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Netflix adapts Tolstoy as first Russian original

US-based streamer Netflix has commissioned its first original Russian-language drama, to be based on Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel Anna Karenina.

Svetlana Khodchenkova

Anna K (working title) will be set in modern-day Russia where socialite Anna Karenina, the wife of the soon-to-become governor of St Petersburg, enters a life-changing love affair with Vronsky, the heir to an aluminium empire. However, their affair quickly careens out of control, threatening the delicate balance of their familial bonds and social relationship.

The series will be produced by 1-2-3 Production, the Moscow-based prodco behind drama To The Lake, which was picked up by Netflix last year after airing on Russian network Premier.

Valeriy Fedorovich, Evgeniy Nikishov, Natasha Merkulova, Aleksey Chupov and Roman Kantor will serve as directors, with Fedorovich, Nikishov, Kantor and Sergey Kornikhin producing. Kantor has also written the drama.

Svetlana Khodchenkova (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) is set to play Anna Karenina, while filming will take place in Moscow and St Peterburg.

Anna K will launch on Netflix worldwide but the date is yet to be announced.

Kantor said: “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. Quite literally so, as the idea for this TV series came to me in a dream and I have been chasing it ever since.”

Kornikhin said: “We are really proud to be a part of one of the first Netflix projects in Russia – it is a big honour and a huge responsibility. To rephrase the famous quote, it is a small step for our company, but a huge step for the whole industry.”


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