Working Title, Keira Knightley and Joe Wright have done well together so far with the period Oscar contenders "Pride & Prejudice" and "Atonement." But the director and star don't always do as well apart with more contemporary material--see Knightley's "London Boulevard" or "Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" or Wright's "Hanna" or "The Soloist." We will see if Wright and Working Title's "Anna Karenina," adapted by Tom Stoppard from Leo Tolstoy's Russian classic, will help Knightley recover from recent reviews with a second Oscar nomination (after "Pride & Prejudice"). After all, what better role to play than Karenina, passionately in love with a dashing officer ("Kick-Ass" star Aaron Johnson) as her husband (Jude Law) battles for control and society looks on.
The trailer below gives a glimpse of Wright's Expressionist cinematic approach to dropping viewers inside Russian culture--using a stage proscenium framing device and swirling images that conjure up "The Russian Ark." Check out these new photos (via Kinopoisk).
The film's Oscar fate will be revealed when Focus Features unveils the movie this September at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film will open in some European countries in advance of its November 16 stateside release.
The costume epic boasts a strong UK cast: Matthew Macfadyen (Oblonsky), "Boardwalk Empire" star Kelly Macdonald (Dolly), "The Ghostwriter" star Olivia Williams (Countess Vronskaya), "Breaking the Waves" star Emily Watson (Countess Lydia) and "Borgias" star Holliday Grainger (The Baroness).
Universal is also gung ho on the period musical "Les Miserables," Tom Hooper's $60-million follow-up to "The King's Speech," starring Hugh Jackman (Valjean), Russell Crowe (Javert) and Anne Hathaway (Fantine) --none of whom charged their full freight--and would have liked to book it into festivals as well, but the picture just wrapped and will arrive dripping in theaters on December 14. I wouldn't be surprised if the studio pushed the film back a week.