Keira Knightley, though only in her mid-twenties, has already gotten to play a substantial chunk of literatures greatest heroines: Lizzy Bennet, Lara from Dr. Zhivago, Ruth from Never Let Me Go (though she's more the villain of that story) and now Anna Karenina. Personally, I've never been a fan. I think she holds all her emotion in her nose. And I don't think anyone ever plays a Vivien Leigh role better than Vivien Leigh. And I think she's too young to play Anna Karenina.
But I'm intrigued. For the texture of the time period (which I write about constantly in Nicholas & Alexandra) And largely by the drug that is ANY new adaptation of classic literature, Anna Karenina being a favorite. But also by the uber uber young Aaron Johnson (sorry I refuse to call him Aaron Taylor-Johnson) as Vronsky (he's 22! He was born in the 90's!), Matthew Macfadyn as Oblonsky (he is never ever not good) and Jude Law as Karenin. Jude Law has turned himself into a bit of joke in recent years, but I like to remember back to a time when he wasn't a leading man, but a magnificent character actor and villain. Or even more recently than that, when he was able to bring leading man focus and character actor complexity to Hamlet on Broadway and the West End. My gut says his performance as Karenin (where he lets his natural hair line free!) is the performance of this film.
But of course, it won't be all art-- not all the time. There will have to be some Hollywood cross promotions like the Anna Karenina line at Banana Republic and whathaveyou.
McC stagged us free advance screening tickets, and if my shit were here from London yet (sigh) I'd bust out my fake fur and rock it out down to the theatre. Opens everywhere November 16th.