The Evolution of Christina Ricci
Adorable munchkin-sized Ricci makes her filmic debut opposite the big-haired, big-voiced Cher and future alleged sticky-finger-owning Winona Ryder. Based on the 1986 novel by Patty Dann, the film follows a nutty mother and her two daughters as they attempt to get through life without getting wet (not literally, it’s a metaphor… or something).
Wee Ricci can also be spotted in the flick’s accompanying music video, Cher’s cover of 'The Shoop Shoop Song'.
Kooky How? Well, she’s Cher’s daughter for a start. Oddness abounds.
The Addams Family (1991)
After a brief appearance in Michael J. Fox comedy The Hard Way, Ricci slips into the role she was made for – the solemn-faced, acerbic and death-obsessed Wednesday.
Along with Anjelica Huston, Raúl Juliá, and Christopher Lloyd, she's part of a perfect cast for the adaptation of Charles Addams’ ghoulish cartoon characters.
Kooky How? Unsmiling backward teen with an inclination toward deadly death traps and attempting to murder her little brother? The kook starts here.
Addams Family Values (1993)
Arguably superior follow-up to the 1991 hit. The press tour for the film was less of a joy for the young actress...
“When I was 13, I was doing the international round tables,” Ricci remembers. “This one woman asked me if I'd gone through puberty yet, and if I had gotten my period. That sticks with me. Fortunately, I come from a very sarcastic family, so that's usually how I deal with it.”
Kooky How? Wednesday finally smiles! It’s a phenomenal bit of physical acting from Ricci, as the ghost-pale ankle-biter uses muscles she’s never used before.
The friendly ghost gets a CGI makeover – and enters the record books as the first ever CG title character in a movie. Ricci’s Cat meets the see-through dead boy when she and her father – who’s obsessed with tracking down the ghost of his deceased wife – move into the house he haunts with his disgusting uncles.
Trivia: Devon Sawa plays Casper when he’s transformed into his human form. Sawa and Ricci would work together again as young lovers that same year in Now And Then .
Kooky How? Necrophilia alert! Ricci like totally snogs a ghost! How’s that for off-the-wall?
Now And Then (1995)
A female version of Stand By Me ? It’s clear that’s what the filmmakers had in mind with this soppy but entertaining growing pangs drama. Ricci plays Roberta, who tapes her chest flat every day. Ricci could relate.
“I used to do that from the time I was 12 till I was 15,” she says. “You have to. [Hollywood] makes you. It makes you resent yourself.”
Kooky How? The breast-taping is pretty odd – as is Roberta’s obsession with death, thanks to the untimely demise of her mother.
Bastard Out Of Carolina (1996)
Ricci re-teams with her on-screen Addams Family ma, as Anjelica Huston makes her directorial debut. It’s a harrowing tale of abuse, as a poor mother and daughter struggle to make ends meet.
Huston says it was a “great script from a beautiful book and it was like heaven. We went off to North Carolina and had great actors and I asked for a lot of favours from friends of mine and I got some beautiful performances.”
Kooky How? If a grown-up Ricci had filmed a third Addams Family , this is what she'd look like. Just check out that eye make-up.
That Darn Cat (1997)
Remake of the 1965 family flick, this mildly diverting romp casts Ricci as 16-year-old Patti. She hates her hometown Edgefield, but she loves her cat D.C. When D.C. happens upon a trapped maid in a broken down building, the message she leaves on his collar acts as a clue to her whereabouts.
Setting out on a mission to find the kidnapped maid, Ricci teams up with FBI Agent Zeke (Doug E. Doug) and attempts to coerce D.C. into returning to the scene of the crime.
Kooky How? Is it really that healthy to be so obsessed with a cat?
The Ice Storm (1997)
“ The Ice Storm was fun,” Ricci says. “That was the first part I ever really wanted that I got.” As Wendy Hood, she’s a sardonic teen who memorably makes a Thanksgiving speech that gives anything but thanks.
