F. Scott Fitzgerald does not do great on the big screen. The 1974 attempt to adapt The Great Gatsby, with Robert Redford in the titular role, was well-acted but written and directed with safety and pure devotion to the source material in mind first and foremost. The most recent attempt, that by Baz Luhrmann, was certainly more, er, distinct but for all Luhrmann’s formal bombast, the movie was boring and gaudy when it wasn’t veering straight into total catastrophe. The two versions that came before ’74 – the 1949 version had Alan Ladd as Jay Gatsby – were enjoyable as entertainments but failed to raise any of Fitzgerald’s ideas about memory, obsession, class, and desire beyond talking points. Adaptations of Tender Is the Night and The Beautiful and the Damned would fall under the same rubric.
In fact, he’s only been matched by a director of vision once: David Fincher‘s sublime, time-obsessed adaptation of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. And attempts at capturing the author’s life, as well as that of his celebrated, infamous wife, Zelda Fitzgerald, haven’t fared much better either, only really being depicted with proper passion, fury, and talent in Woody Allen‘s Midnight in Paris. Well, Amazon is looking to change that in 2017 with their new drama series Z: The Beginning of Everything, in which Christina Ricci stars as Zelda and David Hoflin plays the famed writer. The new trailer for the series, which you can take a look at right below, certainly looks dramatic enough but I’m still having a hard time getting over that title. Though some video game fans might stage a nutty, you could have called it Zelda and not had the ridiculous subtitle and its promise that a very specific period piece will somehow be about “everything.” Let’s hope that’s just a moronic marketing decision and not indicative of the show on the whole.
Here’s the trailer for Z: The Beginning of Everything:
Here’s Amazon’s synopsis for Z: The Beginning of Everything:
Z: The Beginning of Everything is a bio-series of the life of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, Southern Belle turned flapper, writer and icon of modern feminism. Starting right before Zelda meets unpublished writer F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1918, Z dives into the fascinating life of a woman ahead of her time and the story of the most famous, and infamous, couple of the Roaring 1920s.