In addition to finding the last details for the filming of the film Peaky Blindersthe experienced screenwriter Steven Knight He also recently wrote another high-profile project. It is a biographical film about the life of the legendary soprano, Maria Callasconsidered the most important opera singer of the 20th century.

The biopic, with official title, Mariafrom the Chilean director Pablo Larrainstars Oscar winner Angelina Jolie. Filming, now completed, took place over eight weeks in Paris, Greece, Budapest, and Milan.

Here's what Knight shares about the biopic to NME:

“Maria Callas has such an incredible and deep story, where she was among all the great moments of that period of history. You can't avoid it. I think it would be easy to be intimidated, but it's best not to, otherwise you'll just make small stories. Because you feel safe. I love doing different things and the more different they are from each other, the better it will be.”

And about Jolie's interpretation of the iconic opera singer, Knight reveals the first details:

She is a great actress. Wow. I mean, you see in this… he's absolutely captivating… I think it's the best performance I've ever seen him do..”

Knight completed the script prior to the 2023 Writers Guild Strike. The screenwriter has written feature films such as Locke, Pawn Sacrifice, The Hundred-Foot Journey, Burnt, Woman Walks Aheadand series like See, Tabooand the acclaimed Peaky Blinders. She collaborated with Larraín on the script of Spencer.

The film for Larraín, for its part, continues to take the path of a biopic centered on a historical figure – mixed with his own vision of the events –, similar to other feature films by the director such as Jackie (2016) y Spencer (2021).

Angelina Jolie as María Callas in biopic 'MARIA'


“María, based on true stories, will tell the “tumultuous, beautiful and tragic story” from the life of one of the best opera singers in the world, revived and reinvented during its final days in 1970s Paris. The influential American-born Greek icon, once described as “the Bible of opera” by Leonard Bernstein, is also linked to another of Larraín's films, as she had a famous love affair with Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis , who later married Jackie Kennedy.”

The cast is headed by Jolie, along with Pierfrancesco Favino (Adagio, The Hummingbird), Alba Rohrwacher (La Chimera, Hungry Hearts), Haluk Bilginer (Winter Sleep), Cody Smith-McPhee (The Power of the Dog, Elvis) y Valeria Golino (Portrait of a Lady on Fire).

Callas was one of the most important personalities in the world of 20th century opera. One of the most recognized sopranos of all time, she was as known for her diva temperament and her feud with Renata Trebaldi as for her exceptional vocal talent.. The Greek-American singer also struggled with myopia throughout her life and famously experienced transformative weight loss in the 1950s. Her achievements in opera were so extensive that many of her admirers referred to to her as La Divina or “The Divine”.

Regarding her upcoming role on the big screen, Jolie previously explained in an official statement:

I take responsibility for Mary's life and legacy very seriously. I will give everything I can to face the challenge. Pablo Larraín is a director that I have admired for a long time. “Having the opportunity to tell more of Maria’s story with him, and with a script by Steven Knight, is a dream.”

Jolie's wardrobe, according to the producers, is based on original garments worn by Callas. The production has consulted with animal rights groups, including PETA. A conscious decision was made not to use or source new skins.

Prior to his commitment to MariaJolie finished filming Without Blood, her fifth feature film as a director, and her first under the mega agreement signed with Fremantle, with which she will produce, direct and star in a series of feature films, series, and documentaries. This film stars Salma Hayek and Demián Bichir, and its story is based on the bestseller by Alessandro Barico, being a fable set after an unidentified conflict on a farm deep in the Italian countryside.

Juan de Dios Larraín produces for Fábula Pictures, Lorenzo Mieli for The Apartment Pictures, and Fremantle Company, and Jonas Dornbach for Komlizen Film.


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