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'Whale Rider' Helmer Niki Caro To Write And Direct Film About Opera Legend Maria Callas

by Simon Dang
September 27, 2011 3:50 AM
5 Comments
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New Zealand helmer Niki Caro is set to tackle writing and directorial duties for "Callas," a film about the life of legendary opera star Maria Callas based on Alfonso Signorini's book "Too Proud, Too Fragile"

Produced by the Rome-based De Angelis Group, the project originally had French thespian Eva Green attached to the lead role but, with the latest report making no mention of her name, we're led to believe she's no longer attached, which is a real shame. Under the direction of an accomplished helmer of female-led material in Caro, we're sure to see an interesting study of Callas come together -- the director's two most acclaimed films, "Whale Rider" and "North Country," both featured strong performances from leads Keisha Castle-Hughes and Charlize Theron, who both got Oscar nominations to boot.

Nicknamed La Divina, Callas was one of the most renowned opera singers of all time, having overcome an overbearing mother and difficult childhood in New York to receive her musical education in Greece and eventually make a name for herself in Italy. Callas' life is also known for its many controversies including a reported rivalry with fellow soprano Renata Tebaldi; a love affair with shipping magnate Artistotle Onassis (who would leave her for Jacqueline Kennedy) and a staggering weight loss which many believed to be the catalyst for vocal decline in her later years. Callas passed away in 1977 but was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.

“We fully expect Callas to become one of the most important films in the De Angelis dossier as the source material provided by Mr. Signorini’s book is the most in-depth to date about the life of the controversial opera star. We’ve put together a very strong production team from Niki Caro on to bring this story to screen,” De Angelis Group’s Andrea Zoso explained.

No word on whether British shingle Future Films and crystal producer Swarovski are still on board as producers. We'd imagine the project might be a way off production stage, though, with Caro only now on board to script. [THR]

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5 Comments

  • Peter Freeman | October 2, 2011 2:10 AMReply

    Let us hope that unlike most biopics these two will be factually accurate and not sugar-coated or over-dramatised. There are plenty of books to draw on in addition to the one mentioned, and plenty of us still ticking who remember meeting the great lady and seeing her perform.

  • frkl | September 28, 2011 10:47 AMReply

    Error: Callas passed away in 1977, not 1997.

  • sp | September 27, 2011 6:21 AMReply

    I heard Eva Mendes is doing a different version of Maria Callas. I am curious to see which project will be filmed first.

  • Nik Grape | September 27, 2011 4:52 AMReply

    Spitting image of Mariska Hargitay. Wow.

  • João | September 27, 2011 4:32 AMReply

    Eva has to do this!

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