Christina Ricci had to take matters into her own hands and create a romantic leading role for herself because she would "never have been cast" in such a part, she said.
The actress plays Zelda Fitzgerald - the wife of American novelist F Scott Fitzgerald - in a new TV series focusing on the socialite's fame and influence, as well as her celebrity relationship, in the 1920s before her death at age 47.
Despite her long and successful career as a movie and TV actress, former child star Ricci said audiences do not see her in such a role because she does not "fall into that category", something she struggles to understand.
Ricci, 36, told the Radio Times: "I would never have been cast in this part, ever, because people just don't see me as a romantic lead.
"I just don't fall into that category. So I just created the part myself."
"I couldn't tell you why ... Possibly with love stories, there's a lot more suspension of disbelief than with other stories and perhaps it's that I don't buy into it myself."
Ricci said she started writing her own projects because "I can't just whinge and moan about things".
She added: "If you have a problem, change it."
Ricci's new series Z: The Beginning of Everything is based on Therese Fowler's novel Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, a book the actress was so inspired by, she went to Amazon and pitched it as a TV show herself.
She said: "It's interesting, for such a rich story with two famous, glamorous people, that it's never been made.
"And I think it provoked a little bit of my sense of injustice. It's bizarre that with two people, both so famous, we know all about one person (Fitzgerald) and only horrible things about the other (Zelda, whose reputation is dominated by her mental illness)."
Ricci said Fitzgerald was allowed by Zelda to take sections from her journals for his own novels, and used the example to speak out about how women need to "redefine our roles for ourselves".
Ricci said: "Once she gives him permission to take her writing, it basically means she has to accept the secondary position."
On the topic of women's rights in regards to newly elected US president Donald Trump, she said: "Well, leaving the presidency out of the answer, I think that things are bad for women and have been bad for a long time and I think just because this person has been elected, it's not anything new.
"Things aren't great but I do think we have a responsibility, as women, to look at why it's not so great for us and change our own roles before we expect people who don't have our life experience to understand."
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