As should be evident with all the recent Coco Chanel films, some larger than life figures demand more than one biopic. Opera legend Maria Callas is just such an icon who has already received an end-of-life look from Franco Zeffirelli (“Callas Forever,” in which Fanny Ardant plays the singer) and the obligatory romance bio (the Italian production “Callas e Onassis,” with Luisa Raniera as the female lead). And before either of these, she was at least a character in TV productions primarily about Aristotle Onassis and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. According to The Hollywood Reporter, another Callas biopic is in the works, this one presumably centered more on her early life, though potential star Eva Green could certainly end up aging on screen for the role.
Green of course broke out as co-star of “The Dreamers,” which was directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, who got his own start working for Pier Paolo Pasolini, who just so happened to direct Callas in her one role as a film star, in “Medea.” What is the significance of this little trivial six-degrees game? Not much, but it does allow an opportunity to spotlight the Pasolini, which is available in full but in segments on YouTube. I don’t know that this new biopic will make even mention of “Medea” anymore than I know if Green would attempt to do her own singing for the part (though I highly doubt she could sufficiently do this, and Callas’ own vocals will most likely be dubbed in for certain scenes). But who wouldn’t love to see someone make a cameo portrayal of the filmmaker? Elias Koteas maybe?
In other Hollywood biopic casting news, Kenneth Branagh, who seems to be getting some flak for the underwhelming set photos coming out of his “Thor” adaptation, is reportedly in talks to portray Laurence Olivier in the Weinstein flick “My Week With Marilyn.” He’d star opposite Michelle Williams, who is already set to play Marilyn Monroe, for the story of Olivier and Monroe’s working relationship during the filming of “The Prince and the Showgirl.” I can actually see Branagh perfectly embodying the great British thespian and am glad they aren’t simply using modern technology to get Olivier to play himself, a la his posthumous appearance in “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.”
And hey, wouldn’t you know it, “The Prince and the Showgirl” is also up on YouTube in full, in sections: