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Angelina Jolie’s Budapest Encore: From Director to Opera Diva

maria callas angelina jolie

More than a decade since Angelina Jolie’s directing debut in Budapest, she’s back. This time, she’ll channel the famous Maria Callas on screen.

A New Budapest Journey

It was 13 years ago when Angelina Jolie wielded the director’s chair in the Hungarian capital for her film, “In The Land of Blood and Honey“. Now, she’s returning this October, trading the directorial role for the spotlight.

Stepping into Callas’ Shoes

Jolie is embracing the role of iconic opera sensation Maria Callas in Pablo Larrain’s upcoming film, aptly titled “Maria”. This biopic delves into the somber final years of Callas in the city of lights, Paris. Interestingly, Budapest stands in for Paris, which isn’t the first time the city’s unique charm has mirrored that of the French capital.

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For Larrain, the tale of Maria Callas, the magnificent soprano of her era, has been a long-time allure. The opera diva’s rise from a Greek immigrant in New York to the reigning star of opera stages globally is mesmerizing. Notably, her personal life had its share of turbulence. Her association with Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, who eventually chose Jackie Kennedy over her, marked a tumultuous chapter. Heartbroken, Callas relocated from Italy to France and tragically succumbed to a heart attack at a mere 52.

Larrain’s Trilogy of Influential Women

“Maria” complements Larrain’s cinematic renderings of Jackie Kennedy and Princess Diana. Speaking to Variety in June 2023, Larrain expressed his exhilaration. He believes in understanding characters through the eyes of talented actresses. With Angelina on board, he feels privileged. To him, working with such a dedicated artist like Jolie is nothing short of a treasure.

Jolie shares the sentiment. She respects the legacy of Maria Callas and is keen to do justice to it. With Larrain as the captain of the ship and Steven King handling the script, Jolie is confident about this venture.

Anticipation Builds for “Maria”

The wheels are already turning for “Maria”. However, before setting foot in Budapest, Larrain has Venice Film Festival commitments for “El Conde”. Meanwhile, Jolie is immersed in post-production for “Without Blood”, featuring Salma Hayek.

Jointly produced by Pablo Larrain and Juan de Dios Larrain, “Maria” is backed by Apartment Pictures, German-based Komplizen Films, and the American Fremantle Media Company. It’s noteworthy that Jolie has a continuing partnership with Fremantle. Fans can mark their calendars; filming in Budapest is scheduled from October to December 2023.

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