ENTERTAINMENT

Christina Ricci On Bringing The Volatile Life Of Zelda Fitzgerald On Screen In Her New Show

'Z: The Beginning of Everything' can be watched on Amazon Prime.

24/03/2017 2:59 PM IST | Updated 24/03/2017 4:38 PM IST
Amazon Prime Video

Christina Ricci broke into the scene as a child actress by appearing in movies like Mermaids, The Addams Family, Now and Then, and Casper.

These films gave her immense popularity while she was all of 15, turning her into a teen sensation at a time that was blissfully free from the overpowering reach of social media.

Now, at 37, Ricci stars as Zelda Fitzgerald in Amazon Prime's original series Z: The Beginning of Everything, a show that captures the tumultuous romance between the revered American author F Scott Fitzgerald and his wife.

Talking to HuffPost India about the responsibilities of an artist while playing a real-life character, Ricci said, "The crucial thing is to stick to the historical facts as we know them. So broadly, we try and do that, but when there are gaps, we fill it with an imagined understanding."

As Ricci admits, in the case of the Fitzgeralds, there is a wealth of information in the public domain.

To understand her character, she started out by reading Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler. The book is meticulously researched and offers a rare window into the couple's relationship, one that began much before Scott became a famous author (The Great Gatsby, his iconic novel, was yet to be published) in the New York of the 1920s.

"Once we took the project to Amazon Studios and it was commissioned, I read as much as I could about both of them. This included her writing as well as his books. It gave me a wonderful insight into their personal universe," Ricci says.

Ricci's performance in the 10-part series is heartfelt, sincere, and encapsulates the vulnerability and the passion of Zelda in equal measure. The show also has stunning production values, although it doesn't come close to the world created by Baz Lurhman in his adaptation of The Great Gatsby.

Amazon Prime
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It's well-known that the Fitzgeralds had a turbulent marriage, which was as volatile as it was passionate. Zelda is a particularly complex character to portray, as she was prone to give in to her impulses and also suffered from depression.

Did playing such an intense role affect her psychologically?

"Well, not really," Ricci says. "Yes, it is surely a very complex character but since I'm also the producer on the show, I was doing a lot more than just act -- looking at other auditions, the script, production etc. So that kind of helped in separating the two situations and I could look at Zelda from an objective, analytical point of view."

She adds, "But I don't think I'd be able to do this if I didn't have to step out too often to attend to my other duties. So, in a way, I wasn't that emotionally immersed in Zelda."

Having worked in traditional network series like Grey's Anatomy and Saving Grace, how does she contrast the working process on this show, one that is specifically tailored to an Internet audience?

"I think television is changing. They're making a lot more TV shows than movies because there are so many new platforms. TV is becoming more like films, all across the board. It's a great time for content in general, thanks to new media. There is a total resurgence of independent cinema and TV, which is terrific news for all kinds of artists."

One show that she loved binge-watching?

"Nothing right now, but I was really, really into Stranger Things!"

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