Pablo Larraín has decided that mining the lives of famous and complicated women works for him and his movies. So far the director has held a magnifying glass to Jackie Kennedy-Onassis and Lady Diana, delivering two tense dramas. Now Jackie and Spencer are set to become a crowd with the addition of Maria, a biopic based on the influential American-Greek soprano, Maria Callas.
Who was Maria Callas?
For those who are unfamiliar with the opera singer, let me debrief you. Referred to by the late and great Leonard Bernstein as “the Bible of opera” (a fact that has become so threaded into the fabric of culture so as to become a crossword clue), Maria Callas was a renowned soprano who began singing professionally in 1941, having been thrusted into show business by her mother from a young age. During her career she lead performances of Medea, Madame Butterfly and La Traviata and amassed a reputation as a "diva".
Like Marilyn Monroe, and other women of her ilk, she was adored by the public yet much of her life was defined by her tumultuous relationships with men. Callas' husband Giovanni Battista Meneghini stole from her, and Aristotle Onassis left her after a nine year affair for, Larraín's other subject, Jackie Kennedy. In 1977, Maria Callas tragically died at the age of 53 from a heart attack. Her legacy has been mulled over various times, most recently in the play Letters and Memoirs starring Monica Bellucci at Her Majesty's Theatre, London.
What is the plot of Maria?
Pablo Larraín will begin his story of Maria Callas at the end of her life; opening the film on her final days in Paris. Much of his work pivots off the most distressing points of these women's time on earth; with Jackie Kennedy it was just after the assassination of JFK, with Princess Diana, the end of her marriage to Prince (and now King) Charles.
Who else is involved?
Angelina Jolie will take on the mammoth task of acting Maria Callas. Although, she's had previous biopic experience with her depiction of Gia Carangi for Michael Cristofer's 1998 film Gia. After collaborating on Spencer with Larraín, Steven Knight is involved once more, having written the script for Maria.
At this stage, all production details and word of a release date is unknown. More to come.