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Netflix is taking on Tolstoy with Anna K., its first-ever Russian original series. The new drama is a modern-day retelling of Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel Anna Karenina. Svetlana Khodchenkova (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) will play the titular lead.
In the updated Netflix version, Anna Karenina is a socialite and wife of the soon-to-be governor of St. Petersburg, who enters a life-changing love affair with Vronsky, the dashing heir of an aluminum empire. Their affair threatens the delicate balance of their familial bonds and social relationships.
Anna Karenina is considered one of the greatest novels of all time. It begins with one of the most oft-quoted lines in literature: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
The sprawling epic has been adapted multiple times in multiple languages for film and television, including a 2012 feature from Joe Wright starring Keira Knightley as Anna Karenina and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Vronsky.
Roman Kantor, the writer behind hit Russian series To The Lake, which airs on Netflix worldwide, will write the modern-day adaptation.
“To bring Anna Karenina into 21st-century Russia and to simultaneously introduce her to the whole world in her own language (and many others) through the miracle of Netflix is a dream come true for me,” said Kantor. “Quite literally so, as the idea for this tv series came to me in a dream and I have been chasing it ever since.”
1-2-3 Production, the Moscow-based shingle behind To The Lake, will produce Anne K. Kantor will take on directing duties together with Valeriy Fedorovich, Evgeniy Nikishov, Natasha Merkulova, and Aleksey Chupov. Kantor, Fedorovich, Nikishov, and Sergey Kornikhin of 1-2-3 will produce. Shooting will take place on location in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
“We are incredibly proud to announce our first Russian series with 1-2-3 Production,” said Netflix’s director of original series Michael Azzolino in a statement. “The talented team of writers, directors, and producers have crafted an imaginative and immersive series. We are excited to help bring their vision for this much-admired story to our members in Russia and the world.”
“We are really proud to be a part of one of the first Netflix projects in Russia – it is a big honor and a huge responsibility,” added Kornikhin “To rephrase the famous quote, it is a small step for our company, but a huge step for the whole industry.”
Anne K. will screen on Netflix worldwide. The show does not yet have a premiere date.
In the past few years, Russia has become a booming market for high-end drama. Roskino, a government group that promotes Russian film and TV worldwide, will hold its annual Key Buyers Event from June 8-10, screening new home-grown films and series to international buyers.
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