Angelina Jolie is set to play opera singer Maria Callas in a new drama from Chilean film-maker Pablo Larraín.
Maria will tell “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” with a script from Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight, who last collaborated with Larraín for Princess Diana drama Spencer.
“I take very seriously the responsibility to Maria’s life and legacy,” Jolie said in a statement. “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.”
Larraín assisted Kristen Stewart to her first Oscar nomination for Spencer and has also ushered Natalie Portman to a nod for her role in Jackie.
“Having the chance to combine my two most deep and personal passions, cinema and opera, has been a long-awaited dream,” Larraín added. “To do this with Angelina, a supremely brave and curious artist, is a fascinating opportunity. A true gift.”
Callas was an American-born Greek soprano, referred to by Leonard Bernstein as “the Bible of opera”. She was known not only for her voice but also for reports of difficult diva-ish behaviour and public relationship with Aristotle Onassis before he left her for Jackie Kennedy. She died of a heart attack at the age of 53.
Italian director Franco Zeffirelli had previously tried to tell her story in 2002’s Callas Forever starring Fanny Ardant.
Larraín’s credits also include No, The Club and Neruda and most recently he directed the Stephen King series Lisey’s Story. Jolie was last seen in Marvel’s Eternals and Taylor Sheridan thriller Those Who Wish Me Dead. Her next film as director is drama Without Blood starring Salma Hayek.