Christina Ricci in Mothers and Daughters

Of all the actresses known for playing Wednesday Addams on stage or screen, I struggle to think of one other than Christina Ricci who is as iconic and widely celebrated for the role. The child acting prodigy gave a pitch perfect performance as a darker interpretation of the youngest lady in The Addams Family, at 11 years old in Barry Sonnenfeld’s 1991 adaptation and its 1993 sequel, that is still the character’s definitive portrayal.

Now, at 40 years old, the Santa Monica born actress is famous for more than just playing demented little girls. Christina Ricci has also played such diverse and even challenging roles like an abuse victim whose soul Samuel L. Jackson intends to save in Black Snake Moan, Trixie in Speed Racer, and Lizzie Borden in both a TV movie and miniseries about the alleged murderer from the Lifetime Network. When she is not on set, however, Christina Ricci has been commended for her outspoken in supporting female empowerment and ending sexual violence, which is what led her to become a National Spokesperson for RAINN (Rape Abuse Incest National Network) in 2007.

Learning all of this about Christina Ricci (for those who may not have known already) may come as a surprise to those who still remember her as the little girl from The Addams Family. Well, despite expressing interest in returning to the role if the opportunity arose, I imagine that she would most likely prefer to be remembered for more than that. Thus, we have compiled six facts about the actress that prove she is more than just Wednesday Addams, starting with one fact related to her her days as Wednesday Addams.

Christina Ricci and Christopher Lloyd in The Addams Family

Christina Ricci Helped Choose The Plot Twist In The Addams Family

As previously mentioned, then 11-year-old Christina Ricci’s performance as Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family (the directorial debut of Men in Black helmer Barry Sonnenfeld) has, essentially, become the benchmark for all subsequent portrayals of the character since - including Chloe Grace Moretz in the more recent animated film from 2019. Believe it or not, Ricci even had a tremendous influence on the first film’s story, as Paul Rudnick revealed in the following quote from The Hollywood Reporter’s oral history about the 1991 production:

I re-wrote the first Addams Family movie, though its plot was always freewheeling. For example: we were never quite sure if Uncle Fester should be the real thing or an imposter. If I remember correctly, Christina Ricci explained why Fester should be the real deal, and she, as always, made perfect sense and was extremely helpful. I think she pointed out that it was simply more emotionally satisfying and necessary to have the real Fester return to his loving and odd family.

Paul Rudnick is referring to the first film’s plot twist in which the lovingly creepy Fester Addams’ (Back to the Future’s Christopher Lloyd) is discovered to be a greedy lookalike who's seeking his part of the family’s fortune. Yet, thanks to Christina Ricci’s suggestion, it would be amended into a double-plot twist revealing that it was just an amnesiac Uncle Fester the entire time. I suppose that is why the producers (perhaps as a “Thank you”?) expanded Ricci’s role beyond the screen for the sequel.

Christina Ricci in Addams Family Values

Christina Ricci Narrated An Audiobook Adaptation Of Addams Family Values

Before people had online services like Audible to have a disembodied voice read stories to them, there was a device known as an audiocassette which people could buy for such purposes, among others. In tandem with Addams Family Values hitting theaters, Paramount Pictures, in association with Sony Music Entertainment, released an audio recording of the 1993 sequel’s novelization on tape, as read by the film’s own Wednesday Addams.

Devon Sawa and Christina Ricci in Casper

Devon Sawa Credits Christina Ricci For Helping Him Land The Title Role Of Casper

While The Addams Family was Christina Ricci’s first comic book movie, the most successful would be the 1995 Harvey Comics adaptation Casper, in which a 15-year-old Ricci plays Kat, whose paranormal researcher father (Bill Pullman) encounters the titular spirit and his uncles in an infamous haunted mansion. 

While Malachi Pearson (also known for playing Flounder in Disney’s The Little Mermaid) provided the voice of the friendly ghost, his human form was portrayed by Devon Sawa, whose chemistry with Ricci earned him the part according to a Twitter exchange between the actor and director Brad Silberling on the day of the film’s 25th anniversary. In a later tweet, Sawa mentioned how Ricci would recommend him to play her love interest in the coming-of-age drama Now and Then, adding that he “owe[s] her the world.”

Christina Ricci punching Ana Gasteyer on Saturday Night Live

While Hosting SNL, Christina Ricci Accidentally Punched Ana Gasteyer On Stage

Ironically, what Christina Ricci would later owe Ana Gasteyer is an apology for a painful mistake that was captured on live television. The former Saturday Night Live actress recalled to Jenny McCarthy on her Sirius XM show how first-time host Ricci was so nervous that she drank “a considerable amount of champagne” to calm her nerves, so when the time came for her, as a reckless teen, to give Gasteyer (performing as talk show host Sally Jess Raphael) a faux punch, it ended up being a genuine strike in the nose. It seems that Gasteyer was not too offended, considering how she jokingly describes the moment Ricci’s fist sent her glasses to the floor as “fantastic.”

Christina Ricci and Margot Robbie on Pan Am

Christina Ricci Shared An Apartment With Pan Am Co-Star Margot Robbie

For her first starring role on a TV show, Christina Ricci played Maggie Ryan - one of the four main 1960s flight attendants at the center of Pan Am - ABC’s aerial answer to the success of fellow period drama Mad Men on AMC. Unfortunately, the series only lasted 14 episode between 2011 and 2012, but one silver lining to come out of it was Ricci finding a friend in then up-and-coming actress Margot Robbie. Ricci told UK-based Evening Standard in 2017 that she knew the Australian future Oscar nominee was going to be a star while they shared a New York apartment during the production of Pan Am.

What do you think? Should Christina Ricci take a second career as a fortune teller from how spot-on her premonition of Margot Robbie’s success would turn out to be, or is acting still her true calling? Let us know in the comments and be sure to check back for additional information and updates on the career of the Addams Family star, as well as even more inside looks into the lives of your favorite celebrities, here on CinemaBlend.

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