By Maggie Lange | Thompson on Hollywood September 9, 2011 at 2:30AM
Joe Wright has firmed up his cast, led by Keira Knightley, Jude Law, and Aaron Johnson, for his epic film of Tolstoy's classic Anna Karenina. This will be Joe Wright's third film for Working Title, Focus Features and UPI, following other successful Knightley-starrers, 2005's Pride & Prejudice and 2007's Oscar-nominated Atonement. Knightley has received mixed reviews for her performance in David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method. Wright also shot The Soloist for Working Title and Hanna for Focus.
In this ambitious saga about nineteenth-century Russian high-society, Knightley will star as the wavering titular character, trying to navigate societal and familial expectations with other passions. She will star opposite Jude Law, who plays Anna's covetous husband, Aleksei Karenin, and Aaron Johnson, as her lover, Count Vronsky. Kelly Macdonald, Matthew Macfadyen, Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, Emily Watson, Olivia Williams and Ruth Wilson also star.
Wright will direct these actors in Tom Stoppard's scripted-adaptation of Tolstoy's magnum opus. Stoppard previously won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for his work on Shakespeare in Love. Working Title Films will begin filming this potentially masterful collaboration in the UK and Russia this month.
Working Title is also assembling another 19th century drama, William Nicholson's screen adaptation of Cameron Macintosh's long-running musical adaptation of Victor Hugo's post-French Revolution epic, Les Miserables, set for December 12, 2012 Universal release. Oscar-winning Tom Hooper (The King's Speech) was chasing Hugh Jackman (resilient Jean Valjean) and Paul Bettany (Inspector Javert) at one time. Now Broadway.com reports that actor/musician Russell Crowe is in talks to join Jackman as Javert, and Helena Bonham Carter may also join the project as the wife of Thenardier.
Here's TOH's slate interview with Working Title's Eric Fellner.