First photos released of Angelina Jolie as Maria Callas, for Pablo Larrain’s ‘Maria’

Director Pablo Larrain is developing quite the niche for himself as a filmmaker: hyper-focused biopics of very famous and iconic women. I was pleasantly surprised by Larrain’s Jackie, with Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy. I also thought he got an interesting performance out of Kristen Stewart in Spencer, where she played Princess Diana. Next up: directing Angelina Jolie as Maria Callas in Maria. Fremantle just released two new stills, and they’ve added more details about the SAG-AFTRA-waivered production:

Angelina Jolie transforms into legendary opera singer Maria Callas in the first images from Pablo Larraín’s biopic “Maria.”

The “Jackie” and “Spencer” director’s latest film will “explore the life of the legendary, iconic and controversial singer, often described as the original diva,” according to its official description. “Based on true accounts, ‘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.”

As “Maria” is an independent film with an interim agreement from SAG-AFTRA, production is set to take place over eight weeks in Paris, Greece, Budapest and Milan. The script, which was completed prior to the Writers Guild strike, is penned by Larraín’s “Spencer” collaborator Steven Knight. Alongside Jolie, the cast includes Pierfrancesco Favino (“Adagio”), Alba Rohrwacher (“La Chimera”), Haluk Bilginer (“Winter Sleep”), Kodi Smit-McPhee (“The Power of the Dog”) and Valeria Golino (“Portrait of a Lady on Fire”).

“I am incredibly excited to start production on ‘Maria,’ which I hope will bring Maria Callas’ remarkable life and work to audiences all around the world, thanks to the magnificent script by Steven Knight, the work of the entire cast and crew, and especially, Angelina’s brilliant work and extraordinary preparation,” Larraín said in a statement.

Jolie’s costumes are based on real garments worn by Callas, including vintage fur items from Massimo Cantini Parrini’s archive collection, on which they consulted with PETA in order to not use any new fur.

[From Variety]

Purely going on looks, I assume Pierfrancesco Favino is playing Ari Onassis, probably in the flashback scenes. I wonder who Kodi Smit-McPhee is playing. He’s a very strange, other-worldly actor. As for the photos and everything else… I’m excited, honestly. Something which makes me so happy is that Larrain is clearly not interested in using prosthetics on Jolie – there will be no big, fake nose, thank God. I would assume Jolie’s transformation will be done through wigs, makeup, costumes and, you know, acting. I also think it’s cool that they’re using Callas’ real clothes or archival pieces. I’m also thrilled that this is SAG-waivered. Angelina’s most recent ex-husband is a scab, but not Jolie.

Photos courtesy of Fremantle/Pablo Larrain.

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37 Responses to “First photos released of Angelina Jolie as Maria Callas, for Pablo Larrain’s ‘Maria’”

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  1. SarahCS says:

    I’m so tired of prosthetics in movies, we know we’re not watching the actual person, give us some credit. I’m more interested in them using an actor who can convey the character of the person they are representing.

    • Concern Fae says:

      This. So many times the prosthetic is only serving to show that the actor was miscast.

      • Francis/Clare says:

        Maria Callas wasn’t anorexic. I find Jolie to be a very boring actress who brings no depth to any role. As a person she seems like an empty shell, all surface and pose. You need an old-time passionate Greek or Italian actress, which I guess Hollywood is short on these days.

    • Lux says:

      Agree. If you look at who Larrain has cast in the past, you know it’s his own interpretation of those people and how it’s meant to evoke their essence rather than mimic their behaviors. As such, I enjoyed Kristen’s performance a lot more than I did Natalie’s, who did very much mimic Jackie. I felt that Kristen managed to inhabit Diana’s wounded spirit, whereas Natalie felt like a ghost of a character. Didn’t help that I found “Jackie” a little boring—who cares about a funeral procession? I want to know how she felt about his mistresses! Whether she actually loved him and how much she knew, etc.

      Overall it felt like Natalie, while certainly a good actress, is only good at emoting the way she knows how, and not as her character. I wasn’t sure she captured Jackie’s endless poise and eerie blandness/blankness. Natalie, like Julia Roberts, is good at being the same girl, going through it. I could say the same for Jolie, but since she’s portraying someone less well known, she might have more wiggle room to explore.

      • Ameerah M says:

        I would never compare Natalie Portman to Julia Roberts lol.

      • Lux says:

        I see why you wouldn’t, because Natalie still has a far wider acting range than Julia. However, watch how she cries in every movie—she grieves the same way as Anne Boleyn, as Nina (Black Swan), as Jane (Closer), as the Manic Pixie Dream girl, as the Pregnant Walmart girl, and as Jackie. Some of those girls are from completely different eras and would express sorrow differently, but she brings her modern, restraint-free form of sadness to all of them. Invoking Meryl is a bit of a cliche but if you watch how Streep express sadness as each of her characters, you will truly see how she inhabits them, especially in the depths of despair. Cate Blanchet is another actor whose mannerisms change with each character, evident when expressing a wide range of emotions.

  2. Tessa says:

    I think she will be brilliant in this role.

  3. Demona says:

    When its not a glaringly obvious prosthetic i think it can give a good subtle character tweak- I liked the small nose prosthetic they used on her in Maleficent to give small dorsal hump. Everyone focuses on the cheekbones but the small touches are fun.

    But yes, they should absoultely leave behind Bradley cooper’s nose prosthetic in Maestro.

  4. Sierra says:

    This looks amazing and I believe Angie will win a third Academy Award. Or atleast secure a nomination.

    Angie is brilliant in biographies (Gia, Marianne Pearl & Changeling).

    Maria also suffered a lot because of the media and the men in her life. Angie can relate to some of those horrible experiences.

  5. Caroline says:

    Maria Callas was Greek. You know who else is? …Jen Aniston.

