Christina Ricci: Wednesday's Child

I'm one of those people who has to take a big pill and go to bed at the very sight of an Olsen Twin. So I had reservations about interviewing 13-year-old Christina Ricci, who's making her second outing as Wednesday Addams in Addams Family Values.

But wait, I thought, she's hardly your typical cutesy kid. She's creepily adult as Wednesday, and though she played Winona Ryder's little sister in Mermaids, her performance suggested they'd cloned Winona and shrunk her in the dryer.

I was expecting Wednesday Addams, but what I get is a healthy, dark blonde tomboy fresh from a soccer game, with her mom in tow. "I just played three hours of soccer--my hair's still wet and my ankles are so sore I'm walking like a guy," she laughs, glancing over the menu. No nervous twitching, no self-conscious posing: just a nice kid on the verge of her teens.

"I'm getting used to it "Christina says of the interview process, eyeing my tape recorder. "But it might get a little annoying if people start following me around with cameras." Reviews don't phase her either. "They're just peoples' opinions. Someone did say something about my 'gravedigger's forehead.' That kind of put me out. My brother always teases me about my forehead: 'I could eat off it!' "

Finally, a bit of Wednesday emerges as we discuss airplanes: "I love flying, especially turbulence: all that lightning. It's awesome!" But mostly I'm impressed with how much this ninth-grader sounds like a seasoned pro. "I want to work with Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg," she enthuses, leaning over her salad. "And Kenneth Branagh--he's my favorite." Christina's also something of a nascent feminist. "All the roles are for boys," she fumes. "The girls' roles are either small or all the same. There's just nothing interesting."

Suddenly, though, Christina's back in kid mode, describing how she and some friends, bored in a movie theater, created a wall mural with Gummi Bears. "We licked the backs and wrote on the walls: we wrote YUCK, and did a nice smiley face. We were very proud of ourselves."

"You did what?" mom asks, rolling her eyes. "It was creative," Christina insists. "It wasn't like we threw Gummi Bears at people!" Morticia Addams would be proud, but by the look on Christina's mom's face, I can tell there's going to be a Gummi Bear graffiti lecture at the Ricci home tonight.

______________

Eve Golden



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