Keira Knightely is all over the place, but in a good way. Her newest costume drama, Anna Karenina, will hit U.S. theaters November 9, although it released September 7 in the UK, and was also shown at the Toronto Film Festival in early September. Directed by Joe Wright, who Knightely has worked with before on Pride and Prejudice and Atonement, this costume drama will prove to be more frivolous in spectacular shots.
Fans and audiences can expect a little more than the awe-causing natural lighting scenes and scenery which is common with any Wright movie. Scenes of in-theater horse races and extravagant balls and dinners will truly show the essence of the Russian elite lifestyle, teamed with unique angle.
The film is based on the 1977 novel written by Leo Tolstoy and according to Wright he was trying to portray people who lived their lives as if they were on stage. Wright took that point of view and ended up filming most of it in a theater, adding a different viewing experience. Knightely, who feels Wright’s version of Anna Karenina is different and “not safe,” said in an interview that “the rules of a period film have been completely broken,” and that since it’s “a story that has been done a lot, whats the point of doing a safe adaptation?”
Knightely claims that stories like Anna Karenina are studies of the human condition, and the constant use of veils or the extreme ballroom-dancing decor in the film say a little something about the characters playing this Russian elite. During the photo shoot for the Vogue October issue, Knightely channels her own Anna Karenina as she poses in similar period attire. Wright told Vogue in an interview that Knightely has “enthusiasm for delving into the deeper recesses of her characters,” allowing her to fully channel Anna in every line and longing glance.
But what about the fashion? There is all sorts of veils, gowns, hats and fur. The painfully spectacular gowns Knightely wore in the Vogue shoot are just, if not more, fabulous then the costumes in the film. Wright, who has a love for costume gave in to all indulgences for the films costume design. Knightely is dressed in silks and duchess satins, with accessories, which were all Chanel, paired to create contrast.
In Anna Karenina, even the dresses have their own stage. The famous ballroom scene, for example, where Anna makes Vronsky her conquest, has her dressed in a black taffeta-and-tulle gown that literally overpowers the soft pastels of every other woman present. Later, when Anna is publicly ostracized at the theater, Wright puts Keira in exactly the same dress, only this time in sparkling white, as though there is no place she can hide her shame [V].
Talk about fashion with a meaning!