Christina Ricci on Why it’s So Hard to Cast Her

“I think in some ways the image I presented of myself throughout the years has caused people to have a hard time casting me” – Christina Ricci

With actors who have spent nearly their entire lives on screen like Christina Ricci, it’s often hard to contextualize their careers — is Ricci the child actress from The Addams Family and Casper, the young adult in Sleepy Hollow and Monster, or the mature star of the new series Z: The Beginning of Everything? Obviously, she is all three and more — but in an interview with NPR, Ricci argues that casting directors also don’t know how to categorize her. She also shares her perspective on the challenges faced by child actors.

Unfortunately, like many actresses over thirty Ricci has had difficulty landing substantive, high-profile roles in the last decade. She believes part of that results from the youthful roles she is commonly associated with as a former child actor, saying, “I think until this I haven’t really been viewed as a romantic lead. And I think in some ways the image I presented of myself throughout the years has caused people to have a hard time casting me… One of the things that has actually been hard for me, in terms of being cast in things, is that I am very youthful seeming. The way that I speak, the way that I act — it’s very young. … And I also tend to speak like a teenager. I just have a very teenaged thing, which I’m trying to overcome. You’re very easily dismissed if you’re a small woman who looks young and then talks like an idiot, or a teenager. It’s not a good look. … I say ‘like’ a lot and ‘you know’ a lot and all these things and I’m trying to fight them.”

However, Ricci is quick to add that she doesn’t regret being a child actor — although she cautions parents about the lifestyle. She explains, “I don’t regret having started so young because I’m in such a great place and I’ve been so incredibly lucky in my life. But having gone through it, I can objectively say I don’t think children should be making life decisions. … I think it’s very difficult for children to contextualize fame. And if there’s no reference, there’s no life experience, they can’t necessarily contextualize achievement. So then there’s no barometer. If the first exposure to society is crazy fame and awards, where does a child put that? It becomes something that isn’t special. So what comes after that?”