At the L.A. press junket for the long-delayed indie fantasy Penelope, Christina Ricci, sporting very short blonde hair, gave Hype! a few tidbits about playing Trixie in the anticipated Wachowski brothers’ live action movie Speed Racer. Is the blonde hair for a project or just a new look?
Christina Ricci: For “Speed Racer” it was cut into a very extreme bob, and it was black and then I came home and wanted to grow it out, and felt like I just looked a little too… I don’t know. It just made me feel weird. So, I thought putting it back to brown might be better, and I softened it up a little bit because it was a little extreme.

CS: Were you nervous at all, to cut your hair so short?
Ricci: Yes. I had spent the entire year growing it out, of course, which is what always happens, and I kept calling my manager’s office and saying to them, “Will you call and tell them that, if they’re going to make a wig for me, wink wink, they should probably get my measurements, or something, and start making it now?” Everyone was like, “No, no, no, it’s going to be fine. They’re not going to do anything weird to your hair.” And then, of course, I got some drawings of what the costumes are going to look like, and there were drawings of what she was going to look like and of course, it was a short hair-cut bob thing. So, I just decided to embrace it and go with it. It was the Wachowskis. It’s “Speed Racer.” I can always ask for a wig on the second one. [Laughs] You feel like, if you do it once, then you’re justified in saying, “Okay, I did it, and I don’t want to anymore.”

CS: Is “Speed Racer” very physical for you, or will all of that be done using CGI?
Ricci: No, “Speed Racer” was the most fun ever. That’s another example of a great role model character for girls because she’s smart, she’s funny and she does all the things the boys do. She kung fu fights, she drives a car, she races and she flies a helicopter, but she has a specific outfit that she wears when she flies the helicopter, and her lipstick always matches something she’s wearing. She gets to be everything. She’s celebrated as a girl and a woman, but she’s also not treated any differently than the male characters are. So it was so much fun in that respect. I like being dressed up and I like doing stunts.

CS: Even with all the green screen, it was still that much fun?
Ricci: But that made it hilarious. We’d walk on set and there would be half a helicopter, and then the rest of the thing was just green, and it’s an ensemble piece, so there’s a lot of other actors to look at and just say, “What the hell is that? What scene are we shooting?” So it just made it funny. We would just walk around and be like, “All right, so the mountain’s over there, and what is that? Oh, that’s the edge of the cliff. Okay, well, I shouldn’t be over there.” It was just funny. It made it all really hilarious and then towards the end of the day, the green would start to make you feel like you were tripping, so that was also, at times, enjoyable. [Laughs]

CS: Have you seen any of the final footage?
Ricci: The brothers showed us 15 minutes, and it’s just amazing. It looks like nothing you’ve ever seen before. All the driving stuff is really exciting and thrilling, and then, it has this emotional element that’s actually really quite moving. A lot of guys were crying at the end of the 15 minutes because there’s this real guy sad thing. [Laughs] But, also, every character in it is a very specific, funny character. Mom (Susan Sarandon) is always going to have her apron on, and Sparky (Kick Gurry) is going to always be Chaplin-esque and funny, and Mr. Royalton (Roger Allam) will always be evil. It’s just fun. Everything about the movie makes it feel like an event movie, so that’s exciting.

Speed Racer is scheduled to open May 9, 2008, but you can read more about Ricci’s long-delayed movie Penelope before it opens on February 29, 2008.

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