Penelope's Purpose

After witnessing her acting magic span two decades, meeting Christina Ricci can be a startling experience. She is at once a graceful beauty and intense individual who is clearly enjoying every minute of the life that she has carved for herself.

Ricci's renaissance is upon usA CLASSIC BEAUTY

Stylish with a black bob, Ricci emits classic Hollywood in the way she speaks, with her movements and of course - in how the Golden Globe winner dresses. From her acting arrival in "Mermaids," to her latest starring role, "Penelope," Ricci is the epitome of the child star success story -- but without the stereotypical crash and burn ending.

The string of films she has amassed is impressive, vast and bold. Many on the list are favorites (complete Filmography below) and it's easy to sense this actress will finish her career lauded as one of cinema's most unique artistic contributors.

SheKnows, after pulling it together, asked the star of "Penelope" a few questions delving into the world according to Ricci.

MESSAGE MOVIE

SheKnows: You've mentioned in the past, how you think your character choices are thought of as brave, what was it about Penelope that you felt you needed to add her to your resume?

Christina Ricci: I felt the message was really valuable one. One that I haven't seen put out there in a long time. I think the sort of message movies have disappeared a little bit. Movies used to always incorporate some sort of moral, a message – teaching people something. I feel all the movies that are good for kids these days don't really have that kind of a message anymore. I also feel that I'm so sick of all the negative messages that are out there for young women. I would jump at the chance to be a part of something that sends what I think is the right message.

SK: A majority of SheKnows readers are women and will likely find the themes of "Penelope" attractive. What aspects of Penelope's experience and journey do you think will most resonate with female viewers?

CR: The idea that people are being crippled by insecurities. Women especially allow their insecurities and the negative things that other people put on them to overwhelm them and to trap them in a way. It keeps them from experiencing and enjoying life.

Chess, anyone?SK: There's the line in the film…

CR: Yeah, when Penelope finally says 'I'm not going to be trapped in this house for the rest of my life and miss the world because of something wrong with my face.' That's a huge moment. That's something a lot can be learned from. She goes out there, and she experiences the world in spite of it. She says that I'm going to accept that this is on my face. I'm going to change. I'm going to get out there and actually enjoy the world, live my life and have experiences.

THE FILM'S COMMON THREAD

SK: That's what was so striking for me, is how Penelope's experiences mirror so many.

CR: I think a lot of women agree that they've been in situations that should have been so much fun. But all they could think about was whatever…the way they looked, what they were wearing, their weight. They couldn't relax and have a good time. That is such a sad thing to look back on, and I don't think it's something people have to suffer through. You have to learn to love yourself.

CHRISTINA'S FILM MOM

SK: What was also so great to watch in this film was your chemistry with Catherine O'Hara. Having her background of improv, what was it like for you working opposite her in this film?

CR: It was so much fun. I was so excited when they cast her. She's one of my favorite actresses ever. When I was a teenager I think I saw "Waiting for Guffman" five times in the theater. Working with her was great. She is just as much fun to work with as she is to watch. She's such a wonderfully warm and open person.

SK: I understand she's an actor's actress. Is that true?

CR: (laughs) She actually one day sat down, and after I gushed to her about how much I loved her, I told her that her drunk is the best drunk I've ever seen in my entire life. She actually sat down and showed us to how she created her drunk. Where the character comes from…and then I saw a man who was drunk who was doing that…so I added that to the thing.

SK: Sounds like the Actor's Studio.

CR: It does (laughs). She broke down her character development and encouraged us to be braver and to take more chances and be more improvisational. Also, go out there look at the world and work on your drunk. It's so amazing to have someone of her talent who will really talk to you in such a straight forward level about acting. It's a wonderful memory of working on "Penelope."

It's just a fantasyChristina Ricci Filmography:

Speed Racer (Summer 2008)
Penelope (2008)
Black Snake Moan (2007)
The Gathering (2006)
Home of the Brave (2006)
Cursed (2005)
I Love Your Work (2005)
No Vacancy (2004)
Prozac Nation (2003)
Anything Else (2003)
Monster (2003)
The Laramie Project (2002)
Pumpkin (2002)
Miranda (2002)
All Over the Guy (2001)
The Man Who Cried (2001)
Bless the Child (2000)
200 Cigarettes (1999)
Sleepy Hollow (1999)
Summer Fling (1998)
The Opposite of Sex (1998)
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
Desert Blue (1998)
Pecker (1998)
Small Soldiers (1998)
That Darn Cat (1997)
The Ice Storm (1997)
Buffalo '66 (1997)
Gold Diggers The Secret of Bear Mountain (1996)
Bastard Out of Carolina (1996)
Casper (1995)
Now and Then (1995)
Addams Family Values (1993)
The Addams Family (1991)
The Hard Way (1991)
Mermaids (1990)

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