She was the original “it” girl; a wild child, wealthy socialite and the woman who launched thousands of literary anti-heroines and as we approach the 70th anniversary of her death, Zelda Fitzgerald is now back in the limelight. Yes, she’s also the wife and muse of The Great Gatsby writer, F Scott Fitzgerald, but she was just as infamous. When the pair married, they became one of the most popular couples of the time: he was the next big thing in literature, and she, as charming, infectious and creative her spouse, would become his underrated equal. But for all the passionate, exciting and glamorous moments of her life, it ended in tragedy; she suffered endless mental health problems and at just 47-years-old, died in a fire in one of the facilities to which she had been committed.
She was suppressed by society and its restrictions on women in the 1920s, reasons many believe, asides from her tumultuous marriage to Fitzgerald, she descended into mental illness. She was a dancer, a painter and a talented writer – her words appear in many of Fitzgerald’s works – yet she always appeared in his shadow, something she spent her later life trying to distance herself from. It was only after her death her writing received critical acclaim and the public had a renewed interest in her – one that is coming to the fore in 2017. She captivated her husband – “I married the heroine of my stories,” Fitzgerald once said – and indeed most who encountered her; this flapper girl who came alive on the page through the guise of his famous female characters and at many a real-life party.
Is all of the above the reason for three A-list adaptations coming our way? In the form of two films – one starring Jennifer Lawrence and the other Scarlett Johansson – and a new TV series by Amazon Prime simply called ‘Z: The beginning of everything’ – featuring indie-queen, doe-eyed Christina Ricci as the young and impetuous Zelda – perhaps it’s because her story, so full of promise and hope, only to end unexpectedly feels more relevant than ever in society and popular culture. This powerful story of a woman who rebelled even though she felt far from valued – as is still the case for women today.
It’s Ricci’s turn that has generated the most buzz; the lavish new series (which she also produced) is a big comeback for her. “I feel like Zelda is the most realistic, well-rounded, fully fleshed-out, and fully explored person I’ve played,” said Ricci of the role. “Zelda was someone intelligent enough to see through facades. She didn’t have a lot of self-control and burst a lot of bubbles. She was a very self-aware young person, in the middle of this world, not from this world, who was able to judge it. Maybe she didn’t always have the best time because she didn’t buy into the bullsh*t. She was smart enough to know when people were full of sh*t.”
The series is due to premiere next month and we can’t wait.