City of God’s Fernando Meirelles Is Developing an Aristotle Onassis Biopic

18th October 1968: Millionaire shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis (1906 - 1975) with his wife Jackie (Bouvier Kennedy, 1929 - 1994). (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images) Photo: Central Press/Getty Images/Getty

Every once in a while — and it is rare! — amid all the development news about superhero and board-game movies, you hear about a project that truly excites the grown-up film lover in you. And here's one: Director Fernando Meirelles (The Constant Gardener) is reteaming with his City of God screenwriter Bráulio Mantovani on a biopic of Aristotle Onassis called, appropriately enough, Onassis. Insiders tell Vulture that it's set up at France's Pathe, and that Meirelles "sees it as a sort of Godfather, with Onassis at the center."

That’s not so hard to believe, as Vulture also hears Onassis will be based on Peter Evans’s best-selling book Nemesis: The True Story of Aristotle Onassis, Jackie O, and the Love Triangle That Brought Down the Kennedys. The Greek shipping magnate is today best remembered for marrying the widow of President John F. Kennedy (it was his second marriage; his first, to Athina Livanos, ended when Onassis was discovered bedding opera singer Maria Callas in the stateroom of the yacht named for their daughter, Christina). But Evans’s book focused instead on Onassis's antipathic relationship with JFK's younger brother, Robert. As attorney general, Bobby had investigated Onassis’s sketchy international business practices and banned him from trading with the U.S., and Evans wrote that their rivalry over control of and access to Jackie culminated in Onassis’s alleged financing of the assassination of the presidential hopeful.