    Haha I’m sorry, I HAD to throw it back to the early ’00s gossip.

  6. Maria says:

    Probably nobody offered, nor that she would have been interested, but Celine Dion would have been an excellent Callas… also Lady Gaga comes to mind… or Montserrat Marti (Montserrat Caballe’s daughter)

  7. Busybody says:

    Ugh. I just did some googling about Maria Callas because I only know about Onassis because of his marriage to Jackie Kennedy. That dude sounds like a pig. He married Tina Livanos (the woman he cheated on with Callas) when she was 17 and he was 40. It sounds like he ruined her life and Callas’s life. I don’t know anything about his relationship with Jackie but assume it wasn’t great either.

    • snappyfish says:

      Jackie married him for money & security. Don’t forget she met him while he was dating her sister Lee who REALLY wanted to marry him. His children loathed her & at the end of his life they were in the midst of a divorce. He died before it was fully adjudicated thus leaving her a widow. Interesting story, had she been divorced from him she would have been denied her internment at Arlington next to JFK. I think they each got what they were after, her money & he got a trophy. Christina loathed her & eventually paid her off (to the tune o 25 mil) after her father’s death just so she would go away. The lives of those who are held so high are often quite interesting when you delve inside. Jackie lived out her life in NYC with a man who was married the entirety of their relationship. He was at her bedside when she died. Then he promptly moved back in with his wife.

      Callas was around through the whole Jackie marriage. Always on the outside looking in.

      • Satish More says:

        I remember reading about the marriage contract that Jackie had w/Onassis regarding their expectations of each other, and it had like 200 clauses, including how many times she had to have sex with him. Total. Throughout their whole marriage. 😂 Oh and separate bedrooms was one, too.

      • Brassy Rebel says:

        There is not enough money in the world to motivate me to have sex with Aristotle Onassis. Even once. I remember when Jackie married him in 1968. She didn’t fall off her pedestal. She jumped.

  8. DeluxeDuckling says:

    Love her

  9. mosia says:

    this is one acting role I’m actually sad didn’t go to lady gaga.

    • Kiwifruitlover says:

      Lady Gaga is too young for this role and don’t think Pablo Larrain’s movie will be a musical as well.

  10. Ocho says:

    I’m here for the sweater.

  11. Loretta says:

    I love Maria Callas, she was one of a kind.

  12. fabulous says:

    I’m excited about this. Don’t know why but I thought she’d given up acting and her humanitarian stuff to get into fashion.

    • Jaded says:

      Her fashion business uses recycled old clothing to keep it out of landfill. She hasn’t dumped her movie career or humanitarian work.

  13. Kel says:

    One thing I know, Angelina likes challenges.

    What a great challenge it must be for her to play Maria, just as Atelier Jolie will also be a great challenge.

    I can only hope that she is successful with both projects.

  14. JJ says:

    She is such a great actress! I’m excited for this.

  15. Peak says:

    I think Angelina reconnected with Acting through maleficient. That was a huge character that took a certain type to pull it off – she really had to put it all out there with her voice and everything. She will no doubt (in my mind) be great in this movie.

  16. Beech says:

    @Lux, I was in Junior High at the time of JFK’s assassination. I’ll lay it at the filmmaker’s feet that the funeral procession was boring. Jacqueline could have been killed, pieces of JFK’s skull and brain matter were on her, in the car, whizzing in the air, she actually clambered on to the top of the trunk to retrieve such. It was the nightmare of all nightmares. The funeral procession to my stunned eyes was majestic and heartbreaking and dreamlike and unbelievable. World leaders and royals marched behind the casket and and the riderless horse, Black Jack, with the reversed boots on his irons and all to the sound of drums. The reversed boots symbolizing a “fallen leader.” And throughout it all it was Jacqueline Kennedy who carried the nation with her dignity. She knew JFK was unfaithful throughout their marriage and it was an open secret in DC and among the press corps. There was more to Jacqueline Kennedy than her marriage to Aristotle Onassis, so much more.

    • Hannah1 says:

      Agree strongly re the funeral being “majestic and heartbreaking and dreamlike and unbelievable”. Great phrasing.

      But “she actually clambered on to the top of the trunk to retrieve” pieces of skull— as opposed to “clambered onto the trunk in a panic to get away”?

  17. ACB says:

    I disagree with those above who said she was a boring actress. Many years ago, when I saw George Wallace and Gia I instantly became a fan of her work to this day. If you saw Salt, how was that boring? Nor was Lady Gaga selected or anyone else, it was Angelina, period.
    I think Angelina has a high range, but she kills it when she does a biopic. This one will be no different; she will kill, and I cannot wait! Looking at the pictures, she will!

  18. Beech says:

    @Hannah1, the late, great comedian Lenny Bruce joked that she was trying to get the fuck outta here! Something like that, he was considered subversive in those days. Decades later Roseann Barr in her early days of stand up referred to LB’s take and said Jacqueline was trying to clean up the place. Y’know men are cowards and women have to clean up.

  19. Eleonor says:

    I think the casting is great: if there’s someone who can pullo off Maria Callas it’s her.
    Can’t wait to see the fashion !

  20. PrinceH says:

    Love a Angelina Jolie wishing the very best for this movie. I will be seated on first day

  21. TrixC says:

    I’m not sure how I feel about this. I quite like Angie as an actress but I’m not sure she’s well cast here. Will be interested to see the movie anyway. Amazed at the people who are seriously suggesting Lady Gaga or Celine Dion could pull off the singing. No disrespect to either of them but in terms of the skill and training requirements pop and opera singing are like go kart racing vs formula 1. I’m sure they’ll just use recordings of her real voice if that’s required.

  22. albaLilium says:

    I immediately thought of Jenny Slate