If you haven’t seen Anna Karenina yet then it is a movie that you really need to check out as it is Joe Wright at it’s very best.
The movie sees Keira Knightly team up with Jude Law for the adaptation of the Leo Tolstoy novel and they pair deliver great performances.
Law chats about the movie and his role:
- Your character, Karenin, is younger and fresher than many we know. Were you surprised when you were asked to play the part?
No. I wasn’t surprised. I was intrigued and challenged and therefore excited by it. I wanted to make sure that Joe [Wright, the director], Tom [Stoppard, the screenwriter] and I were all on the same page.
It seemed to me from Tom’s adaptation that Karenin had a more human side, that he was very three-dimensional as opposed to just being the cynical, loveless bore of a bad guy. Joe clearly saw that as well.
So I was just intrigued by the challenge. It wasn’t a case of wanting to ‘age up’, but it was a leap of faith on Joe’s part of how physically do we show this?
How do we just nuance that Karenin is a little older than I am and that he is a different type of man, a different type of person. Whenever anyone throws a challenge like that in my field, I jump at it. It is what makes the work exciting.
- Your performance is very still and studied. Was that difficult to achieve?
One of the challenges was that simplicity and I am always looking to try new things. I sometimes feel very comfortable in more physical and expressive roles and it was nice to try something very different.
Joe also created this beautiful world of colours and balletic movement, and a lot of choreography.
It is a real dream-like vision of that particular society in Russia and within that I wanted Karenin to be calm and metronomic.
He has this marvellous clockwork feel, so I wanted to minimalize everything and also I hoped that it would portray his introspection and his inability to express his emotions.
- What did you think of Keira’s performance as Anna?
It is interesting. I was excited to work with her on Joe Wright’s new film because I think that her work with Joe has always been her best. He pushes her into very uncommon roles, roles that are loved and adored by people.
What was extraordinary was it was like she was freed, playing a real woman – not a young woman or a girl – and seeing her in that complexity I felt we were seeing her grow wings.
She has never looked more beautiful, but that is not important. What is important is that the beauty seemed to come because she was so given over to the downfall of this woman and the anti-heroine aspect of Anna Karenina.
That is very bold, very fearless acting. I really think it is her best performance to date.
- Now that you have turned 40, is there a difference in the type of roles that come your way?
I certainly hope so, and looking at other actors’ careers, for a man, I think your 40s can be really fruitful, with more emphasis on one’s acting. I suppose with age comes complexity and with complexity for me comes good roles.
I am quite liberated by the prospect and excited by it. The 20s and 30s for a young actor and actress can be a minefield where you are putting on labels – ‘the new person on the block’, ‘the new face’, and those are not what actors want to deal with.
Some do, but I never had any interest in that, so the prospect of getting to an era where it is just about the parts and the work is really, really exciting to me.
I just hope that they come my way. In the last few films I feel that has happened. And long may it last.
- Apparently your children weren’t impressed with your haircut in Anna Karenina?
They weren’t very happy with my haircut. As they get older they enjoy what I do but I think they find it baffling and amusing, and the haircut didn’t go down very well.
I bought a lot of hats and wore a lot of hats for three or four months, especially at school pick up!
Anna Karenina is out on Blu-ray and DVD now