Atonement director Joe Wright is likely to do well this weekend with his new ‘teen assassin’ film Hanna, but he’s already looking forward to the future. His next film could well be a return to the more literary work we’ve come to expect from the man: an adaptation of Leo Tolstoy‘s classic novel Anna Karenina. He’s mentioned the film left and right, and has Keira Knightley set for the lead role, with Aaron Johnson and Jude Law previously said to be possible additions.

And now the director says that he’s waiting for a yes or no from Hanna star Saoirse Ronan and from James McAvoy.

Speaking to The Playlist, Joe Wright said,

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.

That’s quite an update, but we don’t know what roles will be filled by Ronan, McAvoy, Cumberbatch or Macdonald. We do know that Keira Knightley plays the title character, who escapes her loveless marriage by being entangled in a romance with a soldier that then-current Russian society deemed very illicit. Jude Law will be Karenin, and Aaron Johnson Vronsky. (The last two characters being Anna’s husband and lover, respectively.) That’s a solid cast, which will hopefully be up to the task of adapting what is often called the greatest novel ever written. Aaron Johnson, in particular, is an eye-catching choice for Vronsky, and will be a big part of why this could be worth a look.

If things go well the film will shoot later this year, so we could see it in 2012. Oh, and the script is by Tom Stoppard, which is a wonderful thing.

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