Angelina Jolie is getting into character for her latest film role – but her transformation into iconic opera singer, Maria Callas, has left fans divided.
The 48-year-old actress looked unrecognizable in a new photo released by director, Pablo Larraín, 47, ahead of his latest biopic, ‘Maria‘, which explores “the life of the legendary, iconic and controversial singer, often described as the original diva”, who died aged 53 of a heart attack in 1977.
In the image, Angelina appears makeup-free wearing thick, rimmed spectacles and a chunky white sweater. Her brown, gray-streaked hair is worn down in a disheveled style as she gazes at the camera with her hands to her face.
A previously released photo showed the actress looking much more glamorous wearing a fur-trimmed coat, crochet hat, and winged eyeliner with heavily lined lips.
The newest photo certainly divided opinion online, with many fans taking to social media to express their disappointment in Angelina’s casting as the American-Greek soprano.
“Terrible, the similarity is very distant. For me it’s already a no-no,” commented one. A second said: “She doesn’t look like [her] at all.” A third added: “Having a Hollywood diva play a historical character is an unforgivable mistake.”
There were some though who were delighted to see Angelina take on the role. “She’ll be brilliant as Callas,” exclaimed one person on Instagram. Another said: “She is the right actor for this character.” Someone else wrote: “Oh I can see an Oscar nomination!”
According to the film’s official synopsis, ‘Maria’ is based on true accounts and “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”.
Filming for the independent film – the script was completed by Steven Knight before the Writers Guild strike – is already underway due to an interim agreement from SAG-AFTRA, and taking place over eight weeks in Paris, Greece, Budapest, and Milan.
Larraín – who directed biopics ‘Jackie‘ (based on Jackie Kennedy) and ‘Spencer‘ (about Princess Diana) – shared his excitement about the project in a statement.
He said: “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.”
Angelina said: “I take very seriously the responsibility to Maria’s life and legacy. I will give all I can to meet the challenge. To be allowed the chance to tell more of Maria’s story with [Larraín], and with a script by Steven Knight, is a dream.”
Also slated to star in ‘Maria’ are Pierfrancesco Favino, 54, Alba Rohrwacher, 44, Haluk Bilginer, 69, Kodi Smit-McPhee, 27, and Valeria Golino, 57.
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