Back in 2005, actress Keira Knightley teamed with director Joe Wright for an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, which received four Oscar nominations including one for Knightley, and two years later they were back with another period adaptation of the novel Atonement, which was even more successful.
Now it’s five years later and the two have reteamed for an adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic piece of literature, Anna Karenina, written by Tony award-winning playwright Sir Tom Stoppard. This time, they’ve taken a far more unconventional approach to Tolstoy’s 19th Century serialized novel, setting the story on a large soundstage with elaborate backdrops and hundreds of extras as the actors walk from one scene to the next. Knightley plays the title character, a Russian woman torn between two men, a handsome younger military man, Count Vronsky, played by Aaron Johnson-Taylor, and her loving husband Karenin, a St. Petersburg diplomat played by Jude Law. They’re surrounded by a who’s who of UK talent including Matthew Macfadyen, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Macdonald, Shirley Henderson and Emily Watson.
Back in September, when ComingSoon.net attended the Toronto International Film Festival, we had a chance to speak to Knightley, Wright and some of the rest of the cast and we thought it made sense to start with Knightley and Wright, who have established quite a strong creative collaboration through their work together. In some way, the interviews below are a bit like the old “Newlywed Game” where we asked one of them questions and then the other to see if their stories matched.
First up, we have Keira Knightley talking about:
* Her relationship with director Joe Wright
* How the idea came about to do “Anna Karenina” together
* How playwright Tom Stoppard got involved
* Whether she had any preconceived notions of the character
* Shooting the movie on soundstages
* How she hasn’t started to shoot Jack Ryan yet (Mind you, this interview was done back in early September)
* His own relationship with Keira and how it came about
* Whether he felt “Hannah” was a palate cleanser for him
* Shooting on soundstages
* What some of the challenges were in adapting the Tolstoy novel
* What he might want to tackle next (back in September, he didn’t know)
Anna Karenina opens in select cities on Friday, November 16. Look for our video interview with Keira’s co-star Jude Law sometime next week.