Ricci relishes the chances of playing unique characters on screen | News, Sports, Jobs


Actress Christina Ricci explains the important role film festivals play in the success of independent films Friday night on the A&B Amphitheater stage to accept the Maui Film Festival’s Nova Award Friday night at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. The Maui News/MATTHEW THAYER photo

Maui Film Festival winner Christina Ricci credits independent film festivals with helping her launch her acting career.

“Most of my career owes its success to independent cinema, and independent films live and die with these festivals”, Ricci said in an interview Friday night. “When I started in 1997, festivals were blowing up independent films.”

The Emmy and Golden Globe nominee was honored Friday night with the Maui Film Festival’s Nova Award, which honors an actor or actress “whose performances infuse each character they embody with a unique insight, humanity and wisdom.”

“I am so grateful and honoured,” Rici said. She hailed the evolution of the Maui Film Festival as “a breathtaking achievement” and director Barry Rivers as “someone who loves movies so much and wants to spread the love for independent movies.”

Acclaimed actress, Ricci recently starred in Showtime’s provocative hit series, “Yellow Jackets,” about a high school football team that descends into savagery after their plane crashes in the remote wilderness. Ricci plays the adult version of the character Misty Quigley, an unhinged hospice nurse with a pet parrot named Caligula. The New Yorker noted that “Ricci, who started acting professionally at age seven, brings a terrifying liveliness to the role of Misty.”

“My main motivation with everything is that I want to do something different and play a character that I’ve never seen before.” she explained her attraction to playing Misty. “I loved being able to play a main character that we had never had before. I was really intrigued by that.

Filming begins soon for Season 2 of “Yellow Jackets,” and it’s expected to launch before the end of 2022. Ricci said the cast is being kept in the dark about what happens next. “I have no idea,” she said laughing.

With 30 years in show business, Ricci is grateful that quality television productions now offer so many leading roles for women.

“I wanted to do television a long time ago, and at the time people were like, if you had a film career, why would you do television? I loved television. I spent whole days house to look at things, Rici said.

“I wanted to be part of this long-lasting storytelling. From now on, all the scenario writers passed on television. There is no longer any real difference between the quality of cinema and that of television. It’s amazing and especially what it has done for women. They can only do so many movies a year, but streaming platforms have opened up more opportunities, so of course more women need to be hired. It really changed things for actresses.

Tending to portray offbeat characters, some of Ricci’s most memorable roles include playing Wednesday Addams in “The Addams Family” as well as roles in Tim Burton “Sleepy Hollow” Ang Lee is gorgeous “The Ice Storm” and that of Lana Wachowski “The Matrix Resurrections.”

Ricci was just 10 when she played Addams on Wednesday with extraordinary confidence. Director Barry Sonnenfeld described her at the time as “the most articulate and intellectually gifted of all actors.”

“It was the confidence of a child” she says. “I came into the industry as a kid and had the confidence of a kid because I didn’t know the negative consequences. Nobody told me what could go wrong. I had the right to be so comfortable in front of the camera, and I never lost that. I feel so comfortable in front of the camera.

Ricci’s next roles include Mena Suvari in the cyberpunk indie feature “The Sun of Dresden”, and teamed up with director Tim Burton for a role in “Wednesday,” a Netflix supernatural comedy television series, based on Wednesday Addams’ character from The Addams Family, slated for fall.

“It was great to work with him again” she says.

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