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"He'll be an empty-headed robot, wandering around Hollywood. He'll be fine."
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June 04 2011

Olivia Williams cast in Joe Wright's Anna Karenina. She will play Countess Vronskaya.

Filming begins in September in Russia and the United Kingdom.

I unfortunately know nothing about this book other than how massive it is. (And it got that Android Karenina "public domain classic meets random trope" thing)

She was one of the three to four most amazing elements of that last Joe Wright movie Hanna though. (The soundtrack, the rest of the acting, and the art direction were all pretty good, it just came out a little messy and vaguely unsatisfying for an indie-style action film. An idea which I otherwise love.)
I love the novel--it's immense, in all senses of the word, and perhaps one of the greatest books ever written and I cannot imagine Keira Knightley as Anna K. at all. I'm not a fan of her as an actress and can't see her portraying the pain, suffering and elated love of Anna Karenina at all.

However, Saoirse as Kitty makes a lot of sense. I'm not familiar with Aaron Johnson, but Jude Law would make more sense as Vronsky, though age-wise, he wouldn't fit.

Oh well. I doubt I'll watch this movie; the only really satisfying adaptation of a classic, beloved novel I've ever seen was the BBC Pride and Prejudice. Great books rarely translate to great movies.
I really enjoyed Wright's movie adaptation of Atonement (and even tolerated/liked Keira Knightley's performance, which is rare for me). But I couldn't bring myself to watch his Pride and Prejudice; the trailers just made it look like he really, really wanted to make Wuthering Heights instead and the casting choices seemed bizarre to me.

I don't think I'll watch this either, unfortunately. I love classic Russian fiction, but fitting Anna Karenina into a single film seems a task impossible to achieve with any degree of subtlety. And again, the casting choices don't seem to fit my conceptions of the characters - though I do think the always-sublime Olivia Williams could make a wonderful Countess Vronsky!
i"...the only really satisfying adaptation of a classic, beloved novel I've ever seen was the BBC Pride and Prejudice."

This one is also my favorite adaptation. :) However, running a very close second is the BBC's production of "Henry Fielding's Tom Jones" with Max Beesley as Tom Jones and John Sessions as Henry Fielding. For what ever reason, I just thoroughly enjoyed the heck out of that version.

I also think they did a good job of adapting "To Kill a Mockingbird." You know, the one with Gregory Peck?

Those three books along with "The Count of Monte Cristo" (which no one has ever managed to adapt successfully IMO, dammit) and "The Color Purple" ( Maybe it was a good movie, if you don't know the source material, but not a good adaptation, IMO.) are on my list of "Top Five Classic Novels that I would want on a Desert Island." I reserve the right to also have separate desert island lists for modern fiction, children's fiction, sci-fi/fantasy, comic books, and non-fiction. Otherwise, it's just way too painful to whittle down. ;) ...I think I better get ship wrecked with a steamer trunk.

*shuffles feet* Uh, I haven't gotten around yet to "Anna Karenina."
Maybe a Kindle and a solar recharger?

I had a coworker who was born in a village in China, and he told me that "The Count of Monte Cristo" was big back home (in translation, of course.)
I agree, dottikin ... Keira Knightley strikes me as a really weird choice for Anna K. And not in a good way. I love Olivia Williams, but I may just reread the book instead of watching this one.
Ildeth, in my opinion, Pride and Prejudice is wholly superior to Atonement; i have read the novel, seen and loved the bbc adaptation, and still loved the movie; give it a chance someday.
I don't know, I think Knightley is a solid actress. And since this is apparently the supermodel version of Russian aristocracy anyway, I suppose it works for me.
One of my favorite novels. Speak Tolstoy to me, Olivia Williams!
Joe Wright's ace. P&P is fab. And his Charles II was good.
It will be great to see Olivia in a period piece. I can't wait, actually. I like Joe Wright's films, though I think the Keira Knightly casting as mentioned at the top of topic, is like, "What...?" She had some admirable spunk and wit in Pride and Prejudice, but she didn't make me forget other performances; i.e., she was slightly more than just passable. Jude Law is only 12 years older than KN, so playing her 20-years-older husband who bores her is odd, unless they really age him (and he's so good-looking, I agree, he'd be better as Vronsky).
It will be great to see Olivia in a period piece. I can't wait, actually.


Agreed. Every period piece she touches turns into awesome, imo, especially the 1996 Emma adaptation--without her there as Jane, it's pretty lackluster. I think she'll be a great fit here. :)

Anyway, in general, I'm super excited for this. I needed an excuse to get back to reading Anna Karenina, and this is as good as any.
I can't get too het up about it--I wouldn't be likely to see this anyway, I think I have issues with Knightley not just because of faults I see in her as an actress, but also I can't see her as anything but a very British woman. The character of Anna Karenina is completely Russian, down to her very bones, and a woman of intense passion. A young (and very beautiful) Helen Mirren would have been perfect. Keira Knightley, while lovely as can be, I cannot quite see.

But yes, read the book! It's glorious and will break your heart a little or maybe a lot.
While I can't comment on the logic of casting Keira Knightley as Anna Karenina as either bad or good - I've only seen Ms. Knightley in the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films and The Phantom Menace - maybe the casting director saw her in the fairly recent remake of Doctor Zhivago as Lara and thought she can do Russian characters well?

Still, I wonder how this interpretation will rate against the version of the Tolstoy novel where it was Pierce Brosnan Bond Film Villain Old Home Week, with Sophie Marceau (Electra King in The Wold Is Not Enough) and Sean Bean (Alec Trevelyan/Janus in GoldenEye) as the main leads.
One of my favorite books ever, and the one that turned me on to other great Russian lit like Dostoevsky, Master & Margerita, etc. I don't know that I have high hopes for a two-hour adaptation, but with Olivia in it they'll at least get me in the theater.

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