Emmy nominated actress, Christina Ricci, debuted in her first major role at just 10 years old.
The 1995 instant classic, ‘Casper’, was led by fifteen-year-old Ricci. She is known largely for playing edgy and creepy characters. Between her roles in ‘Addams Family’, ‘Casper’, and ‘Sleepy Hollow’, it’s easy to understand her macabre niche.
Brooding and sardonic from her first appearance on film, Ricci is the original goth girl in pop culture memory. As an actor, producer, artistic muse to Mark Ryden, and child advocate, she explores darkness and sexuality in her work.
An Early Rise to Fame
Even before her breakout role at age 10, Ricci was working in show business; she appeared on the TV show H.E.L.P. and Mermaids in 1990. In 1991, she landed her first major role, which she is still associated with to this day: Wednesday Addams from ‘The Addams Family’.
This macabre role awarded her notoriety, and a role in the 1993 sequel, ‘Addams Family Values’. Her casting in these cult-classic films early on cemented her characterization in future roles for years to come.
Internalizing the eccentricity that audiences expected of her resulted in her 1997 Golden Globe nomination for ‘The Opposite of Sex’.
For Ricci, 1997 ushered in a new type of role–the brooding, hyper-sexualized teenager. As she grew into adulthood, the thematic darkness she was known for remained central to her acting.
Growing up in Hollywood
From 1997 on, Ricci delved into characters that dealt with material such as drugs, sex, and kidnapping. In the public eye, she was a beloved child star; however, as she matured, she wanted to set herself apart from her childish persona.
At seventeen, she was featured in ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’, and ‘Buffalo ‘66’ among several other films. These two films are significant because they characterize her as a young, impressionable woman, perilously in the keep of dangerous men.
In a small way paralleling her roles at the time, Ricci famously spoke about her off-screen rift with Vincent Gallo, director of ‘Buffalo ‘66’; this film was her first away from home, without her mother. She mentions that Gallo specifically didn’t want her mother there, in addition to his eccentric and threatening method acting.
Even so, she credits Gallo’s talent for the success of the film and values the work they did together on set.
Producing & Beyond
Moving into adulthood, Ricci continued to act in films and also began producing them. As someone who grew up in the industry, producing was the next step; although, she has shown interest in directing as well.
The dissolution of well-known constructs is a concept that she gleaned from watching Bob Fosse, and has said this element will be present in her own films. Now that she is a mother, she’s gained a new perspective on what she’d like her legacy to be. In an interview with IndieWire, she added:
“I want to do things that I’m proud of instead of being exploited, as I feel I was when I was a child. I am now more in charge of myself and doing things because I understand more fully what life is supposed to be about.”
In this vein, she has also taken up activism for social justice issues. She is a supporter of the anti-racist movement, Black Lives Matter.
At age 15, Ricci’s role in Casper and her other early films would go on to shape her entire career path. Her niche in the odd and uncomfortable is offset by her cute and childlike demeanor in a way that is magnetic to audiences.