This is Knightly and Wright’s third film together, having also teamed up for “Pride & Prejudice” and “Atonement.” Appropriately, there’s something that feels more mature about this project than their previous two. Maybe it’s the Leo Tolstoy source material or maybe it’s the fact that Knightley seems more comfortable letting herself go in Wright’s hands, but the trailer for “Anna Karenina” has a bit more bite than their other two collaborations.
Though she’s playing the movie’s titular character, Knightley isn’t the only reason we’re excited for this film. Aaron Johnson plays her lover, calvary officer Vronsky, and we’re thrilled to see him in a period piece (and speaking in his native British accent). Jude Law takes a more subdued turn as Anna’s husband, Karenin, and we’re looking forward to seeing him challenge Knightley on the big screen.
When MTV News caught up with Knightley while she was promoting “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World,” she said that fans should expect to get a different type of movie in “Anna Karenina” than they had in “Atonement” and “Pride & Prejudice.”
“The only similarity, I think, in the work is that they’re both based on novels. I think this one is very different, but then I would say that ’Atonement’ is very different from ’Pride & Prejudice,’ ” she said. “This one’s very different in that it’s much more theatrical. It’s not a naturalistic take on the piece. It’s a very theatrical, dramatic take on the piece, which for when the trailer comes out that will make a lot more sense, when people start seeing it.”
Well, having now seen the trailer, we’d agree that it does feel very theatrical. It works great in this tease of the movie, but our one hope is that the visual style holds up over the course of a two hour film. “Anna Karenina” contains some heavy material, so we think that Wright’s decision to not adapt the novel straight was smart. And it looks like he and Knightley have really outdone themselves this time in creating a truly beautiful piece of art.
Of course, the true theatricality of this movie is actually more literal than that. Wright filmed “Anna Karenina” at and near one single location: a theater built from scratch at London’s Shepperton Studios. That’s the set piece we see frequently in this trailer, and it will be interesting to see how that one location works in the movie as a whole.
“Anna Karenina” is due out in theaters in the US on November 9.
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