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Envelope Screening Series

Keira Knightley and Joe Wright on dance in 'Anna Karenina'

November 17, 2012|By Rebecca Keegan

In director Joe Wright's highly stylized adaptation of "Anna Karenina," dance serves as a metaphor for characters' passions and fears.

In this excerpt from the Envelope Screening Series on Thursday, Wright and his leading lady, Keira Knightley, explain the challenges of executing that vision.

The most difficult sequence, Wright and Knightley agreed, was a dramatic ballroom scene staged by Belgian choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, involving Anna (Knightley), her paramour Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and the entire cast.

"They said at the beginning, 'If you do a bit of yoga, you'll be fine,' " Knightley said. "It's nothing to do with yoga. It felt like sprinting in circles .... Everybody got sick."

For Wright, pushing the actors to their physical limit -- to the point of literally making them vomit -- was uncomfortable as well.

"It was terrifying," Wright said. "I'm quite a nice person ... so to have to be horrible and say, 'No, that's not good enough, do it again' I find a bit challenging."


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