Filming locations for Anna
Karenina in the U.K. included several well beyond Shepperton Studios.
The National Trust property Ham House, a 17th-century house situated in
alongside the river, became the setting for Vronsky's apartment scenes.
Exteriors for Karenin's rented summer house took place on the impressive
grounds of Hatfield House
in Hertfordshire, which dates from the Jacobean period; the manicured maze which
Anna and her son
Serozha play within is on-site.
The residence of Nikolai, Levin's brother, which is put forth on-screen as
the top part of the theatre,
was actually filmed in the attic of the historic Miller's House at 3 Mills
Studios in East London.
The Moscow train station scenes were filmed at Didcot Railway Centre in
production designer Sarah Greenwood and set decorator Katie Spencer had earlier
worked with Jude
Law on Sherlock Holmes just three years prior; the original Great Western
Railway Engine Shed was
built in 1932, and it was this building that their department took over for a
number of weeks, building
the smaller replica of the theatre stage alongside the platform as well as
hiring authentic steam trains
for Keira Knightley and Olivia Williams to have their characters' tete-a- tete
in. Supervising location
manager Adam Richards notes, "Didcot has a very industrial feel to it, with a
fantastic and gritty
Exterior filming at Didcot on autumn evenings was done with layers of
artificial snow and ice on and
around the train and tracks, which had to be applied over a week prior to
shooting; Didcot is
accessible via train, freight container, and foot - and not by vehicle. The
special effects department
made use of everything from paper to paint to paraffin wax to create the wintry
filming at the site began, airborne foam flakes were sent billowing through the
night by three wind
machines to set a scene of near-blizzard conditions swirling around Anna when
disembarks from the train at Bologoye for some fresh air and Vronsky appears
within a dense cloud of steam and fog.
Oblonsky and Levin's snipe-shooting scene in Pokrovskoe was filmed in the New
Salisbury Plain, which lies within the southern England counties of Wiltshire
and Hampshire, is a
chalk plateau spanning some 300 miles. Salisbury is known for its history and
dates from the Stone Age, most notably the prehistoric monument Stonehenge.
Salisbury provided an
idyllic countryside locale for Anna and Vronsky's woodland picnic. The
crops-ready land also stood
in for the Russian countryside, with Levin's haymaking scenes at Kashin filmed
across the first few
days of principal photography, which happened to be a few unseasonably hot days
After principal photography had wrapped, a smaller unit travelled to Russia
in February 2012 for a
few days to film exterior scenes of Levin's house and region; this filming took
place on Kizhi Pogost, a
remote island near Lake Onega in the Republic of Karelia, Russia. While
settlements and churches
were on the island as early as the 15th century, it was in the 18th century that
two churches and a bell
tower were built, and Kizhi is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There is an
with over 80 historical wooden structures, including buildings which were moved
to the island in the
1950s for preservation purposes.
The final sojourn in Kizhi offered by far the most adventurous travel
itinerary of the entire shoot; cast
and crew took a flight from the U.K. to St. Petersburg, followed by an overnight
train trip and then a
six-hour drive to the formidable Lake Onega. Frigid temperatures ensured that
filming took place in
short bursts due to the risks to equipment and skin alike. Cast and crew braved
the elements to stay
overnight on the island, heeding the warnings not to walk alone outside after
dark due to the
presence of hungry wolves.
Richards remarks, "It was all part of keeping the location work real, but at
that point we were
preferring the excitement of being in the theatre."
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