Welcome Back Wednesday: Christina Ricci Returns as Zelda Fitzgerald
On Welcome Back Wednesday we celebrate the return of a beloved pop culture player who’s been off the radar for a while. Where’d they go? It doesn’t matter! We’re just glad they’re back.
In the ‘90s, Christina Ricci became a certifiable teen icon when she appeared in big-budget films like Now and Then and Casper (alongside Devon Sawa, no less). After starring in a slew of indies and then, memorably as the girlfriend of a serial killer in 2003’s Monster, she returned to the small screen on the short-lived series Pan Am. Now, Ricci is taking on a decidedly different role as socialite and novelist Zelda Fitzgerald—wife of author F. Scott Fitzgerald—in Amazon's new period drama Z: The Beginning of Everything.
Based on the book Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler, the show begins when Zelda meets F. Scott in Montgomery, Ala. and documents their heavily publicized love affair as well as her eventual hospitalization and untimely death. Ricci pushed to get the pilot made and serves as producer on the project. “I was struck by the common misconceptions about Zelda—they couldn’t be further from the truth,” she said recently by phone. “It really provoked my sense of justice because it seemed so unfair to me.”
Here, Ricci talks more about her new role and reminisces about Now and Then.
Are you a fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald?
I love his writing, and I was always fascinated by the women in his books, so it was interesting for me to learn about Zelda and then read his interpretation of her.
What intrigued you most about Zelda?
When I was younger, every time I read about a woman in history, they were hospitalized. It was shocking. Zelda had a nervous breakdown due to exhaustion and severe emotional stress, and she was given electroshock therapy because that's what doctors did back then to calm you down. But it hurt her brain and she became institutionalized, and she was afraid to leave and live a regular life because she was convinced she was brain-damaged. It’s very sad and unfortunately still relevant today. As we look at why we’re still struggling for rights and dealing with misogyny and other issues, we need to live in our own ranks a bit. Women are half of the population. At times, we’ve outnumbered men. We have to change things for ourselves.
What pieces in her wardrobe did you gravitate toward?
Thankfully, Zelda refused to wear corsets and stockings, so I didn’t have to wear those. She goes through a full flapper makeover in the beginning of the season, then it’s all the jet-beading and black. I tend to go for the more glam stuff.
How about the hairstyle?
We had two wigs going, so that wasn’t my actual hair. But I loved it that length so much that I cut it the same way after we finished filming.
It’s been 22 years since Now and Then premiered, but people still love it—there was even a tribute to the famous bike scene on the last season of Girls. What’s your favorite memory from the set of that movie?
Probably meeting Gaby Hoffman. We were best friends for years after that. She and I became inseparable. It was one of those teenage friendships that was just magic—you could write a coming-of-age story about it.
Z: The Beginning of Everything will be available to stream on Amazon starting Jan. 27.
Check out the trailer above.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.