan's involvement might be dependent on what her schedule is with "The Hobbit," which yes, isn't locked in just yet, but seems to be something she's had conversations about thus far.
It sounds like one helluva cast Wright is bringing together, and should the stars align, the film will go in front of cameras this fall. "Hanna" hits this Friday, April 8th. --interview by Drew Taylor