Knightley, 27, practically lives in the 19th Century on screen. Her performance in the Tolstoy classic is passionate and breathtaking. Is there an Oscar in her future, or at least a British equivalent, the BAFTA?
The Russian novel, scandalous for its time, has been made into films seven times before, going back to 1915. Silent film actress Betty Nansen first brought Anna alive on the silver screen. The most acclaimed version, released in 1935, stars Greta Garbo, Fredric March, Basil Rathbone and Maureen O’Sullivan.
Knightley will also have backing from a solid cast. Alicia Vikander plays Kitty, Jude Law plays spurned husband Alexei Karenin, Aaron Johnson is Count Vronsky and Matthew Macfadyen plays Oblonsky, Anna’s brother.
Anna is an aristocrat and socialite in a lifeless marriage who has a scandalous affair with the wealthy and dashing Count Vronsky. It ultimately ends tragically.
The clip, which runs for about five minutes, opens with Knightley as Anna at a lavish ball. She’s pursued relentlessly by the count while the room is atwitter with gossip. Her husband, the older, dignified Alexei shows up to take her home and she casually blows him off.
Alexei leaves without a fight and the hot-blooded Vronsky continues his quest, threatening to leave for a distant posting, unless Anna tells him not to. She seems to want to be rid of him at first, but gives in to her desires and begs him not to go.
Her other period dramas include 2005’s “Pride & Prejudice,” “Atonement” and “Silk” in 2007, “The Duchess” in 2008 and “A Dangerous Method” last year. She’s been nominated for an Oscar and Golden Globe as best actress for “Pride & Prejudice” and has also been nominated for a BAFTA.
Check out the clip below: