Scarlett Johansson Is Developing Her Own Zelda Fitzgerald Biopic
Decades after her tragic death, Zelda Fitzgerald — poet, playwright, painter, author, socialite and wife of writer F. Scott — is finally getting the attention she deserves. Following last week’s news that Jennifer Lawrence has signed on to star in Ron Howard’s Zelda comes word that Scarlett Johansson is developing her own Zelda Fitzgerald biopic, shedding light on a woman whose talents were obscured by her husband for years.
THR has an interesting new report on the competing Zelda Fitzgerald projects currently in development. There’s Ron Howard’s project, which he may also direct from a screenplay by Emma Frost (The White Queen), who adapted Nancy Milford’s best-selling biography. Then there’s Amazon Studios’ Z: The Beginning of Everything, a new series starring Christina Ricci as Fitzgerald.
And now a third player has entered the game, as Scarlett Johansson is set to star in her own biopic about the Jazz Age socialite and artist for Millennium Films. But Johansson’s project has something that Lawrence’s does not: Newly discovered transcripts from Fitzgerald’s time in one of the mental health institutions where she spent her final years. Those transcripts lend credence to speculation that Zelda wasn’t just her husband’s chief creative muse, but that he stole many of her ideas and used them as his own. Despite her socialite status, Zelda spent much of her adult life in F. Scott’s shadow — and she was arguably the more talented of the two.
Johansson’s project is titled The Beautiful and the Damned — a reference to F. Scott’s novel The Beautiful and Damned, which was an embellished account of their tumultuous marriage. Interestingly enough, F. Scott was outraged when his wife published her first and only novel, Save Me the Waltz, because it was a slightly fictionalized retelling of their marriage.
To be honest, Johansson’s biopic is a bit more attractive given her involvement and the inclusion of those newly discovered transcripts. Lawrence’s film could be just as compelling, but if Ron Howard directs, I don’t expect a particularly fascinating biopic — much less one that defies the usual conventions. Either way, we’re about to see a whole lot of Zelda Fitzgerald on our movie and TV screens.