Taking an airplane never looked so good.
‘Pan Am,’ slated to start in the fall, follows a group of young flight attendants who sign on to the “new” luxury airline in the hopes of making a change in their lives. The passengers and crew face a voyage whose landscape is shaped by romance, a volatile 1960s society and yes, even undercover espionage.
Starring Margot Robbie (‘Neighbours’), Kelli Garner (‘My Generation’), Karine Vanasse (‘Polytechnique’) and movie star Christina Ricci as the flight attendants, there is no shortage of sexiness in the sky. But that sexiness is not easily found, according to Ricci.
“We wear girdles,” said Ricci. “It’s literally a half-hour pee break. Someone has to help you, because afterward it’s all unhooked.”
“The girdles make you walk a certain way,” she continued. “It keeps your legs together.”
“I don’t know how women in the 1960s did it,” adds Robbie. “I don’t know how women got dressed by themselves.”
Similar to its predecessor, AMC’s ‘Mad Men,’ there are plenty of curves to go around. The stars of ‘Pan Am’ say it’s not unusual to have their behinds slapped as they walk up and down the aisle of the aircraft. Indeed, for some of the leading ladies, it was tough to acclimatize themselves to that ’60s way of thinking — but together, they were able to have fun with it and look at it in a positive light.
“We live in an age where people are more jaded,” said Ricci. “If you look at it from a ’60s perspective, [our characters] get to travel a lot in an era where people didn’t get to travel. Back in the ’60s, air travel was only for people with large incomes. So we get to go from place to place in a male-dominated world.”
Unlike ‘Mad Men,’ ‘Pan Am’ promises to focus more on the women. Ricci is the rebellious bohemian Maggie, Vanasse is the flirtatious Collette, Garner is the always-adventurous Kate and Robbie is Kate’s beauty queen sister, out to flee her buttoned-down life (literally, she leaves her groom at the altar). And while each of the stars has perfected that classic “Pan Am Walk” with the hips swaying and one hand in the air, underneath the pretty facade it’s all about female empowerment.
“Men. Who needs ’em?” quips Robbie.
‘Pan Am’ is produced by Nancy Hult Ganis (a former flight attendant), written by Jack Orman (‘ER’) and directed by Tommy Schlamme (‘The West Wing’). It will air on ABC in the US and on CTV in Canada.