Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy’s epic romance novel, is about to get a Hollywood makeover. Focus Features announced today that Joe Wright, the director of Pride & Prejudice, Hanna and Atonement, will team up with Keira Knightley for a third time when she steps into Anna’s classic shoes for an adaptation penned by renown playwright Tom Stoppard (Shakespeare in Love) and produced by Working Title Films. Jude Law will play Anna’s husband, Aleksei Karenin, and Aaron Johnson (Kick-Ass) will play her young lover, Count Vronsky. Kelly Macdonald, Emily Watson, and Domhnall Gleeson (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) will also star alongside other Wright favorites, Matthew Macfadyen (Pride & Prejudice) and Olivia Williams (Hanna).
The story takes place in late 19th century Russia, and explores various relationships between members of Russian high-society. “Joe Wright is a master filmmaker, and with Tom Stoppard’s brilliant screenplay this Anna Karenina will be full of both pageantry and emotion,” Focus Features CEO James Schamus said in a release. Fans of Knightley’s iconic green dress from Atonement will be happy to know that the film’s costume designer, Jacqueline Durran, has signed on as well.
Karenina will commence filming in the U.K. and Russia this month. Focus Features will distribute the movie domestically, and Universal Pictures International internationally, in the second half of 2012.