Book to Movie #2: Anna Karenina (September 2012)

Book cover of Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

I’m not sure why, but the upcoming Anna Karenina film seems to have slipped under the radar somewhat. I like to think I’m reasonably up-to-date on future adaptations, but I only found out about this one when my boyfriend taunted me with the fact that, once again, one of my favourite books is being turned into a movie starring one of my least favourite actresses. And lo and behold, it’s the Same Damn Woman as the last time this happened.

Keira Knightley played Elizabeth Bennett in the movie remake of Pride and Prejudice back in 2005, but frankly I’d rather cosy up to David Cameron than watch that drivel again, and that’s never going to happen. The director, Joe Wright, then returned in 2007 with Atonement, again starring Keira Knightley. Now he’s back to make us all grind our teeth in irritation as she attempts to play Anna herself. I can only, honest-to-God assume she’s sleeping with him, because it’s nigh-on impossible to believe she gets these roles through any form of acting talent. 

To be fair, even before I started stalking the film online, I could visualise her in the role. As a still photograph, perhaps. Looking at the images, she does look pretty damn perfect. It’s not far off how I pictured Anna myself. I can’t fault her stylist, make-up artist or any of them – until she opens her mouth or, you know, breathes, I actually love her for this role.

Keira Knightley and Jude Law in Anna Karenina, 2012For those who don’t know the story, Anna Karenina is a huuuge book by the author of War & Peace, Leo Tolstoy. Anna is in a loveless marriage with Alexei Karenin and pursues a passionate affair with a military officer, Vronsky. Karenin eventually files for divorce, but the law in Russia at the time dictated that the guilty party had to admit their affair or be caught in the act for a divorce to be granted. There are numerous sub-plots involving an awful lot of other people, but that’s the main plot summary.

Karenin, Anna’s husband, is played by Jude Law in the movie – a choice that surprised me, but that clicks perfectly into place when I think about it. He’s a great actor. Doesn’t he look strange in the photo to the above right though – because yes, that is Jude Law.

Aaron Johnson as Count Vronsky in Anna Karenina, 2012

What surprised me even more is the choice for the role of Vronsky – he’s played by Aaron Johnson, otherwise known as Kick-Ass. I haven’t seen him in anything else so I can’t really comment, but it’s a fair change of roles! I’m not a fan of how they’ve made him look though – he looks like what would happen if you crossed a highwayman with the Goblin King.

Apparently this particular version of Anna Karenina will put more weight on one of the subplots of the novel – the romance between Levin and Kitty. From what I remember, it didn’t seem to be particularly relevant in the novel so it will be interesting to see how they’ve sparked it up a little.

I reckon they’ll tweak the message
of the novel a little to update it and make it more pro-feminist.
Tolstoy intended his work to show Anna as a ‘fallen woman’ although she
eventually comes off as a heroine because he fell in love with his character, so I’m almost positive they’ll really
pump up the empowerment.

Anna Karenina 2012 movie - Keira Knightley and Aaron JohnsonI’m actually really looking forward to this movie and I can’t wait to see a trailer. Irrational Hatred of Keira Knightley and Pirate-style Johnson aside, it looks pretty much perfect. Most importantly for me, the tone and style looks excellent, although I suppose Joe Wright has had plenty of experience with period adaptations. Judging by the few photos available, it looks like it will be a wonderful movie.

Read my thoughts on the upcoming movie, The Great Gatsby. 


  1. Hannah says:

    I once dreamt that I fell in love with David Cameron while having tea with the Queen.

    No. I don't know either.

  2. Bex says:

    I hate Keira Knightley a lot. When I heard about this I sulked for DAYS. Anna Karenina was the first classic I read that wasn't enforced by education and I love it so much, and I so hate the pouty, over enunciated awful that is Ms Knightley. Aargh.

    Rant over, I will still see the film probably…

    1. Hanna says:

      And that's why I love book bloggers – because they understand my hatred for That Woman. She's just awful and I'd be looking forward to the film SO MUCH if it wasn't for her!

      I've been forbidden from talking about it now, Lewis is so sick of hearing this rant 🙂

  3. Sophia says:

    I'd rather stick with Jude Law myself, but that might alter the story a little too much! I like the fact that there will be more focus on Levin and Kitty, though. At least it will take away some screen time from Frightley!

    1. Hanna says:

      Haha, you're right on both counts – a) that I'd much rather stay in the marital bed with Jude Law and b) that less time with That Woman is always a blessing! 🙂

  4. Ellie says:

    I'm guessing it's probably not a good thing that the photo of Aaron Johnson made me giggle before I'd even had time to register it properly? *envisions an entire cinema erupting into hysterics at the most inappropriate moments*

    Now I REALLY need to buy the book, finally. They had a copy at Mind this morning, but not the translation I'm after, so…. 🙁

  5. I knew exactly who you were on about before i even saw her name! She's over rated as an actress but I do like her. I must get around to reading this book before her acting ruins it for me 🙂

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