Christina Ricci started her major film career at about 10 years old with a splash starring alongside Cher in 1990’s Mermaids. In the decade or so to follow she followed that up with a mix of films ranging from the fantastical (The Addams Family, Sleepy Hollow) to the edgy (Buffalo ’66, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas).

After dabbling in TV guest roles over the years (Ally McBeal, Grey’s Anatomy, Saving Grace), the actress makes her series debut in ABC’s high-flying period series, Pan Am, Sunday at 10 p.m.

Pan Am strives to capture the sixties-era boom in jet travel and the international intrigue that surrounds it. Ricci plays Maggie, a beatnik who surprisingly excels in the uptight world of commercial airline stewardesses of the time.

The Hollywood Reporter recently spoke to Ricci about why she decided to jump onboard Pan Am.

The Hollywood Reporter: You have basically been a film actress your entire career. What made you want to do TV?

Christina Ricci: I’ve been wanting to do TV for a while. I feel like there’s amazing talent in TV – from content to writers, directors, actors, amazing talent in television these days. And I also really wanted the experience of being with a character for months, if not years, and really knowing what it felt like to live with a character that long, evolve with a character for that long, and have the time to reflect on somebody and change with them. I wanted to know what that felt like.

THR: What was it about Pan Am that made you want to sign on?

Ricci: So, I’ve been wanting to do television for a while and every year we looked at the new pilots and then this came along. I was offered this and thought this was great and kind of perfect for me. It was an ensemble, which I was looking for. It’s hour long and I just loved that it was a different concept, really. It was something brand new. It’s really exciting. I loved the period of time this was going to tackle, because for me this period in history is really, really interesting for our country. It’s always been something that has been fascinating to me. So, I was really excited by it. This country changed so much in such a short amount of time, to think about how much changed.

THR: This was a very ambitious pilot. After you read the script, did you wonder how they would accomplish it all?

A little bit, yeah. I did. It seemed very ambitious to me, as well. But they did it and I was impressed.