The first two images of Angelina Jolie as famed diva Maria Callas in Pablo Larrain‘s upcoming biopic Maria have been revealed.
Based on true accounts, the film will tell the tumultuous, beautiful, and tragic story of the life of the world’s greatest opera singer, relived and re-imagined during her final days in 1970s Paris.
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) October 9, 2023
With the independent production having signed on to a SAG-AFTRA interim agreement, the shoot is now set to begin and will take place over eight weeks in Paris, Greece, Budapest, and Milan.
Alongside Jolie, the cast also includes Pierfrancesco Favino (Adagio, The Hummingbird), Alba Rohrwacher (La Chimera, Hungry Hearts), Haluk Bilginer (Winter Sleep), Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog, Elvis), and Valeria Golino (Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Caos Calmo).
Maria Callas’ remarkable life comes alive with Angelina Jolie
“I am incredibly excited to start production on Maria, which I hope will bring Maria Callas’ remarkable life and work to audiences all around the world, thanks to the magnificent script by Steven Knight, the work of the entire cast and crew, and especially, Angelina’s brilliant work and extraordinary preparation,” said Larrain, who recently premiered his dark comedy-horror El Conde in Venice.
According to the producers, Jolie’s costumes in the film are based on original garments worn by Callas.
The production has consulted with animal rights groups, including PETA, regarding the use of vintage fur items worn in the film from costume designer Massimo Cantini Parrini’s archive collection. A conscious decision was made not to use or source any new fur.
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.