Meryl Streep will play Maria Callas in a filmed version of Terrence McNally’s play Master Class.
New York Post’s Page Six reported that HBO would start filming in January of 2015. Mike Nichols – who directed Streep in Silkwood, Postcards from the Edge and Angels in America – will team up again with the Oscar-laden actress for this project.
Chameleonic Streep has already played real people in the past: Julia Child in Julie & Julia, a thinly veiled impersonation of Anna Wintour in The Devil Wears Prada and her Oscar-winning turn as Margaret Thatcher in Iron Lady.
Currently Streep is preparing for a Jonathan Demme movie, scripted by Diablo Cody, called Ricky and the Flash, where she will play a woman who abandoned her family to find fame and fortune as a rock star. Decades later, she decides to return and try and be a mother to her estranged children. She is apparently learning to handle a guitar with Neil Young. So from rock star to opera star.
Zoe Caldwell’s famous turn on Broadway in Master Class when it opened in 1995 was quickly matched by a succession of actress drawn towards this diva role, Patti LuPone starred in London in 1997, the 2011 Broadway revival saw Tyne Daly as Callas, which she then took to London the following year, and Rossella Falk, the great Italian actress, who was also a friend of Maria Callas, won the Eleonora Duse Award for her interpretation.
Over 2 6-week periods in 1971 and 1972, Callas taught a master class called The Lyric Tradition at the Juilliard School aimed at young professional singers. McNally’s play is based on the recordings of these sessions.