Anna Karenina movie- Knightley was terrified of playing the heroine

Posted on 6 September 2012
By Camilla McNatty
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The second half of 2012 is turning into a period full of literary adaptations and Keira Knightley is at the helm playing Tolstoy’s infamous character, Anna Karenina.

With favourites such as On the Road, The Great Gatsby, Great Expectations and The Perks of Being a Wallflower hitting screens in the upcoming months, Knightley has spoken of the difficulties she encountered whilst portraying the Russian leading lady.

Pictured at the premiere last night with co-star Jude Law, Knightley looked stunning in a Chanel Couture peach, floor length gown and managed to leave behind any worries she had over playing the role of one of literature’s finest heroines.

The most recent interpretation of Leo Tolstoy’s novel, set in 19th Century Russia, left Knightley feeling terrified of her performance, despite previously playing literary characters in both Atonement and Pride and Prejudice.

Speaking of the aristocrat, she said: ‘It is a role that has been played so many times and exercises a fascination over so many people, playing Anna was absolutely terrifying.’

‘One of the most daunting aspects was trying not to simplify her at all and actually go with all the complexities.’

She continues that at times she really hated playing the socialite: ‘I wanted to shake her and tell her to pull herself together. There were times when I thought, I really hate this person. You can completely see where she’s coming from, but you want to choke her at the same time because at no point can she see what is right in front of her.’

The Pirates of the Caribbean star said: ‘All the characters that I’ve played have, on the whole, been quite likeable. Anna is a little more intense, she’s needy and manipulative. It makes you really dislike her sometimes, but then you look at her and think: ‘Fuck, have I ever behaved like that?’ And, most of us have, let’s face it.’

‘She’s so consumed by lust, she doesn’t see what’s in front of her. As an actor, it’s my job to try and work out why people do the things they do.’

Anna Karenina hits cinemas nationwide this weekend.