Our chill, astronomically famous BFF Jennifer Lawrence has been cast to star in Zelda, a film about tragic writer and socialite Zelda Fitzgerald. The film is Ron Howard’s latest development project, one he may helm as director.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Nancy Milford’s best-selling biography on the Jazz Age icon—also titled Zelda—catalyzed plans for a movie.
If you’re not familiar with Zelda Fitzgerald, you might know her husband: one F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby, This Side of Paradise, and Tender Is the Night. In the 1920s, the couple loomed large as New York City celebrities and partied across Europe. Zelda—often known as the first flapper—served as Fitzgerald’s creative muse, most famously inspiring the character of Daisy Buchanan, Jay Gatsby’s romantic obsession in the classic novel.
History has not always been kind to Zelda Fitzgerald, focusing on her primarily as a troubled beauty hospitalized for struggles with mental health. But she was also a novelist and published a great many short stories, including “Death of the Flapper.” Her marriage, sadly, was plagued by her husband’s alcoholism, not to mention mutual infidelity and mistrust. Zelda in fact accused Fitzgerald of carrying on an affair with friend and contemporary author Ernest Hemingway. Whatever the legitimacy of that particular claim, F. Scott betrayed his wife’s trust in other ways, not only by sleeping with other women, but by rummaging through Zelda’s diaries to procure material for his stories.
After a tumultuous and painful marriage, F. Scott died of a heart attack in 1940 at age 44. Zelda followed eight years later when a fire ravaged the hospital where she was being treated.
Howard’s film seeks to explore Zelda Fitzgerald on her own terms, just as Milford’s book does, rather than as the muse of another genius or as a tragic, pitiable beauty.
Although Lawrence has already been cast, I image there will be much debate over who is best suited to depict such a passionate, talented, and complicated woman. But I must say that I’m pleased with the choice. Lawrence is profoundly gifted and capable of nuanced, heart-rending performances. Lately, however, it has seemed that directors have asked for the “JLaw Effect” in which she treats every moment as charged and provoking. And yes, it’s fucking awesome to see Lawrence lose it on screen; she’s positively mesmerizing. That said, it will be her ability to intertwine the subtle and bombastic that enables her to embody Zelda.
We’ll have to stay tuned for a release date.