Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larrain might not be a household name like Scorsese or Nolan, but he’s in just as enviable a position. He can basically make any project that he wants, whether it’s one of his many films on dictator Augusto Pinochet (No, El Conde), the occasional Stephen King adaptation (Lisey’s Story) or his unconventional biopics on strong women of power (Spencer, Jackie), Larrain tackles the projects he wants in the way that he wants. And now he’s back with his biggest star yet, Angelina Jolie, in a biopic on famed opera singer Maria Callas.
We have our first look at Angelina Jolie in Maria, playing the “original diva” herself. The film is set in the 1970s during her final days in Paris.
Also in the cast are Pierfrancesco Favino, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Alba Rohrwacher, Haluk Bilginer, and Valeria Golino. Larrain’s collaborator on the film is screenwriter Steven Knight, who he previously worked with on Spencer.
Here’s the synopsis: 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 1970’s Paris. The shoot will take place over eight weeks in Paris, Greece, Budapest, and Milan.
“I am incredibly excited to start production on Maria,” Larraín wrote in a statement. “I hope will bring Maria Callas’s 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.”
Production rolls on for eight weeks as Maria was granted a SAG-AFTRA Interim Agreement. 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.
Natalie Portman and Kristen Stewart both received Best Actress Oscar nominations for their performances in Jackie and Spencer. Jolie would seem to be a lock to follow in their footsteps when Maria is finally unveiled to the world.