Cameras are set to roll in mid-October in Budapest on Pablo Larraín’s Maria Callas biopic “Maria” toplining Angelina Jolie in the title role with several new cast members now on board.
Italian star Valeria Golino, whose recent appearances include a lead in Netflix’s Elena Ferrante series “The Lying Life of Adults” and season 2 of Apple Original “The Morning Show,” is set to play the legendary opera singer’s older sister Yakinthi – known as Jackie – while revered Turkish screen and stage veteran Haluk Bilginer (“Winter Sleep”) has landed the role as Greek tycoon Aristotle Onassis.
Fremantle, which is producing “Maria,” also confirmed on Thursday that the film’s additional cast comprises Italian A-listers Alba Rohrwacher and Pierfrancesco Favino and Oscar-nominated Australian actor Kodi Smit-McPhee (“The Power of the Dog”), all in unspecified roles.
“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,” according to its logline. Steven Knight (“Spencer,” “Peaky Blinders,” “Eastern Promises”) wrote the script.
Callas was an American-born Greek soprano singer and one of the most famous opera singers of the 20th century. She was born in Manhattan and received her opera training in Greece when she was 13 and later moved to Italy for her career. Throughout the years, she dealt with near-sightedness that left her nearly blind and multiple scandals in her personal and professional life. She had an intense rivalry with Italian opera singer Renata Tebaldi, plus an affair with Aristotle Onassis (who later married Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who coincidentally was the subject of Larraín’s film “Jackie).
Larraín’s previous two biopics, last year’s “Spencer” starring Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana and 2016’s “Jackie” with Natalie Portman as Kennedy Onassis, both garnered best actress nominations. The acclaimed director also received an Academy Award nomination for best foreign language film for his 2012 Chilean historical drama “No,” the first nod for the country.
“I’m extremely happy to have the chance to conclude this process of depicting women who changed the fate of the 20th century, culturally speaking,” Larrain told Variety in June. “And this time, it’s about an artist. And it’s triggered by my admiration for her life and work,” he added.
“Maria” is produced by Juan de Dios Larraín for Fabula Pictures, Lorenzo Mieli for The Apartment Pictures, a Fremantle Company, and Jonas Dornbach for Germany’s Komplizen Film.
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