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Focus nabs U.S. distrib for ‘Anna Karenina’

Tolstoy adaptation stars Knightley, Law, Johnson

Focus Features has acquired domestic distribution rights to Joe Wright’s adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel “Anna Karenina,” a Working Title Films production that’s set to star Keira Knightley.

She’ll be joined by Jude Law and Aaron Johnson, who will play her husband Aleksei Karenin and Count Vronsky, respectively. Knightley previously toplined Wright’s adaptations of “Pride & Prejudice” and “Atonement.”

Kelly Macdonald (“Boardwalk Empire”) will co-star along with Emily Watson, Matthew Macfadyen, Olivia Williams, Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander and Ruth Wilson.

Tom Stoppard (“Shakespeare in Love”) adapted Tolstoy’s epic romance, which Universal Pictures Intl. will distribute overseas. Pic, which retains its original late-19th-century setting in high society Russia, will commence shooting this month in the U.K. and Russia.

It’s skedded for release in the second half of 2012.

Working Title co-chairs Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are producing with Paul Webster. Trio previously teamed on Wright’s “Atonement,” which was nominated for Best Picture.

Wright recently directed “Hanna” for Focus, and previously helmed “The Soloist” for Working Title and UPI.

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