Angelina Jolie as Maria Callas: actress transforms into famous opera singer for Pablo Larraín’s next film

Hollywood star Angelina Jolie plays operatic legend Maria Callas in Jackie and Spencer director’s upcoming film
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Angelina Jolie stars as Maria Callas in Pablo Larrain’s upcoming biopic about the influential American-Greek soprano.

The film, simply called Maria, follows the final days of the female opera singer, widely considered to be the greatest of all time, in 1970s Paris.

Maria was a tragic figure - she was blackmailed by her own mother, stolen from by her first husband, and abused by her lover Aristotle Onassis who later left her for Jackie Kennedy.

The film is in production now with shooting to take place over eight weeks across Paris, Greece, Budapest, and Milan. Jolie, who will star alongside Kodi Smit-McPhee, Valeria Golino, and Haluk Bilginer, has been transformed into an uncanny likeness of the soprano, as seen in first look images from the film’s shoot. 

One image shows Jolie wearing an elegant fur lined black jacket with a wide brimmed hat and simple pearl earrings, whilst in another she wears a white woollen cardigan and large jam jar glasses.

Angelina Jolie plays soprano Maria Callas in Pablo Larraín's biopicAngelina Jolie plays soprano Maria Callas in Pablo Larraín's biopic
Angelina Jolie plays soprano Maria Callas in Pablo Larraín's biopic

Who was Maria Callas?

Maria Callas was an American-born Greek soprano who became known as one of the most influential operatic performers over the course of her life. 

Because of her talent on the stage, extraordinary vocal range, and natural ability as a performer, she gained the nickname, La Divina, meaning the Divine One.

Maria dealt with pressure from an early age, born to a mother who made no secret of the fact that she wanted a son. Maria began her musical training in Greece aged 13 before moving to Italy, the home of opera, where she experienced the poverty caused by the Second World War first hand.

Angelina Jolie in first look images of biopic film MariaAngelina Jolie in first look images of biopic film Maria
Angelina Jolie in first look images of biopic film Maria

She was hailed by composer Leonard Bernstein, who is himself the subject of an upcoming biopic, as the ‘Bible of Opera’, though her personal life often overshadowed her professional career.

During the 1960s, she had a much publicised affair with Greek businessman Aristotle Onassis, whilst they were both married to other people - her to Giovanni Battista Meneghini, a wealthy industrialist, and Onassis to socialite Tina Livanos.

Onassis abandoned Maria in 1968 to marry Jackie Kennedy, the widow of American President John F. Kennedy. 

Callas spent the last years of her life living alone in an apartment in Paris, and died in 1977 of a heart attack, aged 53.

What has Angelina Jolie said about playing Maria Callas?

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter last year, Jolie said: “I take very seriously the responsibility to Maria's life and legacy. I will give all I can to meet the challenge. Pablo Larraín is a director I have long admired. To be allowed the chance to tell more of Maria’s story with him, and with a script by Steven Knight, is a dream.”

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