Photo: Pablo Larraín

Angelina Jolie has been tapped to play the legendary soprano Maria Callas in the biopic Maria. The film will be directed by Pablo Larraín and written by Steven Knight, who recently worked together on Spencer. “Having the chance to combine my two most deep and personal passions, cinema and opera, has been a long-awaited dream,” Larraín said in a statement. “To do this with Angelina, a supremely brave and curious artist, is a fascinating opportunity. A true gift.” Maria is set to begin an eight-week production in Greece, Paris, Budapest, and Milan after making an interim agreement with SAG-AFTRA that allows the team to film through the ongoing actors’ strike. Below, everything we know about Larraín’s latest biographical opera.

One thing Jolie is gonna do is eat up a pair of thick-rimmed, bug-eye glasses. In the first-look images, we see the opera icon looking a bit troubled and absolutely chic in her large spectacles paired with a beige cable-knit sweater. She’s standing behind a sheer lace curtain as if she was caught during a private moment. A different image sees Jolie looking out a window, appearing pleased in her white fur-lined coat and wide-brimmed lace hat. Don’t worry, no animals were harmed in the creation of her wardrobe. Though the costumes are based on real garments worn by Callas, including vintage items from Massimo Cantini Parrini’s archive collection, the team consulted with PETA to not use new fur, per Variety.

Other players in Larraín’s opera include Valeria Golino (Portrait of a Lady on Fire) as Maria Callas’s sister and Haluk Bilginer (Winter Sleep), who plays Callas’s abusive lover, the Greek tycoon Aristotle Onassis. Pierfrancesco Favino (Adagio), Alba Rohrwacher (La Chimera), and Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog) round out the bill.

According to Variety, 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.” “I take very seriously the responsibility to Maria’s life and legacy,” Angelina Jolie stated. “I will give all I can to meet the challenge.” The American-born, Greek-raised Callas was a globally renowned diva, in the original sense of the word, at a time when an opera singer could still be a household name. Although she was married to wealthy industrialist Giovanni Battista Meneghini from 1949 to 1959, Callas’s most notable relationship was with shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, who subjected Callas to domestic violence and assault, according to posthumous letters. Onassis would go on to marry Jacqueline Kennedy, which means Maria is technically the second entry in Larraín’s Jackie cinematic universe.

This post has been updated.

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