Actress, Christina Ricci speaks to fans during the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo at Stamede Park on Saturday, April 27, 2019. Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia
Darren Makowichuk / DARREN MAKOWICHUK/Postmedia
It did not take long into the Calgary Expo conversation with Christina Ricci for the question of type-casting to come up.In fact, it was the very first audience question. Granted, it was worded in a typically flattering fashion. But the actress, who is now 39 and has been acting since she was seven, was asked what it feels like to be the “epitome of little-girl goth icon.”It was, of course, a reference to what may still be her most famous role: the deadpan, morbid Wednesday in the Addams Family movies.“It feels really normal and natural to me,” Ricci said. “I don’t know if that’s because so early in my life that was an influence or if I would naturally be that way without that having been a thing in my life. I played Wednesday when I was 10 or 11. It was a nine-month span of time and it’s been something that has been so encouraged in me ever since that I don’t know what came first.”On a weekend full of current (Asher Angela and Jack Dylan Grazer from Shazam!) and former (Sean Astin, Corey Feldman, Ke Huy Quan of the Goonies) child actors, Ricci gave a very frank assessment of finding fame at such a young age.“I wouldn’t recommend that for young people,” Ricci said. “I didn’t realize how badly it was affecting me until I got older. I think it’s really hard to ask somebody to figure out who they are when they’re being told who they are by strangers and adults and people that you have to listen to. People have opinions about you should change. You read some review written by an adult about you as a child and it’s so critical. And then you chance based on that. It’s all stuff that you wouldn’t let your child be exposed to. I didn’t handle it very well. But I was able, when I was an adult, to work through it a little bit.”Ricci may be best known as Wednesday Addams, her career has actually been full of daring choices. Surprisingly, the audience was keen to dig deep into her filmography into some more obscure titles. She revealed that the hardest role may have been the 2001 drama Prozac Nation, in which she played a young Harvard student suffering from depression.“I hadn’t learned how to be safely a method actor,” she said. “I hadn’t learned how to turn it off and take care of myself at night and all that kind of stuff. I lost myself a little bit making that movie.”Two years later, she made what was arguably the darkest film of her career. In the harrowing 2003 biopic Monster, she played the girlfriend of serial killer Aileen Wuornos, who was played by Charlize Theron.“When something is so obviously dark, your survival instincts came into effect,” Ricci said. “Charlize and I basically laughed the entire movie until the director called action. And the director learned to not wait for us to stop laughing. I think that’s what happens when it’s really dark subject matter.”There were plenty of other tidbits. In her 1990 film debut, Mermaids, she would hide from her on-set tutor by hiding in Cher’s trailer because she was so enamoured with the artist. She had fun on the 2008 CGI-heavy, box-office disaster Speed Racer, but signed on largely to work with the directors, the Wachowskis.“The sets were not present, they were just green boxes,” she says. “But it was still super fun.”Ricci doesn’t seem to have much fondness for the short-lived TV series Pan Am, even though it appears to have developed a bit of a cult following since it was cancelled.“It was a little bit muddled,” she said.When asked for a “fun or interesting story” from her short stint on the set of Terry Gilliam’s 1998 fever-dream of a film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, the surreal retelling of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson’s 1960s road trip starring Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro, she said.“The whole thing is a funny story,” she says. “I was 17 years old and I’m on the floor of this elaborate hotel-room set with this shag carpet. I’m supposed to be all strung out with makeup half on my face and Benicio Del Toro, he’s huge and yelling and whipping me with a sheet and I’ve got Johnny Depp’s ankle in my mouth. Terry Gilliam is yelling ‘Growl! And really bite him!’ I just thought to myself: ‘Wow.’“I took my mouth off of Johnny’s ankle and went to him: ‘So I’m going to really bite you.’ He did the voice, and said ‘Go for it!’”The Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo runs until Sunday at Stampede Park.