The first thing Christina Ricci set out to do after reading Therese Anne Fowler’s “Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald,” was find out who owned the filming rights. The actress was so determined to play the Jazz Age icon and wife to F. Scott Fitzgerald, that when she learned nobody owned the rights, she made sure to obtain them herself.
As a result, Ricci, 36, best known for ’90s films like “The Adams Family” and “Sleepy Hollow,” is star and producer on the new Amazon Studios series, which works to rectify the reputation of one of America’s most stigmatized historical figures.
We recently caught up with the star to discuss the show, and more.
Why was it so important for you to tell Zelda’s story?
It’s just such great material. I was kind of shocked nothing’s ever been done about her before. Everything about it is so appealing to an actress. I really understand it. Then on top of it, it sort of pokes my sense of justice in a way, that she still has this horrendous reputation — and all the right information is out there, it’s just people don’t really know it. I just think it’s incredibly unfair. Hopefully this will redeem her a little bit in the eyes of the public.
Tell me about the incredible costumes in the series.
Yeah they’re amazing. We had costume designer Tom Broecker, was just incredible. For me, almost all my stuff, except a few of the things I wear in the pilot, were actual pieces that he found, like real vintage pieces that he found and re-worked or tailored, because it’s very hard to replicate those clothes because of the way they made that stuff and the fabrics they were using at the time. We used a lot of the real deal.
That 1920s look isn’t always easy to pull off.
Yeah, looking at, I’m very small, so those sort of shapeless dresses of the ’20s, unless they’re done the right way on a person my size, it can make you look short and square, but Tom is so smart about using really light fabrics and sheer. A lot of my dresses are sheer because then you get to feel the shape of the body and it doesn’t appear to be so boxy.
You live in Brooklyn nowdays. What’s your relationship with NYC?
I grew up in the Tri-State area. I’ve been coming to the city since I was 7. I started coming to the city everyday after school to audition for things. This feels like home to me. To me, this feels like a city I identify with.
If you could have a New York monument named after you, which would you choose?
Oh, wow. I don’t know. … They could name Barney’s after me, that’d be great.
Do you have a favorite restaurant in the city?
There’s a place my family always went to my entire life … Forlini’s on Baxter Street, downtown. It is such a great “red sauce” joint. It’s run by the Forlini brothers. It’s just a very traditional New York Italian, red booths, kind of place. I think it’s definitely worth a visit. It feels very old fashioned.
You had a stint on Broadway in 2010 — any plans to return to the stage?
I would love to. I think it’d be difficult to do right now, my son the age he is. [Ricci has a two-year-old son named Freddie]. When he gets older … maybe I would figure out a way to make that work.
STREAMING: “Z: The Beginning of Everything” is available now on Amazon