I’m so glad this project is still going ahead, it has been a while since we last heard about it so I assumed it was going to stay “in development” for some time. Should be a great role for Scarlett!
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER – It has been nearly 70 years since Zelda Fitzgerald died in a fire at a hospital in North Carolina. But the Jazz Age icon and wife of author F. Scott Fitzgerald is suddenly all the rage in Hollywood.
Competing films fronted by Jennifer Lawrence and Scarlett Johansson, respectively, are on the fast track to being first at the same time that Amazon has its own series, Z: The Beginning of Everything, with Christina Ricci playing the socialite who was once dubbed by her husband as “the first American Flapper.”
But Zelda Fitzgerald was far more than just a pearl-twirling literary muse, as she previously has been depicted, which might explain why two A-list movie stars are jockeying to tackle the oft-marginalized figure. She was an accomplished author in her own right who competed with her domineering husband before her life descended into madness (she was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia and institutionalized).
The Lawrence project, titled Zelda, boasts some impressive names including Ron Howard, who is developing it with an eye to direct. Howard won best picture and director Oscars for A Beautiful Mind, which also centered on a historical figure (John Nash) with schizophrenia. Allison Shearmur, the former Lionsgate executive behind Lawrence’s The Hunger Games, is producing, while Cross Creek Pictures (Hacksaw Ridge) is in negotiations to finance. Emma Frost (The White Queen) wrote the screenplay, which is loosely based on Nancy Milford’s best-selling biography of the same name.
The Johansson project is titled The Beautiful and the Damned, a play on the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic The Beautiful and Damned, which was a thinly veiled chronicle of his own marriage.
Millennium Films, which is financing, has an ace up its own sleeve given that it has secured the cooperation of the Fitzgerald estate and will incorporate newly unearthed transcripts from a sanatorium in which Zelda Fitzgerald was confined that indicate her husband misappropriated his wife’s ideas as his own. Hanna Weg (Septembers of Shiraz) wrote the screenplay, and Millennium is currently circling a handful of directors for the gig.
Millennium president Mark Gill said Zelda Fitzgerald remains an enduring and compelling figure because she represents so many different personas.
“It was the height of the Jazz Age, so you have all of that glamor and sophistication and living large. But you also have the massive drama of fly high, crash hard,” he said. “She was massively ahead of her time, and she took a beating for it. He stole her ideas and put them in his books. The marriage was a co-dependency from hell with a Jazz Age soundtrack.”
Whether its Johansson or Lawrence who makes it into production first, neither would be the first to portray Zelda Fitzgerald on the big screen.
Most recently, Vanessa Kirby played her in a small role in the Colin Firth starrer Genius, as did Alison Pill in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. On the small screen, everyone from Blythe Danner to Natasha Richardson has tackled the literary heroine. But given the level of talent attached to the two latest films, the new Zelda Fitzgerald incarnation will likely offer a far more multilayered portrayal than ever before.
INDIEWIRE – Scarlett Johansson is taking on a new, less controversial, role. The actress is reportedly set to play the famous novelist Zelda Fitzgerald in the upcoming feature The Beautiful and Damned, according to Tracking Board.
The film, written by Hanna Weg, centers on the tumultuous and overwhelming relationship between Zelda and the Great Gatsby writer F. Scott Fitzgerald. Their doomed love was filled with jealousy and drama, which makes it perfect for the big screen.
Known as “the first American flapper,” Fitzgerald gave her the name “flapper” for her inhabited lifestyle. The novelist gained much inspiration from his wife, using her as material for his books such as Tender is the Night and The Beautiful and The Damned, which is said to draw close to their marriage.
Zelda also took her personal life to the pages, her novel Save Me the Waltz is a semi-autobiographical look at her marriage. She also faced many obstacles during her lifetime and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Always trying to find herself artistically, she ended up being admitted to a sanatorium. At one point, Nick Cassavetes was rumored to direct the film with Keira Knighley attached.
Johansson recently received backlash and was accused of “whitewashing” her role in anime adaptation of Ghost in the Shell, character originally written for a Japanese actress. Currently she can be heard in The Jungle Book and be next seen as Black Widow in Captain America: Civil War.