Actress Christina Ricci is flying high on the wings of her new show, “Pan Am,” in which she plays a 1960s-era stewardess.
Catch the show premier this Sunday, Sept. 25, at 10 p.m. on ABC, but first catch Christina live on “Good Morning America” tomorrow!
Do you have a question for the “Pan Am” star?
Submit your question for Christina here, and then tune into “GMA” tomorrow, Friday, to see if she answers your question live, on-air!
Christina Ricci has been a staple of edgy movies for some time, but she’s now ready to take flight with a weekly television role.
“Monster” and “Black Snake Moan” are among the testaments to Ricci’s knack for unconventional characters, and if she’s going to play a more traditional one, at least it jets back about 50 years. The ABC series “Pan Am” premieres Sunday (Sept. 25) with Ricci as a stewardess in the early 1960s, when international air travel still was a new adventure — though Pan American World Airways would meet its demise in 1991.
“When it’s you, you don’t have the objectivity to step back and say whether it’s a big deal or not,” the still-petite Ricci tells Zap2it about making her full-time move to the home screen. “I love television, and I feel like some of the best talent is working in TV right now, from acting to writing and directing. For a while, I’ve been wanting to be on a show.”
Ricci has dipped a toe into that pool on occasion, with extended guest runs on “Ally McBeal” and “Saving Grace.” She notes, “I’ve wanted the experience of being with one character for a long time. I always wondered what that would be like. I’m one of those people who likes to experience a lot of different things, so I think it must be kind of amazing to have a sense of who someone you’re playing really is.”
“Pan Am” executive producer Jack Orman has given Ricci confidence that she’s going in the right direction. “He called me and said, ‘Just from the dailies, I can see Maggie coming out and who she’s going to be. It’s so exciting to see her evolving.’ I really wanted that, to feel that person changing. As a TV watcher, I’ve seen that, and I thought it would just be so much fun as an actress.”
The full-scale airplane mockup being used for “Pan Am” is a big help in putting the cast in the right mindset. “You have to have that sense of excitement every time,” Ricci reflects. “I always remind myself that the passengers are excited, and you’re excited because they are. There are great meals, fresh flowers, the silver is real … it’s a job for the stewardesses, but at the same time, it’s meant to be beautiful.”
Having flown often, Ricci knows firsthand when travel can lose some of its beauty. “Because I can look really young, I was told one time to get out of first class and use the bathroom in the back of coach,” she recalls. “Then I came back to sit down in my seat in first class and they were like, ‘What are you doing? We told you to go back to coach.’
“They didn’t believe me. I had to show them my ticket, which I luckily could find, because I often throw it away once I’m on the plane. And they still were like, ‘What?’ Once I showed them my ID, they recognized my name and said, ‘Oh.’ After that, I kept getting apologies for hours.”
Not that Ricci could forgive completely: “One of the same stewardesses kept saying, ‘Will you sign an autograph for my daughter?’ And I was like, ‘Really??'”
As Maggie, the head flight attendant on ABC’s new mile-high drama, Pan Am, Christina Ricci takes us up into the sex-filled skies of the 1960s. But, as the actress points out, this in-flight entertainment isn’t just about warm nuts.
Out: What’s it like to be Christina Ricci at the airport?
Ricci: I don’t have to disguise myself—I just tend to roll with it. On the plane it’s not really a problem, although sometimes people will come up and say hi. But that’s rare.
What do you think the Pan Am flight attendants represented for women in the ’60s?
The job itself gave women a chance to have careers that gave them freedom and the ability to see places that most Americans, even most men, never got to see. These women didn’t have to live by the rules that were set up for them by a male-dominated culture. They didn’t have to get married and stay home and have kids and take care of a man. They could go out and make their own money and live their own lives. Even though it was during a time when it wasn’t touted as a popular desire, there were women who were fulfilling a dream to dictate who they were going to be and how they were going to live. They found a way for that to be OK.
Are you bracing yourself for all the comparisons to Mad Men?
Of course. That is the comparison. They’ll be compared because it’s the same era, and, believe me, Mad Men is one of my favorite shows, so having it compared to that is great. But the subject matter is so different.
January Jones talks a lot about wanting to get as far away as possible from anything 1960s in her personal life. Are you worried you’ll get sick of period costumes, too?
Who knows how I’ll feel after a few months, but I love the ’60s. I’m excited to wear [these clothes] everyday. I tend to have a little bit of vintage in me.
Pan Am premieres September 25 at 10 p.m. EST on ABC. This fall, Ricci also stars in Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star, in theaters September 9.
Christina Ricci and Mike Vogel talk about becoming immersed in the culture and clothing of the sixties for their new show Pan Am.
Last night, Nylon magazine held a dinner party to celebrate Christina Ricci’s cover. I have just added 22 HQ and MQ photos of Christina Ricci at the event into our photo gallery!
This past weekend, Christina Ricci was a guest at the Alexander Wang After Party in New York City. I have just added 52 photos of Christina from the event into our photo gallery!
Question: I have been teetering back and forth as to whether Pan Am deserves space on my DVR. Matt, I know you are the guru of TV, but I’m not sure if you are familiar with a show called Mile High, which I believe ran for two seasons on the BBC. I found this show quite funny and entertaining minus a couple hard-to-understand accents. It seems that Pan Am is very similar to Mile High, but will never get away with some of the things that Mile High did. Your thoughts are greatly appreciated. — Jeffrey
Matt Roush: I’m not acquainted with Mile High — if the shows don’t actually get imported to the U.S., I really don’t have time to sample others’ wares, much as I’d like — but from the way you describe it, it sounds a lot more outrageous than is Pan Am’s intent. Pan Am is a nostalgic ’60s period piece with a rather earnest approach to its soapy storytelling. I like it well enough to be recommending it in our Fall Preview issue — on stands now — and I love the way it looks, but it’s purely escapist programming, not trying to push the envelope (at least not yet), so gauge your expectations accordingly.