Angelina Jolie will play the legendary Greek-American soprano Maria Callas in the biopic Maria. The film will be directed by Pablo Larraín and written by Steven Knight, who recently worked together on the film Spencer.
Blue chip outfit FilmNation has newly boarded world sales and is launching ahead of the market, which gets underway in early June. The film, which was first revealed last fall, is based on true accounts and will tell the tumultuous story of the world’s greatest female opera singer, relived and re-imagined during her final days in 1970s Paris. Additional casting is underway.
Speaking about the biopic, the film’s director stated that “having the chance to combine my two most deep and personal passions, cinema and opera, has been a long-awaited dream.”
“To do this with Angelina, a supremely brave and curious artist, is a fascinating opportunity,” Larraín remarked. “A true gift.”
Larraín’s credits also include No, The Club and Neruda. Most recently, he directed the Stephen King series Lisey’s Story.
Angelina Jolie thrilled to bring Maria Callas’ legacy on screen
Following the press announcement of the new biopic, Angelina Jolie said she is thrilled to bring the legacy and turbulent life of Maria Callas to the big screen.
Jolie stated, “I take…the responsibility to Maria’s life and legacy [very seriously]. I will give all I can to meet the challenge.”
Angelina Jolie was last seen in Marvel’s Eternals and Taylor Sheridan’s thriller Those Who Wish Me Dead. She is the director of the upcoming war drama Without Blood, starring Salma Hayek.
Callas, once hailed by Leonard Bernstein as “the Bible of opera,” is also linked to another of Larraín film titled Jackie. The focus of the film is her legendary love affair with the Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, who eventually married Jackie Kennedy.
Maria Callas, the Greek icon with the immortal voice
The American-born, Greek-raised diva was a world-renowned opera singer. She was married to the wealthy industrialist, Giovanni Battista Meneghini, from 1949 to 1959. However, Callas’ most notable relationship was with shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis.
The opera singer was born Sophia Cecilia Anna Maria Kalogeropoulou on December 2, 1923 in New York, but her family name was later shortened to Callas. She began performing at the young age of eight.
Maria Callas lived in New York for the first thirteen years of her life, so she was proficient in English, but she also spoke Greek at home with her parents. Later on, she resided mainly in Europe but often returned to the U.S. from 1959 to 1974 to perform.
Callas reminded opera that it is also a type of theater and that the “long lines of paunchy and plump singers that come along to push out a tune on center stage are no longer acceptable,” as a French correspondent wrote after her death in 1977.
Callas died at her Paris home on September 16, 1977 at the age of fifty-three after having suffered a heart attack.