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Exclusive: Joe Wright “Waiting On” Saoirse Ronan & James McAvoy To Confirm For ‘Anna Karenina’

Exclusive: Joe Wright "Waiting On" Saoirse Ronan & James McAvoy To Confirm For 'Anna Karenina'

‘Hanna’ Director Says Benedict Cumberbatch & Kelly Macdonald Have Joined The Cast

While director Joe Wright has his teenage-assassin flick “Hanna” ready to kick some ass in theaters this weekend, he’s already got his eye on his next project, an adaptation of Leo Tolstoy‘s classic “Anna Karenina.” There has been plenty of movement in recent weeks on the project. He’s already got longtime collaborator Keira Knightley on board, and Aaron Johnson and Jude Law are also vying for roles. In addition, Saoirse Ronan was also rumored and we had been hearing about the possibility of James McAvoy as well. And it looks like they weren’t just idle whispers.

We caught up with the director this week to chat about “Hanna” and we couldn’t help but ask about “Anna Karenina” and the always forthright helmer confirmed some of the names above, but tossed in a couple of new ones and revealed that he’s waiting to hear back from Ronan and McAvoy.

“Keira’s confirmed, Jude Law’s confirmed, Aaron Johnson’s confirmed, Kelly Macdonald‘s confirmed, Benedict Cumberbatch is confirmed. I’m still waiting on Saorise and James,” Wright said to us though he noted, “I’m not sure about James, he recently just had a baby so [he’s busy].”

Macdonald has been making her mark over the past few years, and her profile has risen considerably of late, first by her turn in “No Country For Old Men” and more recently with her work in the acclaimed HBO hit series “Boardwalk Empire.” The same goes for Cumberbatch who is lining up one helluva 2011, currently performing in Danny Boyle‘s stage production of “Frankenstein” and he’s got Steven Spielberg‘s “War Horse” and Tomas Alfredson‘s “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” both due in theaters this year.

There’s no word yet on the roles being lined up for Ronan, McAvoy, Macdonald or Cumberbatch. But they would join Knightley who has the lead role with Law playing her husband Karenin and Johnson as her lover Vronsky. As we guessed a few days ago, we think Ronan’s involvement might be dependent on what her schedule is with “The Hobbit,” which yes, isn’t locked in just yet, but seems to be something she’s had conversations about thus far.

It sounds like one helluva cast Wright is bringing together, and should the stars align, the film will go in front of cameras this fall. “Hanna” hits this Friday, April 8th. —interview by Drew Taylor

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Benedict Cumberbatch would make an excellent Levin. Whilst I was queuing for Frankenstein tickets at the National Theatre, I was reading Anna Karenina and that thought instantly struck me. So BC actually being cast in Anna Karenina is delightful news (and very intuitive of me too, haha)!


I am certain Mr. Cumberbatch chooses his roles for the character, the director and the scope of the film, (the stage, tv, radio) regardless if it’s a US or UK production, right now he can choose anything he wants – as the world is his well-deserved oyster – If I could give him any advice, (by way of Richard Burton) – never act for the money but as the son of two fabulous actors, he probably knows this already.


they don’t have slavic faces and temper, bloody…


Of course, Levin knew Kitty when she was a little girl, too.


The cast is very predictable. You can virtually imagine how they’ll play the roles. McAvoy shouldnt be in this and not fussed on Law either. Hell why didnt Wright just put in Romola Garai instead of Kelly and be done with it and call it Atonement 2


Must be odd for actors who act with child actresses only to then have to play love scenes with them a few years later.


Kitty is 18. Saorise looks 18…. what’s the problem.


I’d rather Cumberbatch took some lead roles in US films and ditched playing minor spear carrying roles in UK films. They maybe interesting minor roles but he’s a leading man actor and not a supporting actor. By all means take occasional supporting roles if the character is interesting but its been one supporting role after another for years. His new fame due to Sherlock and Frankenstein should be helping him get bigger roles.


Would be creepy seeing McAvoy with the little girl in Atonement. Even if she is grown up now. Cumberbatch would make a better Levin.


I;d have liked Cumberbatch to play Levin. Is McAvoy always going to get the jucier roles over him! Not fair. Cumberbatch is a better actor.


I’m more excited about Benedict Cumberbatch. They should have given him Jude Law’s role.


Jude Law should be Karenin!


This sounds AMAZING, but am I the only one who feels a little iffy about the possibility of Ronan and McAvoy playing lovers? Not because of their previous roles in Atonement, but because she is only soon-to-be 17 after all?


The cast is amazing! Cumberbatch and Macdonald are probably playing Oblonsky and Dolly!


OMGGGGGG, i love this cast. Best cast EVER……


Ronan as Kitty and McAvoy as Levin would be amazing.

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