Date of Birth: February 12, 1980
Place of Birth: Santa Monica, Calif., USA
Sign: Sun in Aquarius, Moon in Capricorn
Relations:Father: Ralph Ricci (lawyer-psychiatrist); mother: Sarah Ricci (real estate agent); siblings: Rafael, Dante, Pia; boyfriend: Matthew Frauman (actor)
Education: Attended Glenfield Middle School in Montclair, New Jersey and the Professional Children's School in New York
Christina Ricci is not an ingenue. From her first appearance on screen, as a ten-year-old in Mermaids, she had a disturbing undertone, kind of like the female version of John Malkovich, whom she cites as her acting idol.
Born in Montclair, New Jersey, Ricci had about as normal a suburban childhood as anyone in a Richard Linklater film. Or maybe a David Lynch movie. Her father, a primal scream therapist, saw clients in the family's basement in the evenings, while Christina was trying to sleep. Unbeknownst to him, his patients' screams traveled up the air vents and kept his daughter awake. Her parents have since divorced, and Ricci refuses all contact with her father.
In kindergarten -- so Ricci says -- she was saved from a school bully by a boy named Nicky. As a thank-you, she "lined up all the little girls, and everyone kissed him." A sweet story, but one that becomes somewhat suspect when a different article casts "Nicky" as the kid who had the lead in a grade-school play. When he punched Christina in the face, she was given his role (to punish him). Supposedly, Nicky's mother, an entertainment critic, saw the play and suggested Ricci audition for something other than school plays.
At Glenfield Middle School, she recalls, a secretary's boyfriend committed murder-suicide in the teacher's lounge. Around the same time, she attended slumber parties with some girlfriends, only to discover that they'd taken pictures of her without her underwear and shown them around school. Ozzie and Harriet, this wasn't.
Her mother packed up Christina, along with siblings Raphael, Dante and Pia, and moved the family to Manhattan, where Ricci attended the Professional Children's School, alongside moppet Macaulay Culkin, her spiritual opposite. At age 11, she landed what she still considers an ideal role, Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family. Far from the perky Annie her classmates were vying to become, Wednesday allowed Ricci to explore her dark side -- not many roles for pre-teens accommodate such grimness.
"When I was 14," Christina told Buzz magazine in 1998, "I was doing Casper, but I was really into Reservoir Dogs." By the end of that year, Ricci had starred in over $100 million worth of box-office bonanza. Nice, family fare, like The Secret of Bear Mountain, Mermaids and That Darn Cat. But from ages 14-16, Christina couldn't get arrested. It was a cocoon time, in retrospect, when the child actor transformed into the sensual, darkly mysterious young woman who co-starred in the acclaimed The Ice Storm, who seduced her brother's boyfriend in The Opposite of Sex, and who is kidnapped by Vincent Gallo's ex-con in Buffalo 66. Ricci became the poster girl for Sundance, following in the footsteps of Lili Taylor and Parker Posey. As opposed to an actress like Jodie Foster, who attempted to go through adolescence in relative obscurity, Ricci appears to bleed her awkwardness and teenage sadism all over her current films.
"I don't look the way I'm supposed to," she told Spin recently. "In Hollywood, you're supposed to look nice. Go get designer clothes. I don't do that. I don't like that whole thing where everyone looks the same. And I would feel like an asshole if I made myself look the same." In contrast to her shiny-happy-role-model peers, Ricci still seems raw, untamed and untameable. And she also smokes unabashedly. Well, almost unabashedly. "It's weird," she admitted recently to the Associated Press. "Like, me and Gaby [Hoffman, her best friend and co-star in 200 Cigarettes and Now and Then] will be sitting somewhere and I'll be smoking, and a woman will bring up her little kids and say 'they look up to you so much,' and I feel bad. I consider myself such a mess, and my life is not something people should want for themselves. But, I feel no responsibility. I feel badly smoking around little kids because they probably shouldn't. But I am a teen-ager. I am still allowed a couple years of being bad to myself."
2000 Bless the Child
2000 The Man Who Cried
1999 200 Cigarettes
1999 No Vacancy
1999 Sleepy Hollow
1998 Small Soldiers (voice)
1998 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
1998 The Opposite of Sex
1998 Buffalo '66
1998 Desert Blue
1998 I Woke Up Early the Day I Died
1997 That Darn Cat
1997 The Ice Storm
1997 Little Red Riding Hood
1996 The Last of the High Kings
1996 Bastard Out of Carolina
1995 Gold Diggers: The Secret of Bear Mountain
1995 Now and Then
1993 Addams Family Values
1993 The Cemetery Club
1991 The Addams Family
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)