The role had her tipped for an Oscar nom, not that Ricci minds not receiving one. “That would have been so cool. I got invited to my first post Academy Awards party. I'm going to frame the invite.”
Kooky How? Compared to the rest of the outrageous characters on display, Ricci’s Wendy is positively normal.
The Opposite Of Sex (1998)
Ricci gets to grips with her first all-out on-screen bitch as Dede Truitt, a 16-year-old seductress who gets her claws into her brother’s boyfriend.
Except Ricci was “surprised” that audiences considered the character to be so awful. “At Sundance, everybody asked, ‘How do you feel about playing a bitch?’” Ricci recalls. “And I'd say, ‘If you knew anything about human nature, you'd realise that for this girl, being like that is a total front for being unhappy.’”
Kooky How? Just listen to that sarcastic, irony-dripping narration.
Buffalo 66 (1998)
Notorious French actor/filmmaker Vincent Gallo casts Ricci in his directorial debut as Layla, a dancer his character of Buffalo kidnaps. But while Layla falls for her man, the same can’t be said for Ricci and Gallo.
“I was 17. It was my first movie away without my mother,” she says. “I really didn’t understand what was going on. I’d never encountered such insanity.” Did she see Gallo's next film, The Brown Bunny ? “I have no interest in seeing anything he ever does again.” Ouch.
Kooky How? In Gallo’s shadow, there’s not much room for Ricci’s kookiness to shine.
Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas (1998)
Critical flop but a firm cult favourite, Terry Gilliam’s out-there adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson’s novel exists on the edge of sanity.
Ricci pitches up in the star-studded trip-fest as Lucy, who Del Toro’s Gonzo met on the plane and fed LSD. Fearing that she’ll lose her rag once she comes down, Gonzo ditches her – then fakes a beating over the phone when she calls.
Kooky How? Ricci spends the entirety of her screen-time tripping on LSD. More ooky than kooky.
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
Winona Ryder was originally offered the role of blonde-haired Katrina Van Tassel, but after turning it down Ricci scored the part instead. Back on screen with Johnny Depp, she’s an integral if not particularly fleshed-out part of Tim Burton’s ode to claret-splattered Hammer Horror films.
Updating the legend of the Headless Horseman, the flick also stars legends Christopher Lee and Ian McDiarmid.
Kooky How? The fact that Christina’s not really kooky at all here (that’s Johnny Depp’s thing) is kooky in itself – how very post-modern!
The Man Who Cried (2000)
“I felt really lucky being offered this part,” Ricci explains of the chance to play Suzie in Sally Potter’s romantic war drama. “A 22-year-old American being selected over better trained British actresses.”
Yep, she’ back with Depp, this time sharing a sex scene with him. “Well, we were rooting around like pigs in this movie,” Ricci laughs. “But we get along so well. When it got irritating, we just laughed about it.”
Kooky How? Ricci plays a gypsy – and has a fully-clothed sex scene. Yeah, not very sexy. But pretty kooky.
Prozac Nation (2001)
Ricci jumps into the producing chair for the first time, bringing Elizabeth Wurtzel’s novel to the big screen.
In another first, she also stripped off on-screen – something she felt strongly about. “The director and I had decided that a nude scene was important for the movie. The movie itself is so exploitive of me,” Ricci says. “‘Exploitive’ has such a negative connotation, but there are some situations in which you exploit everything that you have, and I did for that movie. So for me, it was like, why not exploit me physically as well?”
Kooky How? Huh? Wha? Sorry, you lost us at the nude bit.
The Gathering (2002)
Sub-par horror about drifter Cassie (Ricci), who’s mowed down by a car and promptly loses her memory. Taken in by the driver, to recover, Cassie meets Michael, who is researching a new-found church from the First Century.
Soon, Cassie starts having fevered, religious visions – and finds herself investigating the local mechanic, who’s a shade suspicious. But what will she discover? Despite a typically stellar performance from Ricci, The Gathering has STV horror stamped all over it.
