ABC’s Pan Am pilot aims to translate the spectacle of mid-century air travel into a new dramatic series, and the latest passenger aboard appears to be Christina Ricci. The actress is in negotiations to join the cast of the pilot alongside Michael Mosley and Margot Robbie.

Pan Am will focus on Pan-American World Airways, one of the most successful of the United States airlines until its collapse in the 1990s. The series takes place in the ’60s, not unlike the current king of  TV period pieces, Mad Men, as well as NBC’s forthcoming Playboy pilot. The project is being written and executive produced by ER‘s Jack Orman and directed by Thomas Schlamme of The West Wing.

Ricci would be the third cast member to join Pan Am, after Michael Mosley of Scrubs and relative newcomer Margot Robbie. 31-year-old Ricci mostly supporting parts in movies (The Addams Family, Sleepy Hollow, Buffalo ’66) and television (Ally McBeal) until a role opposite Charlize Theron in 2003’s Monster boosted her career. She went on to play leads in Black Snake Moan, Speed Racer and After.Life. Her most recent role was the voice of one of the animated wolves in the forgettable Alpha and Omega.

Pan Am is the second broadcast pilot of the spec season to take place in the 1960s. Over at NBC, a line is forming outside of the Playboy Club. The pilot has already cast several of its leading ladies and signed Mad Men director Alan Taylor to helm the pilot. The latter’s no accident: both of these series are clearly hoping that Mad Men‘s cable viewership will translate into broadcast dollars. Interestingly, both are taking a similar approach, leveraging a well-known brand identity by turning back the clock to their relative heydays.

While Pan Am doesn’t have the instant recognition that Playboy offers, it’s still a relatively well-known name, particularly in the 40-and-over crowd. The sensationalized lifestyle of the pilots and stewardesses flight attendants made for an entertaining romp in Catch Me If You Can, which is set in the same era.

Pan Am is currently in the pilot stage at ABC, and has not been optioned for a full season.

Source: TV Guide