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The Tao of Christina Ricci

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James McAvoy and Christina Ricci in Penelope.  

THE FIFTH SEVEN

Which brings us to the beginning of her new seven-year cycle. It starts with the very sweethearted fable Penelope—though Ricci says there’s “a line from Black Snake Moan to Penelope,” a new “kind of social consciousness.” If the Britney Spears–ish redneck tramp of Black Snake was “the tangible result of all the exploitation of women in our society,” then the pig-nosed girl in Penelope is another outcast—a sequestered girl with serious body issues who learns to love herself. And James McAvoy. “It stresses the importance of the individual, which we’ve been trying to kill with makeover shows and everything.”

The Wachowskis’ Speed Racer is hardly so uplifting. “Basically, I’m their dress-up doll,” says Ricci, who plays the bad-ass, helicopter-piloting girlfriend. “They’d dress me up with matching pink hair and lips and skirt and shirt and say, ‘Okay, now we wanna see you kung fu fight.’”

But that’s okay: The film still fits in with her master plan, because, in fact, Ricci sees more kung fu fighting in this next cycle. “I’m totally down for more action movies, but I think I’d really like to find my place in sort of the higher echelon of dramatic actresses. Oh! And I’d like to play a spy.”

A spy?

“Well, I’m so small,” she says, cheekily mocking her oft-scrutinized frame. “So I always figured I would be the one they send through the air vent if something happened. You know: ‘Can fit in small places.’”


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