Kooky How? Visions of Jesus’ crucifixion are way up there.
Christina missed out on another Oscar nomination, though she clearly deserved one for her dizzying and authentic portrayal in this ‘based on a true story’ drama. Charlize Theron’s uglification may have outshone Ricci’s, but director Patty Jenkins couldn’t have asked for a better co-lead.
“I love the struggling [you see] in her,” the director says. “She's trying to stay in the closet [because] she has to in trying to stay at home. But she's trying to find herself, and she's not sure what that means yet.”
Kooky How? It’s all about true-life grit, and Ricci downplays the kook here. Kudos.
Troubled werewolf flick directed by Wes Craven and scripted by Kevin Williamson. What's most unsettling is just how wrong this one went.
“[ Actors ] weren't seeing dailies,” muses Ricci, “it was everyone who was watching the dailies who could see that it wasn't really working.” Numerous re-shoots later, and Craven’s attempt at a modern day Werewolf In London limped into cinemas. “A lot of that stuff, like the werewolf flipping the bird, that's not something we saw,” says Ricci. Stinker.
Kooky How? That raised, pulsing spine was pretty kooky.
“It’s basically a really wonderful story for young girls. It’s a fairy tale,” Ricci says of the film that required her to don a prosthetic pig nose as a cursed young woman. Of course, Ricci being Ricci, she’s given the cutest honker seen this side of Babe.
“There’s this riddle of how to break the curse,” says Ricci, “Really the moral of the story is that she had the power all the time, that all she needed to do was love and accept herself.” Ah, bless.
Kooky How? Pig nose! Ricci’s been through numerous transformations in her time, but none as radical as this one.
Black Snake Moan (2006)
Black Snake Moan has Ricci as a blonde nymphomaniac who Samuel L. Jackson’s religious farmer attempts to do right by.
“I was kind of intimidated and felt like, ‘God, I hope he likes me and I hope he thinks I’m a good actress,’” Ricci says of meeting Lord Jackson. “So when I realised that he trusted me and respected me - and I, of course, already trusted and respected him - it was amazing.”
Kooky How? Um, she’s in chains. And not wearing very much at all. I’d said we’re firmly in oddball territory here.
Speed Racer (2008)
The Japanese manga character gets pumped through the Hollywood system courtesy of the Wachowski brothers. Ricci takes on the role of plucky girlfriend Trixie – she gets to fly her own helicopter.
“I get to play a really awesome, strong girl,” Ricci enthuses. “She’s sort of like the girl I always wanted to be. She kung fu fights, but she has a special outfit for each activity. That is what I hope that all women felt is completely in their rights to do.”
Kooky How? She’s a cartoon character! But that’s about as kooky as it gets for Christina, with the psychedelic visuals doing the work for her.
New York, I Love You (2009)
A quasi-sequel to French flick Paris, je t’aime , and produced by the same mind behind that series of shorts, this romantic movie with a twist features shorts from Brett Ratner, Shekhar Kapur and Natalie Portman.
Ricci shares scenes with Orlando Bloom in director Shunji Iai’s segment, based on a story by Israel Horovitz. He’s newly single, calls her up… and it all goes from there. Fear not, despite the numerous love stories and big star names, this is no Love Actually. And that’s a good thing, actually.
Kooky How? The project itself is a departure from the norm.
And we’re back to the dark stuff again, as Ricci stars as a young woman who has a terrible car accident – only to wake up in the morgue. Is she dead? Undead? Or neither? Either way, creepy funeral director Liam Neeson is doing stuff to her …
It’s going straight to DVD here in the UK, but reviews haven’t been too bad for Ricci’s latest. For a time, the now 30-year-old actress was typecast as ‘the odd girl’. But Ricci doesn’t mind. “That’s fine,” she shrugs pragmatically. “You need something to put on the cover and I understand.”
Kooky How? Ricci spends time on the slab as a potential dead girl.