First Look: Angelina Jolie as Maria Callas in Larraín’s 'Maria

Exploring the luminous yet shadowed life of Maria Callas

by Nouman Rasool
First Look: Angelina Jolie as Maria Callas in Larraín’s 'Maria
© JC Olivera/GettyImages

In an entrancing convergence of Hollywood glamor and operatic elegance, Angelina Jolie mesmerizes as legendary Greek opera singer Maria Callas in Pablo Larraín’s latest cinematic offering, “Maria.” The film, which finds its spotlight fixated on the twilight days of the world-renowned soprano, unravels a narrative replete with tumult, beauty, and tragedy during her final moments in 1970s Paris.

Known for his evocative storytelling through biopics, Larraín, the creative mind behind critically acclaimed “Jackie” and “Spencer,” orchestrates a poignant re-imagination of Callas’ life, artistry, and the complexities enshrouding her existence. The lauded director, who has confessed a deep-seated passion for both cinema and opera, anticipates that “Maria” will transpose the remarkable tales and talents of Callas to global audiences.

Jolie, who embodies the iconic singer, not only lends her star power but also engages in profound preparation to do justice to Callas' illustrious yet tumultuous life and legacy. The actress, consciously shouldering the weight of portraying such a revered figure, has asserted her commitment to meeting the formidable challenge with vigor and respect.

The narrative canvas of “Maria” is masterfully painted by Steven Knight, renowned for his work on “Spencer” and the gritty TV drama “Peaky Blinders.” As per the film’s synopsis, viewers will be escorted through the life of a woman whose voice transcended concert halls, navigating through her exhilarating highs and somber lows, offering a glimpse into her human vulnerability, masked by the divine soprano the world adored.

Jolie Leads Star-Studded Cast

Joining Jolie on screen is an ensemble of talented actors, including Kodi Smit-McPhee and Pierfrancesco Favino, weaving a rich cinematic tapestry set against the backdrop of Paris, Greece, Budapest, and Milan. The production, which has garnered an interim agreement from SAG-AFTRA, promises an authentic visual and emotional journey, with costumes derived from Callas’ actual wardrobe and conscious considerations for ethical practices.

A collaborative production venture, “Maria” sees Juan de Dios Larraín for Fabula, Jonas Dornbach for Komplizen Film, and Lorenzo Mieli for The Apartment, partnering to bring this story to life, while global sales are steered by FilmNation Entertainment. With a nuanced exploration of the 'original diva', “Maria” is poised to resonate with opera aficionados and cinematic buffs alike, transcending the conventional boundaries of biographical storytelling.

As “Maria” harmonizes cinematic narrative and operatic legacy, it stands poised to reignite the world’s admiration for Maria Callas, illuminating search engines and trending topics in its ascent, and placing itself firmly on the global cinematic stage.

Angelina Jolie