Netflix to Adapt Tolstoy’s ‘Anna Karenina’ in First Russian Original Drama

Svetlana Khodchenkova at Paris Fashion week 2019
Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

Netflix is reimagining Leo Tolstoy’s iconic novel Anna Karenina in its first-ever Russian original series.

Produced by Moscow-based 1-2-3 Production, ANNA K (working title) is a lavish and contemporary retelling of the literary classic, one of the world’s most well-known novels. The titular Anna will be played by Russian actress Svetlana Khodchenkova, who has starred in films such as The Wolverine and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

The series centers around socialite Anna, wife of the soon-to-become governor of St. Petersburg, who begins a life-changing love affair with Vronsky, the charming heir of an aluminum empire. Their affair soon spirals out of control, ripping apart familial bonds and social relationships. Set between cosmopolitan Moscow, historic St. Petersburg, and Russia’s rugged countryside, the drama explores themes of passion, loyalty, and the power of love.

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The actress will play a hotel heiress suffering from a case of amnesia.

“We are incredibly proud to announce our first Russian series with 1-2-3 Production,” said Michael Azzolino, Director Original Series, Netflix. “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.”

The series is written by Roman Kantor and Maria Mikulina and directed by Valeriy Fedorovich, Evgeniy Nikishov, Natasha Merkulova, Aleksey Chupov, and Kantor. Fedorovich, Nikishov, Sergey Kornikhin, and Kantor will serve as producers.

“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,” stated 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’s Fedorovich and Nikishov added: “This endeavor is beyond exciting and challenging, but since the backbone of the future series is based on one of the world’s fundamental pieces of literature dedicated to love, we are hopeful that we will be able to touch the hearts of viewers from Australia to Brazil.”

ANNA K will launch on Netflix worldwide, though a premiere date has yet to be announced.