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Interview: 'The Hero of Color City' star Christina Ricci tries to be more polite these days

Christina Ricci talks about the animated film "The Hero of Color City" and talks about how she doesn't try to say shocking things like she did as a teen.

Christina Ricci's latest film is the animated "The Hero of Color City." Credit: Getty Images Christina Ricci's latest film is the animated "The Hero of Color City."
Credit: Getty Images

Fifteen years ago it might have seemed odd for Christina Ricci — or at least her voice — to pop up in a G-rated animated movie about talking crayons. Perhaps it still is. Yet there she is, top-billed in “The Hero of Color City,” a film aimed squarely at children in which she voices Yellow, an anthropomorphic color stick seeking to stop a catastrophe in an alternate all-crayon realm.

“I thought it was a sweet story,” Ricci says. The sincerity may seem surprising coming from someone who, when she was younger, was prone to shocking comments about wanting to play serial killers and putting cigarettes out on her arm. But it’s clear Ricci has grown up and is simply no longer that person. Today she’s married with a child she had in August.

Or maybe she aged out of that person far earlier. She first joined “The Hero of Color City” around 2007; production took so long and changed so much that she had to re-record most of her voicework. In between her voice has appeared in animated films like “Alpha and Omega” and “The Smurfs 2.”

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“It’s a lot more casual than getting hair and makeup and the whole nine yards,” Ricci says about animated film work. It also means she doesn’t have to watch herself onscreen, though she says she’s not one of those actors who hates seeing themselves. “I don’t go out of my way to watch myself onscreen. But I don’t necessarily avoid it either.”

Which ones does she go out of her way to see? “It depends,” she replies. “I find that’s directly related to how good a job I’ve done.”

This talking yellow crayon, from the film "The Hero of Color City," is voiced by Christina Ricci. Credit: Magnolia Pictures This talking yellow crayon, from the film "The Hero of Color City," is voiced by Christina Ricci.
Credit: Magnolia Pictures

Since many of the films Ricci did when she was younger — “The Opposite of Sex,” “Buffalo ’66,” not to mention “The Addams Family” — were dark and self-aware, it can be disarming to see her in nicer fare. When asked about a quote that she was actively seeking sweeter roles, she says that’s not actually true. “So much of the stuff that’s out there is from different periods in my life. I’ve changed my mind a million times,” she says. “I always wanted to do a broad spectrum of things.”

She doesn’t have anything particularly shocking to say when we speak; she’s calm and friendly, even when asked about potentially touchy subjects. But she does have to contend with things she said when she was a younger and very different person.

“I definitely was — and can be — sarcastic. But I was also a teenager. I tended to do things that were shocking. I just said things for shock value, because I was a teenager,” she says. “Can anyone be held to the person they were as a teenager?”

She’s definitely not that person anymore. “It’s not very polite,” she says. “I just try to be a little bit more polite these days.”

Follow Matt Prigge on Twitter @mattprigge

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