Keira Knightley is featured in lavish costumes and couture gowns for the October issue of Vogue. She stars in the upcoming adaption of Leo Tolsoy’s epic novel, Anna Karenina that comes out November. The film reunites Knightley with director Joe Wright, who she worked with on Atonement andPride Prejudice, which earned her an Academy Award nomination.
Knightley confesses the dramatic roles she takes on are of female characters that have a bite to them and do not have their lives mapped out for them. This is evident in characters like Elizabeth Bennet from Pride & Prejudice, Georgiana from The Duchess and Sabina Spielrein from A Dangerous Method; women who take chances and are prepared to live with the consequences of their choices.
“I’m not really interested in the kinds of women who just take off their clothes or have a sex scene and then say something cool,” she declares.
The story of Anna Karenina follows Anna’s descent into emotional and physical deterioration once she realizes the consequences of her actions – she is shunned by society, cut off from her child and fearful that she will abandoned by her lover. Knightley sees the character of Anna, in the way Tolstoy writes her as both a villain and heroine.
“When I reread the book last summer, I went, ‘Oh!’ It’s not a romance at all. I don’t think that Tolstoy is saying this is what you should do for love; quite a lot of the time he is saying the reverse. He hates Anna at certain moments. She is both a villain and a heroine. She can be incredibly vain and manipulative. She is somebody who breaks her own moral code, and yet the shame and disgust she lives with because of that make her fascinating.”
Joe Wright, Keira Knightley’s frequent collaborator remarks on how much the 27-year-old actress has matured since they first worked together. Her penchant for delving deeper into a character’s psyche is what made Wright eager to work with Knightly again.
“Now she’s 27. She’s grown into an incredibly strong, powerful, and passionate woman. I was very excited to capture Keira in this new form. She has an extraordinary intellect and is never shy of expressing that.”
Jude Law and Aaron Johnson, Keira Knightley’s two bookends in Anna Karenina also appear in the October issue of Vogue.
Joe Wright puts a different spin on his version of the classic Tolstoy story by portraying the film as a theatrical piece with most of the scenes filmed in one sound stage with revolving sets.
Jude Law goes against his usual hunky leading man roles by playing Anna’s stodgy aristocratic husband, Alexei Karenin. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is Count Vronsky, Anna’s young dashing and debonair lover who she risk everything for.
Jude Law felt the history between Joe Wright and Keira Knightly created an intense working relationship between the star and director.
“There’s a language already going on between them. That was very clear in rehearsal. A trust. And there’s something about the two projects they chose to do prior to this that underscores what they were trying to achieve with Anna Karenina.”
Aaron Taylor-Johnson was amazed by the research and preparation Keira Knightly put into creating her character.
“I’ve never seen anyone do so much prep,” he told me. “She breaks down every line and analyzes it. She crafts each scene. She can feel the rhythm to it. Everything was so controlled, including her voice and the way she projected it.”