Angelina Jolie is taking on an operatic new role: playing Greek opera singer Maria Callas.
Jolie leads Pablo Larraín‘s biopic “Maria,” set during the last days of the chanteuse’s life. She died in 1977.
“Maria” marks Larraín’s third biopic on the heels of “Jackie” and “Spencer,” which earned actress Kristen Stewart her first Oscar nomination.
Per the official synopsis, the film explores the life of the legendary, iconic and controversial singer, often described as the original diva. Based on true accounts, “Maria” tells 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 Power of the Dog” star Kodi Smit-McPhee, Pierfrancesco Favino, Alba Rohrwacher, Haluk Bilginer, and Valeria Golino co-star alongside Jolie. The film is an independent production with an interim agreement from SAG-AFTRA; production starts this week, with locations ranging from Paris and Greece to Budapest and Milan over the eight-week shoot.
“Maria” was penned by “Spencer” screenwriter and “Peaky Blinders” scribe Steven Knight.
“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,” director Larraín said in a press statement.
Larraín previously said in 2022 when the film was announced that “having the chance to combine my two most deep and personal passions, cinema and opera, has been a long-awaited dream.”
Actress Jolie added that she will take “very seriously the responsibility to Maria’s life and legacy. I will give all I can to meet the challenge.”
Callas was a world-famous soprano singer and infamously had a feud with Renata Tebaldi. The Greek-American singer suffered from near-sightedness throughout her life and was referred to as La Divina or “The Divine One.”
Costumes for the film are based on Callas’ real clothes, including vintage fur items from Massimo Cantini Parrini’s archive collection, on which production consulted with PETA in order to not use any new fur.
“Maria” is produced by Juan de Dios Larraín for Fabula, Jonas Dornbach for Komplizen Film and Lorenzo Mieli for The Apartment, a Fremantle Company. To note, Jolie has a three-year deal with the production company. Worldwide sales for “Maria” will be handled by FilmNation Entertainment.
See another first look at “Maria” below.