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Christina Ricci On Anorexia and Other Taboo Subjects
* Interview by Thomas Beller Fall 1998 | restaurant and apartment in New York City | cassette tape recorder
* Beller’s profile of Christina Ricci, “Hello Nasty”, appeared in SPIN Magazine
* Executive producer: David Gerlach
Christina Ricci: So I’ve never been better than anyone at pool before.
Thomas Beller: Hey. Don’t get ahead of yourself.
Christina Ricci: I’m not. I’ll probably fu&% up.
David Gerlach: That’s writer and author Thomas Beller. He’s playing pool with actress Christina Ricci. The back and forth was recorded on cassette tape. Ricci was barely 18 when they kicked around New York City back in the late 1990s. She was just entering the public eye. She was already game for a good quote. And sometimes a very blunt quote.
Christina Ricci: It is just the most ridiculous thing I could imagine. These people who believe in God actually think that God cares if we say fu%$ ? You know what I mean? It’s sort of silly.
David Gerlach: Christina Ricci has managed to stay in the public eye since this interview. That’s no easy feat. In total over the past two decades she’s been in nearly 50 films. She’s appeared on Broadway. Anyway, it’s really something to listen to Thomas Beller’s interview. You get to be this fly on the wall. It’s a long night out with a seemingly fearless yet vulnerable young actress. And we’ve decided to just bring you bits and pieces of what she had to say. A glimpse at a personality. We begin with Christina Ricci frankly talking about her past struggles with anorexia. The scene: a crowded restaurant. This is Blank on Blank.
Christina Ricci: You should probably know I was really anorexic at the time. I looked like a walking skeleton in a way. I was scary to all the other girls. I was just sort of mad…
Thomas Beller: I didn’t know you had gone through that period of time. What was that all about? You certainly don’t look anorexic now
Christina Ricci: (Laughs ) I don’t know. It was a phase.
Thomas Beller: Well everything is a phase.
Christina Ricci: Everything is a phase. I always felt that I would be complete, no one could ever fu&% with me or make me feel bad if I was really thin, because then they would have nothing to make fun of me about.
Thomas Beller: How thin… How low did your weight get?
Christina Ricci: I was like 75 pounds and the same height I am now. I was really skinny. It was kind of scary. And I have kind of a big head, so I looked kind of like E.T. I was just like these two big eyes and then like nothing here. Hollow cheeks. Like my neck… I never knew you could lose weight in your neck. My neck was like the width of my arm right there. It was really weird.
[MUSIC: Freddie Jackson - “Easin’ On Down”]
David Gerlach: The conversation later jumps to a controversy Ricci had stirred up around this time. In came during another interview she gave. She had joked about incest being cool. Years later she would become a spokesperson for a national anti-sexual assault organization. But at this time, back then, she was still realizing the power of sarcasm when you’re in the public eye..
Thomas Beller: So did you ever see this interview you gave in The Face. Did you see that?
Christina Ricci: That’s the one I got in trouble for.
Thomas Beller: Yeah, why? What did you say that got you in trouble?
Christina Ricci: Because the incest thing.
Thomas Beller: Yeah, you said you were really into incest.
Christina Ricci: Yeah, I got in trouble for that. Even though I was being sarcastic.
Thomas Beller: In trouble for… what do you mean?
Christina Ricci: I got yelled at.
Thomas Beller: By?
Christina Ricci: My agents.
Thomas Beller: What did they say?
Christina Ricci: That was the whole thing. They said to me: ‘Imagine some little girl who is getting raped by her father or her brother and sees this and thinks I shouldn’t really be upset by this?’ Which I think is wrong. I don’t really believe in incest, it’s just more fun and easier to say this.
Thomas Beller: I feel bad I got you after already after the weird spin control ideas coming like down on you. You’re not going to be… personal
Christina Ricci: No, believe me. I’m still like… I’m not like at that point where I’m not going to talk about anything risqué. It’s just like certain things I shouldn’t talk about anymore. I can move onto other things that are equally… that can get me into equal amounts of trouble.
Thomas Beller: Like what?
Christina Ricci: I don’t know, I already talked about my pus&% a couple times in front of you.
Thomas Beller: Just once. Or 12
Christina Ricci: (Laughs)
[MUSIC: Beatconductor - “Guarambembere”]
David Gerlach: So the last outtake we have from this interview occurs when Beller and Ricci, are on the street. They have left the restaurant when he asks the actress about her car. It’s parked outside.
Christina Ricci: It’s a ‘67 Ford Falcon Futura station wagon. It’s turquoise and sparkly.
Thomas Beller: So let me get this straight though: You bought this huge car that you couldn’t drive that was totally awesome and had like a 12-word title to it.
Christina Ricci: Yeah. It’s awesome. I bought it before I had my license. I got my license. And I drove around. But it was really old and we got all this work done on it. But, um… the brakes. My legs, first of all, my legs are too short. And secondly I’m not strong enough. Because you have to hold it, like hold the brake down when you stop.
Thomas Beller: It’s not automatic.
Christina Ricci: And you have to press on them a half-mile before you have to stop.
Thomas Beller: It’s a huge behemoth car.
Christina Ricci: Oh, yeah. It’s really heavy.
Thomas Beller: So the first time you were driving it, you are trying to brake and freaking out and clutching the steering wheel.
Christina Ricci: I was really nervous. But it’s fun.
David Gerlach: That’s actress Christina Ricci back in 1999 talking about anorexia, a controversy about incest, and her 1967 Ford Falcon Futura. Thanks to Thomas Beller for bringing us this interview. The interview was actually the foundation for a cover story he wrote for SPIN magazine. Beller has also authored several books. Please check out all of his work at ThomasBeller.com. And for all the journalists, interviewers, authors and documentary filmmakers listening: we want to hear your lost interviews. So drop us a line to interviews at blankonblank dot org. Blank on Blank is distributed by the Public Radio Exchange. That’s all for now. I’m David Gerlach. Keep listening.
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