CHRISTINA RICCI is doing something Shirley Temple couldn't — wear lipstick without crashing out of her movie career. The child star of Casper talks about growing up in The Ice Storm.
Words: Anwar Brett
IT IS ALWAYS something of a shock to see a much loved child star nervously entering adulthood. Some of course don’t make it — the greatest child star of all. Shirley Temple. faded into obscurity in early adulthood when her moppet curls and cutesy smile were replaced by womanly curves and a bit of lippy.
Drew Barrymore on the other hand achieved mixed success by embracing her womanhood a little too vigorously. making us forget she had ever been a lovable innocent. The biggest success story of modern times is surely that of Jodie Foster, an actress who has matured from talented child star to a two times Oscar winner.
Fans of Christina Ricci’s work in films like Mermaids, The Addams Family movies and Casper. will be pleased to know she is about to pull off her most difficult role yet: maturing from child star to adult actor.
Ricci’s performance in Ang Lee’s The Ice Storm is an impressive portrait of burgeoning
20 TIIE LIST 6-19 Feb 1998
womanhood. expressed through sexual come- ons to her best friend (Elijah Wood) and his timid brother (Adam Hann-Byrd). For New York based seventeen-year-old. the complexity and variety of work she is being offered is the incentive she needs to make that big leap.
‘lt‘s kind of weird when people come up to me and say: “It can‘t be you — you were so little then. and you look so old now." It‘s kind of strange. but it’s also comforting to know other people have made that transition from child to adult actor.‘
A recent high school graduate. Ricci admits she would also like to try writing. but has no intention of quitting acting yet. Several of her films await a UK release and she is on the lookout for challenging roles.
The greatest child star of all, Shirley Temple, faded into obscurity when her moppet curls and cutesy smile were replaced by womanly curves and a bit of lippy.
‘What‘s important to me is to always play something different,‘ she says. ‘People might be a bit wary of casting me at first because of what I’ve done before. but I’ll always audition for them. It‘s a way of showing them and proving to yourself that you can play the part.’
In conversation Ricci gives the impression of youthful naivete combined with hard earned experience, but little can have prepared her for the un-Hollywood approach of The Ice Storm director Ang Lee.
‘Ang is definitely different from other directors.’ she says. ‘but I liked that. He‘d give you one word directions. and you'd only know you were doing it right if he didn’t say anything. He doesn’t communicate much. but I kind of liked it.‘
Ricci seems intent on avoiding The Drew Effect — she is intent on not allowing her public image to get confused with her self image. and lives as far away from Hollywood as possible. But more adult themes are inevitably intruding upon her roles.
Comedy drama Buffalo 66 casts her as a woman kidnapped by ex-con Vincent Gallo and persuaded to pose as his wife in order to fool his strong-willed but estranged mother. In The Opposite Of Sex. Ricci is a femme fatale who seduces and kills anyone in her cross country path. How soon they grow up. ‘The whole movie is about my cleavagc.‘ she laughs. Sounds like it‘s Hollywood or bust.
The Ice Storm opens at Edinburgh's Cameo from Fri 6 Feb and the GFT from Fri 13 Feb.