All the Right Moves
Four Leading Lights Top Their Past Performances--And Raise The Bar For Everyone Else
AS AN ALUM OF 'CASPER' AND THE 'ADDAMS Family' movies, Christina Ricci has acted opposite her fair share of ghouls and goblins. But she admits that during her first few days of filming Sleepy Hollow, Tim Burton's retelling of the story of the Headless Horseman, she felt a little out of her element. "There are so many tones to this film. I wasn't sure which one we were playing for," says the 19-year-old actress, who plays a wealthy merchant's daughter who is wooed by Johnny Depp's Ichabod Crane. "Johnny and Tim [who worked together on Edward Scissorhands and Ed Wood] seemed to know, and I didn't want to be the idiot going, 'Excuse me. Are we making a horror film or a comedy or a fairy tale?'" The answer turned out to be all of the above. While there are some moments of campy high drama in the film, there are also, according to Ricci," some truly gruesome things. Any chance Tim had to just cover Johnny in blood, he did."
Of course, this dark edge is also perfectly fitting for Ricci, who has become known for her string of somewhat sinister roles as a sexually provocative teen in films like The Ice Storm, Buffalo 66 and The Opposite of Sex. The maturity of these parts has helped Ricci to navigate the transition from child star to adult lead more easily than many of her comtemporaries. "Frankly, I never really saw her as a child actress," says Don Roos, who directed The Opposite of Sex. "Those roles she played as a child wer very grown-up. She was never the girl in the soup commercial chuckling with a puppy."
Ricci has never been the Hollywood party girl either, preferring to hang out in NewYork with her 26-year-old live-in boyfriend, actor Matthew Frauman, rather than do the Los Angeles scene. In other words, she's the perfect heroine for Burton and Depp, two of Hollywood's most notorious misfits. "All three of them have something a little offbeat and dangerous about them," says Roos. "Besides, she met Johnny Depp when he was dating Winona Ryder, who played her older sister in Mermaids. When you start dating your older sister's boyfriend, you know you've grown up."