If I were to tell you that a big-budget, big-name Zelda Fitzgerald biopic were in the works, would you be excited? I hope so. I hope you’re excited enough to still be interested when I tell you there are actually TWO big-budget, big-name Zelda Fitzgerald biopics in the works.
Scarlett Johansson, meanwhile, will play Zelda in The Beautiful and the Damned, based on F. Scott’s play of the same name.
Lawrence’s movie will be loosely based on Nancy Milford’s biography, Zelda, and will focus on her marriage— specifically, the question “Can love exist between creative equals?”
ScarJo’s is said to be the more historically accurate version of Zelda’s life and descent into mental illness. This is the project that has the go-ahead of Fitzgerald’s estate, and possession of some recently discovered transcripts from her time in a sanatorium.
So who are we more excited about, and which version?
Scarlett Johansson has grown on me over the years, and my total admiration of her acting and project choices was solidified with Under the Skin. The thing is, in reality, I think those project-choosing abilities far outweigh her actual acting. She has a great knack for being gorgeously stoic, while tonal magic happens around her. That’s not a dig. It’s a skill.
But is that what we want in a Zelda? Someone who’s really good at— even when she IS emoting— moving their face as little as possible? Of course, it’s easy to imagine what Jennifer Lawrence might do with this character.
I’m probably selling both of these women short. But that’s our right as picky, judgy movie-loving cravers of fun, feminist period material. That type of movie is hard to come by, so yeah, we’re going to have opinions. For what it’s worth, I’m looking forward to more episodes of Amazon’s original show Z: The Beginning of Everything. That was their pilot from 2015 starring Cristina Ricci, focusing on Zelda Sayre before she married Fitzgerald. Amazon says they’ve picked the show up for development (and Amazon Prime members can still watch the pilot, though there’s no word as to when those new episodes will come.
In the meantime, while we’re talking Zeldas, maybe this is a good time to once again ask why Alison Pill isn’t in literally everything?